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Ethan's preschool and beginnergarten students wait in line with their new helmets before starting the obstacle course portion of the bike safety rodeo Tuesday in Ethan. All kids from preschool to fourth grade were given new helmets, taught bicycle safety and walking safety as part of the South Dakota Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School program. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

GALLERY: Traveling to school ... safely

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GALLERY: Traveling to school ... safely
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

ETHAN -- Preschool through fourth-grade students in Ethan spent Tuesday morning learning how to safely get to school during a bicycle safety rodeo.

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The event, which encourages students to walk or bicycle to school, is part of South Dakota's Safe Routes to School program, created by the U.S. Congress as part of a federal transportation bill. The reason for the program is to help fight childhood obesity and diabetes.

The three-hour event Tuesday fitted all students with a new helmet, taught students how to safely cross the street and also had a question-answer session with Davison County Sheriff Deputy Josh Peterson.

The final event had students navigate through an obstacle course on a bicycle in the parking lot of Ethan's school. The course had a simulated train track area and a pedestrian crosswalk.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation, which selected Ethan for the event, funded new helmets to each student. One boy and one girl from each class received a bike, totaling 10 bikes, given out by drawing.

Ethan received a $33,000 for the program and plans to use some of the funds for future safety events.

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