Hundreds of Yellowknife children came away from Sunday’s bike rodeo with important bike skills and some brand-new gear.

“There’s no reason why every child in Yellowknife can’t have a free helmet,” says Corporal Daryle Foster with the city’s municipal enforcement division. Children and their parents who came to Sunday’s rodeo were treated with a bike tune-up and a helmet, if needed.

“This year Canadian Tire also said that if anybody came in with a bike that was beyond repair, they would give them a free bike as well. And that’s in addition to the 16 bikes we’re giving away,” Foster says.

They then went through an obstacle course focused on bike skills and safety. “Things like what to do at an intersection and hand signals and breaking, collision avoidance,” Foster says.

All the goodies – from cotton candy to helmets to bikes – were donated by the event’s 39 sponsors. Levitt-Safety supplied and manned the barbecue and Dominion Diamond Mines supplied the funding and fitting of helmets. Members of the Yellowknife Fire Division and municipal enforcement guided children through the obstacle course.

While official figures are still to come, Foster says this year’s rodeo is ‘up there’ as one of the highest attended of such events he’s been at. Which is a good thing, as the event is as much about safety as it is about fun Foster says.

“Ride safe, be safe, an accident isn’t always your fault so you have to watch for other people as well. And make sure you wear your helmet.”