Gasparilla Children’s Parade Day: Bicycle + Pedestrian Safety Rodeo

Don’t miss out on all of the fun before the Children’s Gasparilla Parade on Saturday, January 20, 2024! Come out early and learn safety the fun way at the Bicycle Safety Rodeo from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at Bayshore and South Rome Avenue! It’s FREE to attend!

Riding a bicycle isn’t rocket science, but there are still inviolable rules that should be followed to keep up with the times. Swing by the Bicycle Safety Rodeo at the Children’s Gasparilla parade and see if your young ones (and you!) are up to date on the rules and practices of safe riding. Don’t worry kids; this event may involve learning, but there’s plenty of fun involved.

Children's Gasparilla Bike Rodeo
Our editor’s son at the Bicycle + Pedestrian Safety Rodeo.

Children’s Gasparilla Director of Operations Maiken Stefany says to look out for a Bicycle Safety Rodeo course set up to the side of the parade route, on the corner of Bayshore Boulevard and South Rome Avenue.

You’ll see officers of the Tampa Police Department’s bike unit and members of onbikes near an obstacle course with stop signs and traffic cones. Once the children register with volunteers from Hillsborough County’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and sign a waiver, they’ll visit a team of helmet fitters led by Kristi Nalls of BayCare Safe Routes to School. They’ll then be fitted for a bike and head into the Bicycle Safety Rodeo route.

  • When: Saturday, January 20, 2024 from 12 pm-2 pm
  • Where: Bayshore Boulevard between Rome Avenue and Dakota Avenue

“We don’t teach kids how to ride a bike; rather, we teach kids how to ride their bike safely on the roads,” David DiMarco, master police officer with the Tampa Police Department Bicycle Operations and Response Unit told us in 2019 at the Bicycle Safety Rodeo. “We have two mini courses set up to mimic the road and conditions a kid will encounter on the streets of Tampa.”

Police will even provide bikes for kids to ride if they do not ride their own out to the parade route, allowing them to take part in the Bicycle Safety Rodeo!

children's gasparilla bicycle rodeo
Image Credit: Dave Pullis

While supplies last, children at the Bicycle Safety Rodeo will be fitted with bicycle helmets that they can take home for free. In 2019, 350 helmets were donated by onbikes and FDOT, and about 1,500 children rode in the course. Some lucky children also received free bicycles raffled off by onbikes, a charity that aims to provide foster children with bicycles.

Related: Gasparilla Children’s Parade: Local Parents Share Pro Tips

“As always, our success in this event can only be accomplished as a direct result of the generosity from our volunteers at onbikes, BPAC, Safe Routes to School and FDOT,” DiMarco says.

Road and Event Site Safety Initiative 

There’s no better place to enjoy the outdoors in January than Tampa, but on event day, public safety is priority number one. That’s why they’re asking anyone considering visiting the parade by bicycle or scooter to put their safety and the safety of others first by following recommended guidelines.

  • Always wear a helmet while bicycling or scootering.
  • Be cautious when riding, and do not ride in large crowds.
  • Map your route to the parade, as many roads may be closed.
  • Most importantly, do not ride your bicycle, scooter or golf cart on Bayshore Blvd. on event day. Although roads are closed, Bayshore is a very active event production space, which should only be accessed by authorized vehicles. Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, the City of Tampa, and local law enforcement ask riders to use alternate routes.

*While bikes will be permitted for the Bicycle Safety Rodeo, the use of bikes and scooters are discouraged for use on the actual parade route.

Editors Note: Version of this article originally published in the January 2018 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine. It was updated in December 2023 to reflect 2024 dates/times.