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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

NCDOT giving away bike helmets to low-income children

(Courtesy/Vlad Vasnetsov/Pexels)

Organizations can apply to a state entity to receive free headwear to give out to individuals.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is hosting is annual bicycle helmet initiative to encourage more youth to wear helmets. The entity’s Integrated Mobility Division collects and distributes the headwear to organizations who apply.

The goal is to reduce child bicycle fatalities and serious injuries, including head trauma, in N.C.

“Wearing a helmet is an easy way to reduce risk of head injuries when riding a bicycle,” director of the state’s Integrated Mobility Division Ryan Brumfield said in a press release. “We hope the Bicycle Helmet Initiative will help reduce bicycle injuries and raise awareness about the importance of safe bicycling practices.”

Research shows bicycle helmets prevent 60% of head injury deaths and they reduce the risk of head injuries by up to 85%. Unfortunately, less than half of all children wear a helmet when they ride a bike.

In the last five years, the program has provided people more than 45,000 free bike helmets, including nearly 20,000 helmets provided to more than 260 organizations in 2022. 

Funding for the program comes from the “Share the Road” specialty license plates sold.

Interested parties can apply online by Feb. 3 at 5 p.m. for 25, 50, 75 or 100 helmets. The selection process has been revised to broaden its outreach and awards are no longer being limited to government agencies only. Helmets, available in a variety of sizes, are distributed once per calendar year each spring and awardees have the remainder of the year to pass out the items to low-income children.

Recipients will be announced by April 6, and helmets should be received by April 27. Applicants must file a report about the distribution event within 30 days after the event occurs.

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