In order to promote Bike Helmet Safety Awareness Month next month, free bicycle helmets will be handed out to children across Ohio this spring.
In a partnership between the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 10,000 helmets will be distributed as part of the Ohio AAP’s Put A Lid on it! Bike Helmet Safety Awareness campaign.
“We know that 75 percent of bike-related fatalities would be prevented with a helmet,” said Melissa Wervey Arnold, chief executive officer of the Ohio AAP. “We are incredibly grateful for ODOT’s support of our (campaign) again this year. With their continued support, we will be able to supply more bike helmets to children this year— and save more lives— than ever before.”
At a recent event in Columbus, the department and chapter distributed bike helmets to local organizations across the state and provided training sessions for biking education, including how to properly fit children with helmets.
According to the department, a combination of efforts is necessary to effectively increase helmet usage rates among Ohio children including raising awareness, encouraging model behavior in adults, distributing helmets to Ohio children and advocating for supportive public policies.
“Spring is here and children are getting out to enjoy the great outdoors on their bikes,” said Jerry Wray, ODOT director. “We want them to be as safe as possible by having the right equipment. We’re happy to be a partner in this effort to get helmets to children who may not otherwise have easy access to them.”
As part of Ohio’s transportation system, the state has 4,207 miles of bike routes and trails, including the Ohio to Erie Trail which connects Cincinnati and Cleveland, according to the press release. Since 2008, ODOT has invested $60 million into the Safe Route to School program, which builds sidewalks and improves street crossings to encourage children to walk or bike to school safely.
To learn more about Bike Helmet Safety Awareness Week, visit the Put a Lid On It Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bikehelmetsafety or the chapter website at www.ohioaap.org. To learn more about the Ohio Safe Routes to School program, visit www.dot.state.oh.us/saferoutes.