22nd annual Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program launched Tuesday

Mayfield Summer Camp kids ride their bikes with helmets to show they are safe when riding bikes during the Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program that kicked-off on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O’Hara)

MAYFIELD —Wear a helmet and get a ticket, seems to be the motto to follow this summer, for any children caught following safe bike riding skills by wearing helmets will be rewarded.

State Sen. Jim Tedisco launched the 22nd annual Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program on Tuesday with Mayfield Summer Camp attendees by teaching them bike helmet safety, providing free helmets and giving out ice cream donated by Stewart’s Shops to cool down after a bike ride in the heat.

“It’s fun to ride bike, but sometimes we fall,” Tedisco told the camp attendees. “When you fall, it’s best to have a helmet because serious accidents take place when you don’t have a helmet.”

The initiative of the program is to use positive reinforcement to get children in the habit of wearing helmets for safe bike riding and promotes positive interaction between children and law enforcement through the use of “good tickets” and by providing helmets to children who don’t have one.

This year, the safe summer program will distribute 5,000 “good tickets” for free ice cream cones to 23 police departments to reward children who wear helmets while bicycling, skateboarding and rollerblading, and giving away free bike helmets.

“If you are wearing your helmet, [police] are going to actually stop you and give you a ticket for obeying the law. A good ticket, and that ticket is going to either have a Stewart’s free ice cream cone coupon or a Friendly’s free ice cream cone coupon or a Ben and Jerry’s free ice cream cone coupon or Hayner’s,” Tedisco said.

In the state, the law requires children up to the age of 14 to wear a helmet or parents could face a $50 fine. According to the state Department of Health, there is an average of 54 New Yorkers who are killed each year in bicycle crashes and 19,000 residents who are treated at a hospital due to bike-related injuries. Head injuries are the leading cause of death and permanent disability in bicycle crashes.

The cost of a bike helmet is $20, however, the average charge for a hospital stay due to a bike-related brain injury is $23,000 with an average length of stay of four days.

“Summer is the season for kids to have fun, but we can’t ever forget that they need to keep safety in mind. I want children to enjoy summer, but I also want them to be safe when they’re riding their bicycles. My safe summer program reminds kids to wear their helmets while rewarding good behavior with coupons for free ice cream,” Tedisco said. “This program is a true community partnership among businesses, law enforcement, government and parents, and it’s truly a model for how caring people can come together and promote a fun and safe environment for children.”

Also there to promote bike safety were Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino, village Mayor Jamie Ward, Gloversville 4th Ward Supervisor Charlie Potter, Mayfield Central School District Superintendent Christopher Harper, Ron Orlando from Martin, Harding and Mazzotti LLP and Stewart’s Shop spokesperson Max Spritzer.

By Patricia Older

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