Dozens of community members had their wheels blessed by Oceanside Lutheran Church’s Pastor Alex Raabe on Sunday.
The church partnered with the New York Coalition for Transportation Safety to host the Blessing of the Wheels event for the first time in five years. To begin, Raabe said a prayer and sprinkled holy water on bicycles, walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, skateboards and a car.
“I like being a visible part of the community,” Raabe said of the event, which was held in the municipal parking lot across from Oceanside Library on Davison Avenue. “We’re not trying to convert people. It’s just the right thing to do and it’s important to be a part of the community and try to make it a better place.”
“A lot of people ride bikes in the summer, so bike safety is an issue,” he continued. “Especially in this area where there’s not many bike lanes, we want to make sure everyone is being safe.”
In the spirit of safety, NYCTS kept the gathering going with a bike rodeo and safety training for kids. NYCTS’s Mark Hoffacker discussed bike safety tips with children and parents, and then led bike safety drills. He mentioned that the Town of Hempstead had the most pedestrian and bicycle accidents in all of New York State, according to a recent report.
The NYCTS also demonstrated proper helmet fit and placements, gave out free helmets and taught defensive riding skills. After the blessing and rodeo, families were invited back to the church to enjoy a barbecue cooked by Charlie Tapia.