CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Mill Creek MetroParks gave away free bike helmets to kids Saturday.
Ohio children under the age of 16 could soon be required to wear one if a bill presented to Ohio legislators this week passes.
India Gatts of Austintown and her sister Sabrina ride their bikes a lot. Their mother, Michele, taught them the importance of wearing a helmet. That is why they came to Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield to be properly fitted with a new bike helmet free of charge.
“We see many accidents throughout the park and our police have to respond. We notice that some of the public isn’t aware of the importance and don’t have the funds at home to purchase,” said Rikki Bramer with Mill Creek MetroParks.
The park received a grant through the American Academy of Pediatrics and Safe Kids Mahoning Valley to buy 100 helmets.
“Helmets can reduce the risk of brain injuries by up to 88 percent,” said Andrea Neuman-Taddei with Akron Children’s Hospital Safe Kids Mahoning Valley.
Neuman-Taddei said children ages 5 to 14 are seen in the emergency department for injuries related to biking more than any other sport.
Melissa Bomberger of Salem brought her two boys to help keep them safe.
“We hadn’t got any yet. They have been riding all over the place and topple over a few times. We needed to get some helmets,” Bomberger said.
This is the second year Mill Creek MetroParks has passed out helmets and plant to continue the giveaway next year if the funds are available.
Under new proposed legislation last week, Ohio children 16 or younger would have to wear a helmet while riding a bike.
The bill is backed by the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Some states, including Pennsylvania, have mandatory bike-helmet laws. Some communities in Ohio also require bicyclists under the age of 16 to wear a helmet, most of which are in the Akron-Cleveland area.