Schenectady County

Police: Helmets for kids to mean treats (with video)

Children across the area are hoping police give them tickets this summer, because it will mean a fre

Children across the area are hoping police give them tickets this summer, because it will mean a free ice cream cone.

Police officers will be out checking to make sure that children are wearing their helmets when they are out bicycling, roller blading or skateboarding. If they are, they will receive a “ticket” redeemable for ice cream at Friendly’s, Stewart’s or Ben & Jerry’s.

This is all a part of the annual “Safe Summer Bike Helmet” initiative, which kicked off Tuesday at the Glenville Municipal Center.

The program, spearheaded by Assemblyman James Tedisco, has been around for about 15 years. Tedisco, R-Glenville, said it is all about positive reinforcement.

“Those kids are going to go out and tell the other kids in the neighborhood. They’re going to see the kids getting these free tickets,” he said.

Participating law enforcement agencies include the Ballston Spa, Galway, Glenville, Niskayuna, Rotterdam, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady and Scotia police departments and the Schenectady County and Saratoga County sheriff’s offices.

Children caught without a helmet will get a lecture on the importance of wearing one. The law requires that anyone younger than 14 must wear a helmet while biking, roller skating or skateboarding. For those who cannot afford a helmet, one will be provided free of charge by the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Attorney Dan Dagostino said his firm sees the devastating effects on bicyclists involved in an accident and not wearing helmets.

“Wearing a helmet can be the difference from not being injured at all to sustaining a life-threatening injury,” he said.

Helmets will be available at local police stations. The firm has committed to providing 250 helmets but would go beyond that if needed.

“We won’t turn anyone away,” Dagostino said.

Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said head injuries are the leading cause of death and permanent disability in bike-related crashes. “A helmet can absorb and help prevent those injuries to the brain,” he said.

The kids at Tuesday’s kickoff seemed more interested in the prospect of ice cream than helmets. Michael Shook, 4, of Clifton Park said “Death by Chocolate” is his favorite.

Lauren Closson, 10, of Ganesvoort said she always wears her helmet.

“I don’t want to fall and get hurt.”

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