Since 2007, the Bicycle Helmet Initiative has equipped thousands of children with a helmet – a simple and essential means of reducing bicyclist injuries and fatalities.
Funded by proceeds from North Carolina's
"Share the Road" specialty license plate, the program distributes helmets to government and non-government agencies conducting bicycle safety events for underprivileged children.
Children are among the key demographic involved in bicycle-related incidents:
- On average, 20 bicyclists are killed each year in North Carolina, according to N.C. Department of Transportation statistics. One in six is under 16 years old.
- Children 5 to 14 years old visit emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries more than any other sport or recreational activity.
- Typically, less than 50 percent of children wear safety helmets, according to
Safe Kids Worldwide. The
Helmet Safety Institute says wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent.
To promote helmet usage and support local bicycle activities, the Division of Bicycle & Pedestrian Transportation accepts applications from organizations willing to distribute helmets to low income children. The selection process encourages applicants to partner with community groups to extend bicycle safety awareness outreach.