Gwent Police is peddling a safety campaign to encourage more children to wear helmets when riding their bicycles.
Neighbourhood Policing Teams in Monmouthshire are awarding a high-visibility bike sticker to every child they see wearing a bike helmet.
Children seen riding a bike without a helmet are stopped by officers and PCSOs and given advice on the safety benefits of wearing a helmet. A follow-up letter reinforcing this advice is then delivered to their parents.
The ‘Kool Kids Wear Lids’ campaign was launched in August and has the support of Welsh Cycling, the Monmouthshire Road Safety Forum and the Accident and Emergency Departments of the Aneurin Bevan Health Board.
In the first six weeks of the campaign (22nd August – 3rd October), 204 children aged up to 12 years were approached by officers.
Of those stopped, 122 were wearing helmets and awarded luminous sticker badges containing the words “Kool Kids Wear Lids”.
Inspector Geoff Smith, of Monmouthshire Local Policing Unit, said: “The feedback we have received from the parents of children we have stopped is favourable. It is encouraging that more than a fifth (17) of the youngsters approached when riding without a helmet have later been spotted wearing lids after being given advice from local officers.”
“We want to inform youngsters in the area that bike helmets are not uncool – they are essential pieces of safety equipment that can save lives.”
“We will continue to work hard alongside our road safety partners to encourage more young cyclists to wear helmets and reduce the amount of serious cycling injuries in Monmouthshire.”
Dr Jo Probert, Consultant in Adult and Paediatric Emergency Medicine at the Royal Gwent Hospital, said: “Many children attend our Emergency Department with head and face injuries as a result of cycling accidents, especially over the school holidays. Unfortunately some of these injuries are potentially serious and require x-rays or scans and admission to hospital. A few even require surgery. Evidence suggests that the number of head injuries is significantly reduced and serious brain injury may be avoided if a cycle helmet is worn.”
“We fully support Gwent Police and Monmouthshire Road Safety Forum in encouraging both parents and children to wear helmets whilst cycling both on and off roads.”
Ian Jenkins, Director of Cycling Development at Welsh Cycling, said: “I’ve seen many accidents which could have been serious if the cyclists involved had not been wearing helmets. Helmets are pretty cool, well-designed and desirable to wear – our stars like Geraint Thomas and Becky James always wear them.”
“You can pick up a colourful and fashionable helmet for under £20 so there is no excuse not to have one.”