Organizers invite kids, families and the e-bike curious to Walk & Roll Festival at Estancia High
Children and families are invited to “Walk & Roll” to Costa Mesa’s Estancia High School Saturday morning for a day of fun and learning geared toward bicycle and pedestrian safety and a chance to win a free cruiser or e-bike.
Safety instructors, active transportation advocates and Costa Mesa officials will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Walk & Roll Festival, which will offer up 250 free bicycle helmets and fittings, bicycle tuneups, skills courses and group safety rides for pedal and electric bikes.
“We call it a festival because we want it to be a fun place where people can hang out, meet their neighbors and maybe decide to go for a bike ride or a walk together,” Councilwoman Arlis Reynolds said of the day, which includes a deejay, free food truck and activities like build-a-skateboard and helmet decorating.
Aimed at elementary and middle school students, and made possible by a grant from Orange County Transportation Authority’s Safe Transportation Education Program (STEP), the event is focused at improving safety in neighborhoods with a high risk for pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities.
Jim Shanman, an organizer and the executive director of Los Angeles-based nonprofit Walk ‘n Rollers, which provides safety training for area schools, said participants can come to the festival and get the helmets and tuneups necessary to ensure a safe ride.
From there, they will have a chance to ride around a course comprising several stations that teach about stopping, arm signals, proper yielding techniques and hazard avoidance. One course is for pedal bikes, while a second is designed especially for e-bikes.
Loaner bikes and e-bikes will be available for people who don’t already have their own. Once a course has been completed, attendees can participate in a group ride led by a certified instructor to put what they’ve learned into practice.
Shanman said pedestrian safety is also a focus of Saturday’s event. Organizers plan to walk with students to nearby Wilson Elementary School and allow them to observe signal phases and see what cars actually do at intersections.
“If you stay for a few phases, you’re going to see awful behavior, not just from drivers but pedestrians that will really cement the lessons they’ve learned,” he said.
Andrew Barnes, a member of Costa Mesa’s Active Transportation Committee, said the festival presents a rare opportunity for people to learn about e-bikes, take them for a test ride and learn the unique safety and handling issues they present.
“E-bike safety is really a safety issue of prominent concern,” he said, adding teens and pre-teens with no training are witnessed exhibiting unsafe behaviors at high speeds.
“That’s a whole second parallel path for this festival which, to me, is something the community really needs. We’re hoping children and adults who attend will be able to practice some of the skills that are crucial for accident avoidance.”
Those who complete the e-bike skills course will be entered to win a raffle for a free e-bike. Another electronic bike and two additional cruiser bikes will be auctioned off to people who RSVP online at walkmorebikemore.org/costa-mesa or register at the event.
Estancia High School is located at 2323 Placentia Ave., in Costa Mesa. For more visit walkmorebikemore.org/costa-mesa.
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