Students received the most important lesson in bike safety and the equipment to put that message into practice.
Every single student at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Elementary School received a free helmet thanks to the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association Helmets on Kids program and lessons from experts on how to stay safe.
“We need our kids to know they have to wear a helmet,” said Constable Peter De Quintal, who has been partnering with Jewell Radimiss Jorge Personal Injury Lawyers for four years to get free helmets to children. In this case, 525 kids received helmets. “We’re becoming such a cycling-friendly city that we need to get that message across. It’s important for your safety and it’s also the law.”
The helmet giveaways began in 12 Division where De Quintal had been organizing bicycle safety rodeos and noticed some kids didn’t have their most important piece of safety equipment.
“It’s the most important safety device whether you’re cycling or riding a scooter or anything else,” De Quintal said. “You don’t have to be going fast, it could be just the way you fall or what you fall on.”
De Quintal also demonstrated the proper way to fit a helmet using the Two-V-One rule. (The helmet should sit two finger-widths above your eyebrows. The side straps should form a V below each ear. One finger should fit under chin strap)
Lawyer Michelle Jorge reminded students that it’s important to replace the helmet if it is involved in a high-impact collision or damaged in any away. Access Rehab President & CEO Jim Anagnostopoulos told the students the best way to protect their heads from injury and concussion is by wearing helmet.
Superintendent Scott Weidmark reminded parents that they can be charged if their children under 16 are not wearing bike helmets. Anyone under 18 is also required to wear a helmet.
“Everyone wants to protect their children. They are parents’ most precious resource,” he said. “Parents need to remind themselves that any fall from a bicycle can be serious.”
Weidmark, a seasoned cyclist, has been on the wrong end of collisions on bicycles himself.
“I once landed on my head while riding without a helmet resulting in a concussion and a very large bump on my head, but it could have been a lot worse,” said Weidmark. “Years later, when I was wearing a helmet riding very fast down a hill and fell off, I had no injury at all to my head and I landed right on it. I suffered other scrapes and bruises, which healed, but no damage to my head. Wearing a helmet is the right thing to do.
Weidmark said both police and Auxiliary officers have a great time connecting with kids to keep them safe.
“It’s great to have kids see officers protecting them in another way,” he said. “It’s a great way to connect to children in our community.”
Visit toronto.ca/helmets to learn more about helmet safety tips