ALLENDALE, N.J. – Some lucky Allendale youngsters who wear their helmets while riding bicycles and skateboards downtown will receive fun prizes – while the parents of those who don’t could find themselves dragged into court as part of new borough police safety initiative.
Beginning at the end of this Friday’s school day, officers will begin distributing coupons for free Dairy Queen ice cream cones, doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts and free jump time at Sky Zone Trampoline Park to helmet-wearing youngsters they spot in the business district, Sgt. Bill Kroepke said.
A local anonymous donor and corporate partners made the prizes possible, he said.
“The downside for those without helmets: No rewards and a summons that will require their parent spend time in Allendale Municipal Court on a Tuesday night,” said Kroepke, the program coordinator.
“It’s a warning for the first offense, then a mandatory appearance for the parents of children found without a helmet the second time,” the sergeant said.
Fines range from $25 to $100, he added.
It not only makes sense, authorities say: The New Jersey Mandatory Helmet Law requires anyone under 17 on a bicycle or skateboard to wear an approved safety helmet.
More than 800 people were killed and more than 45,000 injured on bicycles in 2015 alone – the year for which the most recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics were available, said borough Sgt. Todd Griffith.
The most common, and serious, type of injury from a fall is to the head – which also is the leading cause of death in such accidents, Griffith said.
The sergeant urged parents who ride with their children to “set the example and be good role models by also wearing adult helmets.
“The bicycle law applies only to those under 17,” Griffith said, “but the average age of those killed on bicycles is 45 years old.
“Everyone riding a bicycle should have a bicycle safety helmet on.”