North Carolina Pans To Give Away Free Bike Helmets

bike helmets

This spring, the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is set to kick off a significant initiative by providing thousands of bicycle helmets to children statewide, aiming to mitigate serious injuries and safeguard lives.

“Wearing a helmet is a simple yet effective measure to reduce head injuries while cycling,” emphasized Brennon Fuqua, the interim director of the state’s Integrated Mobility Division. “Through the Bicycle Helmet Initiative, we aim to lower bicycle-related injuries and enhance awareness about safe cycling practices.”

This year, NCDOT’s Bicycle Helmet Initiative intends to distribute approximately 12,500 helmets to 157 organizations, ensuring that children have the necessary gear for safe biking. Since its inception in 2015, the initiative has already supplied 77,065 helmets to children in need.

Locally, distribution points for the bicycle helmets will include Faith Christian Academy, the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department, and Kriquette’s Kidz.

The Bicycle Helmet Initiative was launched by NCDOT in 2007 with the primary goal of educating cyclists, particularly children, about the critical role of helmets in reducing severe brain injuries while biking. According to CDC data spanning from 2009 to 2018, children aged up to 17 accounted for 40.3% of emergency department visits related to nonfatal bicycle-related traumatic brain injuries.

Funding for the helmets comes from a combination of proceeds from the sale of “Share the Road” specialty license plates and federal sources. These helmets are then distributed at local safety events targeting underprivileged children. NCDOT’s Integrated Mobility Division accepts applications from organizations interested in distributing helmets to low-income children, with a selection process that encourages collaboration with community groups to extend bike safety outreach.

The application period for helmets runs from January to February, after which NCDOT selects and distributes the helmets starting in the spring, enabling organizations to provide them to children during public safety events throughout North Carolina. Participating entities encompass schools, YMCAs, local law enforcement agencies, parks and recreation departments, churches, and other groups hosting bike safety initiatives.

For more information about IMD, its ongoing projects, and safety endeavors, individuals can visit the NCDOT Integrated Mobility Division website and follow Integrated Mobility on Twitter/X @NCDOT_IMD and LinkedIn at NCDOT Integrated Mobility Division.

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