The Amherst Police Department's Heads Up, Helmets On program is returning to town this summer.
AMHERST – Kids probably don’t care much for statistics showing how bicycle helmets save lives, but they sure love being rewarded for wearing them.
The Amherst Police Department is bringing back its successful Heads Up, Helmets On program that rewards children who wear their helmets when riding bicycles, skateboards, scooters or inline skates.
“It sure is nice to be able to go over to a child and say here’s a gift certificate for being safe and wearing a helmet,” the department’s crime prevention office Const. Tom Wood said. “I know the children enjoy it and so do the officers because it helps further develop that relationship between our young people and the police department.”
Throughout the summer, officers will be giving out coupons to children from McDonald’s and Dairy Queen for ice cream treats. Wood said the children are being rewarded for being good examples to others.
Wood said officers are continuing to encourage helmet use and he has seen an increase, especially at the Amherst Lions Skate Park. Wood said there are still some youths refusing to wear helmets at the park, but he said the majority are.
The same is true for those riding bikes, skateboards and skates around town.
“I believe our compliance rate is very high, higher than a lot of communities,” Wood said. “The compliance rate is also high among adults, many of whom grew up without the requirement for helmets. They’re being positive role models.”
Children and adults caught without a helmet have the option of taking an alternative measures program in which they hear a presentation about the importance of wearing a helmet.
Those who complete the short session don’t get fined, but those who refuse face a summary offence ticket of $147.
Helmets must be worn when riding a bicycle, skateboard, scooter or inline skates on all streets, sidewalks, parking lots and the skate park.
Wood said the department has a limited number of helmets available to give out to children and adults who are identified as not having the resources to purchase one.
For further information, contact Wood at 667-7227 to book a helmet fitting.