A bike rodeo scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Columbia Memorial Hospital's parking lot will teach important safety lessons to local children age 14 and younger.
Organizing the safety event will help Astoria High School junior James Gillum, 17, achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Gillum is a member of Boy Scout Troop 535, led by Axel Anderson.
Gillum, with help from Astoria police officers Ken Hansen and John Hord, will lay out an obstacle course for young bike riders to navigate. He and the officers will check bikes for safety and make sure the kids' helmets fit properly. They'll walk the kids through the obstacle course and explain it before the young bicyclists embark. They will also set up a speed board so the kids can see how fast they're going.
The free event Saturday is part of a Safety Fair, held in conjunction with National Safe Kids Week, that includes a car seat clinic, water safety, fire prevention and firearm safety. It is sponsored by North Coast Safe Kids, an organization that includes members from law enforcement agencies, fire departments and health agencies in Clatsop County. The goal of the safety fair is to prevent childhood injuries.
Only 2 percent of Boy Scouts reach the rank of Eagle Scout, which requires earning 21 merit badges and accomplishing a project that benefits the community, all before turning 18. Gillum has been a Boy Scout since he was 6 years old.