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Lathrop pedaling safety for bicyclists with rodeo
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LATHROP — Lathrop Police Services Chief Eric Holman is hoping that the community will once again make bicycle safety a top priority.

During Monday’s Lathrop City Council meeting, Holman laid out the plan for the City of Lathrop’s bicycle helmet drive and Lathrop Police Services’ annual bicycle rodeo – an event held to promote bicycle safety and help provide helmets to those in the community that need them.

The event, being held at Mossdale Elementary School on Saturday, May 21, is open to the public and free of charge. Donations of new bicycle helmets for children ages 4 through 18 are being accepted now through May 13 at Lathrop City Hall, the Lathrop Community Center, and at the Lathrop Police Station on Seventh Street.

Holman told the council that they’re hoping to receive as many helmets as possible – not only for the event, but for distribution throughout the rest of the year as well.

“When we have officers that see a child riding a bicycle without a helmet, we’ll stop them, and if they don’t have means to get a helmet of their own we’ll make arrangements to get one for them,” Holman said. “We’re hoping to get as many donations as possible.”

In addition to providing helmets, the event is designed to teach bicycle safety as well as promote proper bike maintenance. Participants will learn the proper safety techniques for exiting driveways, crossing intersections, learning of how to spot blinds spots behind cars and other scenarios they need to be aware of.

Lathrop Police will also be taking serial numbers and photos for parents so that bicycles can be tracked in case of theft.

But bicycles might not be the only thing that the council hopes to provide helmets for.

When Councilman Omar Ornelas asked Holman about whether they worked with local schools like Lathrop Elementary to dole out helmets to students who don’t have them and have been flagged by staff after riding up on a bicycle or skateboard, Mayor Joseph “Chaka” Santos suggested that Ornelas spearhead a campaign to start a helmet drive for skateboarders as well. He offered to assist with the effort.

Those looking to make cash donations to go towards the purchase of a helmet, or those looking for more information about the event or the program, can contact Lathrop Police Services at (209) 858-5551.