Mayo gardaí are promoting a safety campaign designed to encourage more children to wear helmets when riding their bicycles.
“Children are particularly vulnerable while cycling as they do not have the awareness, balance or experience that adults have when it comes to the risks involved in cycling without a helmet and we should lead by example,” said Inspector Joe Doherty. “We’re trying to make it more about awareness and a reward for those doing the smart thing.” Policing teams in Mayo will award a high-visibility bike sticker to every child they see wearing a bike helmet. Children seen riding a bike without a helmet will be stopped by Garda officers and given advice on the safety benefits of wearing a helmet.
Also as part of this campaign a helmet artwork design competition is being organised. It is a Mayo local authorities initiative supported by the RSA, An Post, Taisce Green Schools, An Garda Siochana and Acquired Brain Injury Ireland.
The winning participating students will win a special edition An Post cycling jersey and helmet package and will be presented with this prize on the podium at the An Post Ras stage finish in Westport on Tuesday May 22 at 1.30pm.
Barbara O’Connell, chief executive of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, said: “Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a head or brain injury by 65 to 88 per cent, or the severity of the injury, should a collision occur, by absorbing the impact.”
According to Ireland’s Road Safety Authority, latest available figures between 1997 and 2009 show 51 fatalities without helmet protection compared with five deaths of those who wore a helmet. In that same period, 176 injuries were recorded in which a cyclist was wearing a helmet. The figures show about 837 cyclists who met with accidents and suffered injuries, including serious brain injuries, had no head protection.