Boys, girls and bikes

MARSHALL – The Marshall Area YMCA was host to dozens of families and their bikes Tuesday evening during Marshall’s Annual Bicycle Safety Day event.

Local safety officials were on hand to help inspect bikes, register bicycles and talk about bike and pedestrian safety on the streets of Marshall. Volunteers also set up a course to give kids a chance to learn hand signals and stopping techniques for when they get out on the road.

It was a collaborative event involving local businesses and organizations. Help came from the Marshall Police Department, North Ambulance, The Bike Shop, Marshall Area YMCA, Wal-Mart, Dr. Lecy, Marshall Community Services, SWMN Cycling Club and Marshall Pedestrian Safety Campaign.

Residents had a chance to pick up discounted bicycle accessories like helmets, bike locks and reflective gear. Specialists from The Bike Shop were on hand to ensure that helmets fit properly and lights were correctly installed. Maps of city and state bike trails were up for grabs, as well as prizes for kids who answered a few bike safety questions correctly.

Kim Rupp helped organize the event and said that by registering bikes and selling locks, bike theft and loss has gone down in Marshall.

“When we started this eight or nine years ago, the police had picked up or been given 136 (bikes) that summer. Last year it was only 60.” Rupp said.

“People get their bikes registered, so if we find it, we can ID it and return it,” Rupp added.

“Bike thefts have dropped by half since we started this program,” Rob Yant, Marshall’s director of public safety, said while he was showing kids and parents how to change the code on their new locks. He said money from the crime fund goes to help pay for the locks so they can be sold for just $10 to local residents. The cost comes back in the amount of bikes that are not stolen. He also wanted to bring awareness to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to follow the rules of the road and to watch out for each other.

“This is the time of year when there are a lot of bicycles on the road,” he said. “We’re asking motorists to be aware of cyclists and pedestrian, that bikes follow the rules of the road and ride with traffic.”