How to help children get bicycle helmets

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 5, 2014

In an effort to keep kids safe while riding a bicycle, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Division is issuing a call for applicants for its Bicycle Helmet Initiative.
The program distributes helmets to children of low-income families, and for the first time ever is expanding its applicant pool to include other groups besides non-government agencies.
Applicants are encouraged to partner with groups in the community to extend the outreach of bicycle safety awareness. Examples of partners include the police departments, parks and recreation departments, health departments or community centers and non-governmental organizations.
Helmets save lives — while less than half of all children typically wear one while biking, they can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by almost 90 percent. NCDOT is committed to ensuring all children have access to a helmet.
Funding for the Bicycle Helmet Initiative is made possible through sales of the Share the Road specialty license plate. People dedicated to bicycle safety in North Carolina have continued to support this initiative since it was founded in 2007, and have made thousands of helmets available to children during that time.
Each year in North Carolina, an average of 20 bicyclists are killed while bicycling, one in six bicyclists killed in NC are under the age of 16. Children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for bicycle related injuries more than any other sport.
Application deadline is Oct. 15. Helmets will be mailed to awardees during March and April of the following year.
For more information and application guidelines, visit the NCDOT Bicycle Helmet Initiative website.