From left, Amscot Associate Kim; Rebecca Davis, AmeriCorps Clearwater program director; Jeremy Bell, AmeriCorps member; Brad Baker, AmeriCorps member; Clearwater Police Sgt. Juan Torres pass out free bicycle helmets to kids Oct. 22.
CLEARWATER – Amscot Financial, AmeriCorps Clearwater and the Clearwater Police Department gave out more than 45 free bicycle helmets to kids Oct. 22 to help ensure bicycle safety.
From the public safety perspective, it is important that kids own and wear bicycle helmets said Clearwater Police Sgt. Juan Torres.
“For safety reasons, obviously, it prevents injuries,” Torres said. “With all the kids getting injured in today’s world, helmets are the most important tool they could have when they ride a bike, and that’s true for adults, too. Everyone should wear a helmet. There’s noting worse than a head injury.”
Kids need adults to be involved, encourage them to wear helmets and to teach them why it is important, Torres said. Over the years as a police officer, Torres said he has seen many serious head injuries from bike falls.
“I was a cop in New York and the worst injury I ever saw was a gentleman who was going down a hill, hit some sand, lost control of the bike, hit the ground head first,” Torres said. “He was in a coma for months, and when he did finally regain consciousness, he had lost his memory, could barely speak, he had a lot of medical issues after that. So it destroyed his family. And this was an adult man who was very athletic but just decided not to wear a helmet.”
On the other hand, Torres said he has seen many cases who have fallen from a bike but were saved by their helmets.
“We’ve even had some officers take spills on bikes who were wearing helmets, and it was a good thing they were,” Torres said. “It’s just like seatbelts.”
Rebecca Davis, program director for AmeriCorps Clearwater, said that her organization is all about community service and enjoys participating in these kinds of events.
“Obviously bike safety and helmet safety is extremely important, but giving back to the community and getting these helmets to kids who need them is very important to us, and we want to be a part of that,” Davis said.
Davis said it is important that kids not only wear helmets but that they fit properly. The following tips were provided by SAFE KIDS of Orange County.
Fit bicycle helmets properly
• Step 1 – Measure one’s head just above the eyebrows.
• Step 2 – Place the front of the helmet just above the eyes. Helmet should have a snug fit on head.
• Step 3 – The helmet has foam pads inside the helmet that are attached with Velcro or adhesive. The helmet fits correctly when the pads hold it firmly but comfortably in place.
- Step 3a – Determine where extra thickness may be needed.
- Step 3b – If necessary, remove the foam pads already in the helmet.
- Step 3c – Replace the foam pads inside the helmet with any combination of the different thickness of foam pads that are provided with the helmet.
- Step 3d – Check the fit again by trying to move the helmet from side to side and front to back. It should not move around.
- Step 3e – Repeat as necessary until a snug and comfortable fit is achieved. To get the correct fit, start with getting the correct pads, then move on.
• Step 4 – The person should be able to see the front of the helmet by looking up with their eyes while keeping their head straight. If they cannot see their helmet, then the helmet is too far back. The helmet should be no more than one finger space from the eyebrow.
• Step 5 – Adjust the strap.
- Step 5a – Have the person place one hand on the top of the helmet while someone adjusts the straps. This will help hold the helmet in place to adjust the straps.
- Step 5b – Adjust the strap on the side with the open buckle first. The open buckle should be centered underneath the chin.
- Step 5c – Adjust the front and back straps on the same side until they make a “V” that comes together just under the ear.
- Step 5d – Pull excess straps through the helmet to the other side and repeat steps 5a through 5c. When one finishes, the buckle and pronged end should be centered underneath the chin.
• Step 6 – There should be little movement when the person shakes their head. The strap should feel tight but not cause discomfort. One should be able to slide one finger between the chin, helmet straps and buckles.
Note: If you have a ponytail or hair up in any way, do not wear beads, plastic pony tail holders or any kind of hard hair accessory. This can allow the hard plastic to push through your scalp and cause damage to your brain if you fall when wearing your helmet.