After last year’s inaugural event was rained out, the Kearny Police Department gave its annual Bicycle Safety Fair a second try this past weekend — and the response was fantastic.
The fair, held from 1 to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of the Kearny Federal Savings Bank on Kearny Avenue, brought out more than 100 kids — most of whom showed up even before the event began.
“By 20 minutes to one, the line was down the block and around the bank,” reported Officer Jack Grimm of the Community Policing (COP) unit.
Co-sponsoring the fair were Kearny Federal and the Kearny Optimist Club, which club member and Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle noted, donated 100 bicycle helmets to the project. The bank, said Branch Manager Georgeanna McDonough, sponsored a free drawing in which two youngsters, one boy and one girl, would win a $100 gift card to buy a new bike at Walmart.
Also helping out at the program were the Elks Club and the American Red Cross.
The cyclists attending the fair zig-zagged through a mini-obstacle course and learned about street-riding safety–such as avoiding storm drains and entering intersections. The “street” they crossed was actually in the lot and was bordered by some pretty nifty carboard cutouts of shrubbery and a fence, created by students at Franklin School.
Officer John Fabula was on hand to do bicycle repairs and tune-ups, and Officer Jack Corbett etched serial numbers onto the cycles. The KPD is setting up a database of these numbers to help recover lost or stolen bikes, Grimm explained.
Other COP Unit members who participated were Sgt. Peter Caltabellotta and Officers Steve Montanino and Mike Ryan. Ryan was among those who recently completed the four-day, 300- mile Police Unity Tour bike ride to Washington, D.C., an event honoring officers who have died in the line of duty.
— Karen Zautyk