2016-09-30 / Schools

Staying safe on two wheels

Police launch bike registration program
By Alicia Doyle
Special to the Acorn


BICYCLE SAFETY—Sgt. Adam Darough, left, and Kristen Mesa of the Simi Valley Police Department teach students about bicycle safety during an assembly Sept. 21 at Madera Elementary School. 
MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers BICYCLE SAFETY—Sgt. Adam Darough, left, and Kristen Mesa of the Simi Valley Police Department teach students about bicycle safety during an assembly Sept. 21 at Madera Elementary School. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Students at Madera Elementary School learned about the Simi Valley Police Department’s new bicycle registration program during a safety assembly presented by officers Sept. 21.

“Property is like your backpack— that’s your property,” said Kristen Mesa, a property technician with SVPD. “So when officers are driving around and find property, they bring it back to me.”

Mesa then showed the children a picture of the room at the police department where lost bicycles are waiting to be found.

“We want to have very (few) bikes that we keep in there,” she told the children. “We don’t want to have a lot of bikes. We want you to enjoy your bike.”

Registering a bicycle is one way to keep it safe, Mesa said.

The registration process involves listing several factors about the bike, including the serial number and color, and if it’s a boy’s or girl’s bike, she said.

“And then you put in your address and phone number,” she said. “So when the officers are around town and see a bicycle in a bush or by a tree, they bring it back to me, and I look at your special number and I can call your mom and dad and tell them to come and pick up your bike.”

The safety assembly was presented to Madera’s 407 students during two separate morning sessions.

Sgt. Adam Darough with the Simi Valley Police Department talked about ways to stay safe while riding bicycles, scooters, skateboards and in-line skates.

“They actually let me ride a bike,” said Darough, who brought his police bicycle to the assembly. “These are super fun to ride.”

He spoke about bicycle safety in general, with an emphasis on wearing a helmet.

He also underscored the importance of making sure the bike seat fits correctly, the bike chains are tight and the brakes work properly.

Darough also advised the children to wear bright colors if riding in the dark and to put reflectors on their bikes. He suggested wearing protective padding on the knees, elbows and wrists.

“When I ride my bike on duty I always wear that stuff,” Darough said. “I’ll even wear protective glasses.”

Eric Bowman, an officer with the Simi Valley Police Department, told the children they should ride in the same direction as traffic while on the roads.

“Out here we prefer that little children stay on the sidewalk,” the officer said.

Bowman also warned kids to watch out for driveways.

“Those driveways are hazards for you,” he said. “(Cars) will come out onto the sidewalk in front of you. They won’t see you, so every time you come up to a driveway you need to slow down and make sure that you see if there’s cars coming or not.”

The safety assembly was presented at Madera because the school is on a very busy street, Royal Avenue, said Principal Melody Dennert.

“We are a neighborhood school . . . so we really just want to make sure that students are equipped with tools on how to make that a safe experience as they’re coming to and from school,” Dennert said. “It’s also outreach. Simi P.D. really is working on community policing, making sure that students see them as a resource —that they see them as people they can go to when in need.

“Oftentimes, a student’s experience might be their parent being pulled over for a traffic ticket, and that’s their frame of reference. We want them to see the police as a partner in the community for them and a resource for them.”

To participate in the Simi Valley Police Department’s free bicycle registration program, call (805) 583-6950.

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