Tupelo children learn bike safety

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Dozens of little cyclists Thursday got free helmets, toys and safety lessons from a pro.
Tupelo Police Officer Jon Bramble, a member of the city’s bike patrol, led several groups of children through the basics of good bicycling during a three-hour event outside Church Street Elementary School.
It was part of Tupelo Bike Safety Week, which started Monday and featured a free, public event each day through today.
“What’s the most important thing you need when you’re on a bike?” Bramble asked the first group of children whose ages ranged from 4 to 10.
“A helmet,” they responded, although not as enthusiastically as Bramble would have liked.
“Come on,” he urged. “You can do better than that.”
“A helmet!” the kids shouted, to Bramble’s apparent satisfaction.
He also taught them how to check their tires, brakes and bike chain, and told them to ride with an adult or older sibling. Kids who answered his questions correctly earned toy police cars.
After learning safety, the gang mounted their rides and followed Bramble through an orange-cone course through the parking lot. Afterward, they enjoyed ice pops and hugs from parents.
“I learned a lot of important things,” said 4-year-old Kabir Gupta, his bike helmet shadowing a pair of dark, brown eyes.
Not 10-year-old Dalton Wheeler. An expert biker, he said he pretty much knew everything already.
“My mom made me come,” he said. “I don’t know why.”
Tupelo parents Bob and Meredith Swanson brought their 4-year-old son, DJ, to enjoy the camaraderie of riding with other kids. They also liked the free bike helmet, since DJ had nearly outgrown his.
“I would like Tupelo to be a more bike-friendly city,” Bob Swanson said. “And it will only happen if they see a demand, so it’s important to come to events like these to show support.”

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@journalinc.com.