YORKTON -- Yorkton’s eighth annual Bicycle Rodeo kicked off on Wednesday with a goal of teaching young riders about basic bike safety.

The program will teach safety skills to 458 grade three and four students this year.

The Bicycle Rodeo is a continuation of bicycle safety week and is hosted by the Yorkton RCMP detachment. Officers created a bike course and explained the rules, while also showcasing bike safety skills.

“I started to teach bike safety skills because there are a lot of youth that ride their bikes around our community and they are not necessarily being safe about it or [they are] leaving in and out of traffic. So we wanted to do a course like this so they knew what they should be doing,” said Cst. Kimberly Flett.

Yorkton Fire Protective Services also lent a helping hand, ensuring each bike had air in its tires and was safe to ride.

“We started and came here around 9:30 a.m. and then from there it’s been go, go, go. It’s been a lot of kids,” said firefighter Jordan Beiber.

Originally, the Bicycle Rodeo was a program for third graders. However, this year they included the fourth graders that were not able to participate last year due to the pandemic.

With the support of sponsors, each student participating will receive a helmet and an opportunity to win a new bike.

“As a result of early bike rodeos, they realized not many kids had helmets and so that’s where the helmet came into it. Now every year, we try to get helmets for each grade three students so that they have one at home,” said Cst. Flett.

Yorkton mayor Mitch Hippsley said that the rodeo is a great environment for students to befriend the RCMP and create a positive relationship with them. Adding that this is a great way for students to learn safety and the rules of the roads.

“It’s just really good education…I mean when you have your bike, you have your freedom,” said Hippsley.