MALTA — Children in Saratoga and Schenectady Counties will have an incentive to stay safe this summer as state Senator Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) is partnering with local officials, businesses and 16 area police departments to launch the 2017 Safe Summer Bike Helmet program.
To celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary, Tedisco scooped free ice cream cones donated by Stewart’s Shops on July 5 at the Town of Malta’s summer camp.
This year’s Safe Summer Program will give away free bike helmets and distribute 5,000 “good tickets” for free ice cream cones to reward children who wear helmets while bicycling, skateboarding and rollerblading.
Stewart’s Shops and numerous other participating businesses make Tedisco’s program possible through donations. The law firm of Martin, Harding and Mazzotti LLP is donating hundreds of new bike helmets to police departments in the 49th Senate District for children who need them.
“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 the 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 in a statement. “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. Safe Summer also provides positive interactions between law enforcement and kids.”
It’s the law in New York State that children up to age 14 must wear a bicycle helmet or parents could face $50 fine. According to the New York State Department of Health, an average of 54 New Yorkers are killed each year in bicycle crashes and 19,000 residents are treated at a hospital due to bike-related injuries.
Head injuries are the leading cause of death and permanent disability in bicycle crashes, accounting for more than 60 percent of bike-related deaths. In New York, annual hospitalization charges related to such brain injuries are roughly $20 million.
The cost of a helmet is about $20. The average charge for a hospital stay due to a bicycle-related brain injury is $23,000 with an average length of stay of four days.
The Safe Summer Program aims to address these alarming statistics by using positive reinforcement to get all neighborhood kids into the habit of wearing their helmets for safe biking, in-line skating, or riding a skateboard or scooter.
Participating police departments that will distribute free ice cream coupons and bike helmets to kids include: Saratoga County Sheriff, Schenectady County Sheriff, Fulton County Sheriff, Hamilton County Sheriff, Herkimer County Sheriff, Glenville Police, Clifton Park Town Security, Saratoga Springs Police, Ballston Spa Police, Scotia Police, Galway Police, City of Schenectady Police, Niskayuna Police, Rotterdam Police, Gloversville Police, and Johnstown Police.