Tickets and confiscation for those seen without proper protection
© Connor Doucette – Amherst Daily News
Const. Tom Wood of the Amherst Police Department looks over one of the department’s bikes while holding a pair of helmets. Police plan to step up helmet enforcement in the coming weeks and will be working with young bicyclists and skateboarders to promote helmet use.
AMHERST – Helmet enforcement has been a strong initiative with the Amherst Police Department this year.
Now it’s being kicked up another notch as officers begin a project from August to September of this year that takes a stronger approach towards enforcing and reinforcing helmet use and safety.
“We have to keep reinforcing as well, otherwise it will slip with kids who we’ve convinced to wear their helmets,” said Constable Tom Wood of the APD.
Those seen riding bikes, skateboards and scooters without a helmet will have their bike or skateboard confiscated for five days, and will be given the option of going to a seminar in September about helmet use or receiving a ticket.
On the other hand, kids who are seen with helmets while riding bikes or skateboards will receive rewards in the form of coupons to Dairy Queen and McDonalds.
“I’m hoping more officers will be handing out coupons than tickets,” Wood said.
Helmet awareness has been an ongoing effort in Amherst and the rest of Cumberland County this year, especially with kids. Early this summer there was a large of donation of helmets from the provincial government to be handed out to kids who couldn’t afford helmets, and bike rodeos in Springhill and Parrsboro also helped enforce the message.
“Sometimes it’s a stigma, I think, when kids don’t wear their helmets,” Wood said.
“They think they look cool like the other kids who don’t, and that’s equally between the kids on bikes and skateboards and other things. A lot of kids are wearing their helmets but you get a select group that don’t.”
Statistics say about 500 Canadian children receive head injuries every year that could have been prevented by helmet use. Helmets reduce risk of head injury by 63 per cent, and loss of consciousness by 86 per cent. The average bicycle helmet costs about $20, compared to the cost of a ticket, which is up to $140.