For immediate release - July 25, 2011
Leesburg Police Department and Public Library Team Up for Bicycle Safety
Dozens of children lined up with eager anticipation Monday morning to show off their bicycling skills for Leesburg Police Department Senior Officer Mike Howard.
Some of the smaller riders could barely manage the bike peddles. Others handily weaved their two-wheelers around a small obstacle course behind the Leesburg Public Library. But Officer Howard was most proud to show all of them how to ride safely.
The bike rodeo – offered Monday as part of the library’s Summer Reading Program – is conducted by the police department several times a year to help prepare children to ride safely in their neighborhoods.
Officer Howard provides a brief, one-on-one riding lesson and a free bike helmet for each participant. Children learn the importance of wearing helmets, following road rules, looking out for vehicles and maintaining control of their bikes.
“This is a great chance to give back to the community that we serve,” said Howard, who also works with the police department every December to give away donated bicycles to disadvantaged children. “I really enjoy working with the kids and watching the smiles when they’re on the bikes.”
The police department gives away 500 free
bike helmets to children every year. Funding has been provided by the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida and the police department currently is looking for other contributors.
Officer Howard said he handed out 127 helmets on Monday, working with city volunteers and library staff to adjust the helmets to properly fit riders.
The Leesburg Police Department will join other public safety agencies at the Back-to-School Safety Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug 13 at Lake Square Mall on U.S. Highway 441. Another safety fair will be held at that same time at First Christian Church on Vine Street in Leesburg.
Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 20,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday.