New initiative to increase bicycle safety among children

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – To reduce bicycle injuries and deaths, N.C. Department of Transportation is encouraging people to apply to receive free bicycle helmets as part of an annual initiative the agency conducts.

In its Bicycle Helmet Initiative, NCDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Division uses funds from the sale of “Share the Road” specialty license plates to pay for bike helmets that are given to underprivileged children.

Helmets save lives. While less than half of all children typically wear one while biking, helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by nearly 90 percent.  

As part of the initiative, NCDOT distributes helmets to government and non-government agencies conducting bike safety events.

Examples of partners include police and fire departments, parks and recreation departments, health departments, community centers, churches, and non-governmental organizations. 

This year, the state Division of Health and Human Services is partnering with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Division by providing an additional $75,000 in state funds for helmets.

The helmets will boost the existing program by reaching low-income adults.

Some of these agencies include police and fire departments, health departments and community centers.

One of those agencies here in the east is Safe Kids of Pitt County at Vidant.

The organization received 35 helmets this past year to give to kids in the community.

“We are seeing an increase in injuries amount bicyclists and pedestrians over the last five years and we are doing everything we can to make sure our children are safe, and a helmet is a really easy way to protect them from injuries” said Ellen Walston, Coordinator of Safe Kids Pitt County Coalition.

If your agency or community group is interested in applying for helmets this year you have until January 6 to do so.

For more information and to download the application, visit the NCDOT Bicycle Helmet Initiative webpage.

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