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Sunshine and safety highlight city's annual bike event

Beaverton celebrates cyclists with family-friendly, educational activities

TIMES PHOTO: MANDY FEDER-SAWYER - About 500 people attended a bicycle safety event on Sunday.On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Beaverton, the 15,000th bicycle helmet was placed on the head of a child by Bruce Buffington at the Bicycle Safety Fair.

The city of Beaverton's Bicycle Advisory Committee hosted the annual Bike Beaverton event at 1 p.m. at City Park on Southwest Fifth Street and Hall Boulevard. During the event, the Beaverton Police Department led a bike safety rodeo, an educational bicycle obstacle course for children. A family-friendly community bike ride followed and a free ice cream social concluded the event. More than 500 people attended.TIMES PHOTO - From left: Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle brings his granddaughter Izzie Esser, 9, to the Event. Izzie received the 15,000th helmet given away by Bruce Buffington

Helmets were required for all ride participants. The Northwest Bicycle Safety Council conducted helmet fittings and replaced damaged helmets prior to the ride. Along the way, the NWBSC gave away the organization's 15,000th free helmet at the event. Free bike checkups were also provided by sponsors.

Mark Barrowcliff, Beaverton Police Department Mountain Bike Officer and Instructor, has been in charge of the bike program for 18 years. It started out as a two-man team, but as needs grew, so did the event — it’s a 20-man team, he said.

“The best part is when you give a helmet to someone and they call to say they need a new one (helmet) because they were hit by a car. The best part is that person survived because of the helmet,” Barrowcliff said.

“Bruce’s organization is top-notch. He doesn’t turn anyone down. He’s legit,” Barrowcliff said. “We team up with him for many events throughout the year.”

The 15,000th helmet was given to Izzie Esser, 9, who also happens to be a granddaughter of Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle.

Annie Esser, 6, Izzie’s younger sister, also received a helmet and learned about bicycle safety at the event.

The first Beaverton Bicycle Safety Fair was introduced to coincide with National Bicycle Safety Week. First conceived in 1995 by Buffington, founder and first volunteer chairman of the event, the safety fair was introduced by the Beaverton Police Department in partnership with the Beaverton Optimist Club. Bicycle helmets were checked for safety requirements and educational materials were provided for free.

Buffington formed the NWBSC in 2004. The Council has worked with the BPD bicycle team hosting bicycle safety events and providing free helmets to youth since it was created.

In 2005, NWBSC officially became a nonprofit.

Buffington’s goals included minimizing injuries and deaths by educating cyclists about safe gear, safe riding and overall road safety. NWBSC promotes awareness of traffic laws and rules of the road while strengthening social ties through cycling-related programs and events.

Buffington not only acts as founder and president of NWBSC, he also directs and hosts a monthly local cable television program about bicycle safety. His shows feature cycling enthusiasts who are experts in various fields, including medicine, politics and cycling.

NWBSC has been instrumental in implementing community bicycle safety programs, including children’s skills rodeos, helmet fittings and senior citizen riding clinics. Working with the Portland Wheelman and Legacy Health Foundation’s Trauma Nurses Talk Tough Program, NWBSC helped more than 5,000 children and adults receive free helmets.

The NWBSC mission is “to educate and promote safety and harmony between cyclists and others who share the road, as well as strengthen community and family ties through cycling.”

The NWBSC is located at 4804 N.W. Bethany Blvd. Ste 12, PMB 250. For more information, call 971-570-4791 or visit nwbicyclesafety.org.

Bike Beaverton is sponsored by the TIMES PHOTO - From left: Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle brings his granddaughter Izzie Esser, 9, to the Event. Izzie received the 15,000th helmet given away by Bruce Buffington, Performance Bicycle, Bike Gallery, Riders and Sliders, Nike, Clif Bars and the NWBSC. For more information, visit BeavertonOregon.gov/BikeBeaverton.