Assemblyman launches his 2016 Safe Summer Bike Helmet Safety Program at Southern Saratoga YMCA Summer Camp in Clifton Park with Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, Stewart’s Shops, Friendly’s, Hayner’s Ice Cream Hall of Fame & Ben & Jerry’s to encourage kids to wear bike helmets for safety
Exercise safely this summer and get free ice cream to beat the heat. That’s the goal of the innovative Safe Summer Bike Helmet program founded by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville). Tedisco is again partnering with 12 area police departments, local officials and businesses to launch the 2016 Safe Summer Bike Helmet program.
Tedisco today joined local officials and businesses, police and kids at the Southern Saratoga YMCA summer camp in Clifton Park to kick-off this year’s program to distribute 5,000 “good tickets” for free ice cream to reward children who wear their helmets while bicycling, skateboarding, and rollerblading, and give free bike helmets to kids who need one. Tedisco’s Safe Summer Program is in its 19th consecutive year.
It’s the law in New York State that children up to age 14 must wear a bicycle helmet. According to the New York State Department of Health, an average of 54 New Yorkers are killed each year in bicycle crashes and 19,000 residents are treated at a hospital due to bike-related injuries.
Head injuries are the leading cause of death and permanent disability in bicycle crashes, accounting for more than 60 percent of bike-related deaths. The cost of a bicycle helmet is approximately $20.00. The average charge for a hospital stay due to a bicycle related brain injury is $23,000 with an average length of stay of four days. In New York, annual hospitalization charges related to care for persons with a bicycle related brain injury is $20 million.
The Safe Summer Program aims to address these alarming statistics by using positive reinforcement to get all neighborhood kids into the habit of wearing their helmets for safe biking, in-line skating, or riding a skateboard or scooter.
“Summer is here and so is the heat. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream and we all scream loudly for our children to practice summer safety when they ride a bike. The Safe Summer program reminds kids through positive reinforcement to wear their bike helmets while rewarding good behavior with coupons for free ice cream. When you promise kids that they’ll get a free ice cream cone for being responsible and wearing a bike helmet as our law enforcement do, and then you couple that with a free helmet for children who can’t afford one, that permeates the neighborhood and gives an added incentive for kids to stay safe this summer. The program also promotes positive interactions between children and law enforcement,” said Tedisco.
The Safe Summer program is made possible thanks to donations from participating businesses: Stewart’s Shops, Friendly’s, Hayner’s Ice Cream Hall of Fame in Halfmoon and Ben & Jerry’s. The law firm of Martin, Harding and Mazzotti LLP is donating hundreds of new bike helmets to police departments in the Capital Region to distribute to children who need them.
“The Town of Clifton Park commends Assemblyman Tedisco for bringing additional attention to this very important topic for the youth in our community, said Phil Barrett, Clifton Park Town Supervisor. “Taking simple precautions to be safe, while enjoying the summer is an ongoing educational effort that benefits the children in Clifton Park and every community.”
“The safety of our children is paramount. The Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program allows us to pass on simple, yet effective ways to teach kids how to safely handle their bicycles in a fun atmosphere. I want to thank Assemblyman Tedisco for his leadership in offering this program to help protect our kids each year,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo.
“This program serves as a fun and informative reminder to kids on the importance of wearing a helmet while riding their bikes. It also serves as another important reminder to motorists about the potential consequences of distracted driving and the need to watch closely for kids, bikes, motorcycles and pedestrians this summer. Thanks to Assemblyman Tedisco for his annual work on this fun and informative program,” said Saratoga County Clerk Craig Hayner, who also owns Hayner’s Ice Cream Hall of Fame in Halfmoon.
“It is an honor to partner with Assemblyman Tedisco, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, Stewart’s and all the sponsors to be able to offer the Safe Summer program to the children attending our summer camp program at the Southern Saratoga YMCA. The Southern Saratoga YMCA serves over 400 children daily in our afterschool program and summer camp program; safety is one of our of top priorities. The Safe Summer program is a fun way to remind children to be safe this summer and wear their helmets when riding their bikes,” said Sarah Heslin, Executive Director of the Southern Saratoga County YMCA.
“Martin, Harding & Mazzotti is once again proud to partner with Assemblyman Tedisco and his Safe Summer Bike Helmet Safety Program. Working together we can make a difference and hopefully prevent head injuries by offering free helmets to those who need one,” said Daniel Dagostino, Managing Attorney for Martin Harding & Mazzotti, LLP.
“Stewart’s Shops is happy to partner with this program year after year because what sweeter reward is there, than ice cream? We wish all the kids out there a fun and safe summer,” said Maria D’Amelia, Stewart’s Shops spokesperson.
Participating police departments that will distribute free ice cream coupons and bike helmets to kids include: Saratoga County Sheriff, Schenectady County Sheriff, Glenville Police Department, Clifton Park Town Security, Saratoga Springs Police Department, Ballston Spa Police Department, Scotia Police Department, Galway Police Department, City of Schenectady Police Department, Niskayuna Police Department, Rotterdam Police Department and Rensselaer Police Department.