The annual Bike Rodeo comes to Wentworth Library on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to noon. Presented by the West St. Paul Police Department, WSP Greenway Project, Women of West St. Paul, Children’s Hospitals, and Kohl’s, the event will include free bike helmets for kids (while they last), free snacks and water (while they last), a safety course, bike tune ups, and more.
Register through the Dakota County Library.
In case of rain, the alternate date is Saturday, June 29.
Each year, approximately seven people in Minnesota are killed while riding a bike and being struck by a motor vehicle. It’s a reality that when bikes and automobiles face off, bikes lose. Every time.
So it’s important to emphasize bike safety. It’d be nice if drivers took more responsibility, but as a practical measure bikers need to be wary.
Speaking of drivers, you can make biking a lot safer if you’re more aware of bikes and properly share the road.
History: Sobering & Hopeful
West St. Paul is certainly not immune to bike accidents:
- In 1992, a truck struck and killed 14-year-old Jimmy Dennis Jack while he was biking on Robert Street.
- In 2007, 14-year-old Fernando Hernandez collided with a car at the corner of Bidwell and Moreland while biking to school. His injuries weren’t disclosed, but he was sedated and in critical condition after surgery.
But West St. Paul also has a history of at least attempting bike safety:
- The bike rodeo goes back to at least 2000 when it took place at the Ice Arena parking lot as part of West St. Paul Days. (And bike safety events might go as far back as 1965, though there’s some debate on that.)
- Current West St. Paul Police Interim Chief Brian Sturgeon started with the department in 1987 doing bike safety.
- While it’s not always followed or implemented, the city does have a Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan.
- Looking ahead, there are plans to build a bike and pedestrian tunnel under Robert Street as part of the River-to-River Greenway.