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Sheriff’s Office hosts inaugural bike safety day

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By Deborah Swearingen

Elyse Austin weaved her bicycle in and out of the bright orange cones strategically placed in the parking lot of Columbine High School. The 4-year-old may have hit a cone or two, but for someone who just learned to ride a bike, she looked like a pro.

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Her mother, Dusti, watched with a prideful smile, mentioning her daughter was a new rider. Elyse went straight from a balance bike — a two-wheel pedal-less bike — to a normal bicycle.

“It was surprising how quickly she learned,” Dusti said.

And when the Littleton resident heard about the inaugural Bike with a Deputy day, hosted by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, she thought it would be the perfect opportunity to teach her new cyclist about safety.

The event, which went from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, included safety tips, helmet checks, an obstacle course and a 4-mile group ride through Clement Park.

“Pretty much kids of all ages come out with their bikes, and we go over a checklist of safety tips for their bike and ensure that their helmet is fit properly,” said Deputy Garrick Kelly, a school resource officer at Chatfield Senior High School.

Deputies performed the “ABC” check, which ensures:

A: There is air in the tires.

B: The brakes work properly.

C: Check the cranks.

For a first-time event, the Sheriff’s Office seemed pleased with the turnout. Approximately 20 kids came by with their families throughout the day.

Jaimi Kunse of Lakewood brought her kids primarily as a way to ensure the safety of their new helmets and bicycles. But the Kunse family also loves to support the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office.

“We love the sheriff’s department,” she said, “and my kids just love riding bikes.”

On the ride through the park, bicyclists learned hand signals, proper passing techniques and other rules of the road. Mostly, they were trained to be polite riders, said Deputy Jeff Pedersen.

Pedersen encourages anyone with questions about bike safety to contact the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office south precinct at 303-277-0211.

“We have a lot of educational materials and a lot of knowledge that we can share to help make all of Jefferson County a safer place to ride,” he said.