Newton Police Win Grant for Helmets

NEWTON, NC (May 5, 2017)—The Newton Police Department is pleased to announce a new partnership that will allow officers to provide helmets to young bicycle riders.

The N.C. Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation awarded the Newton Police Department funding through its Bicycle Helmet Initiative. Revenue from the “Share the Road” specialty license plate provides funding the initiative, which has made thousands of helmets available to children since it began in 2007.

“Research shows that wearing a helmet is one of the most effective ways to prevent serious injuries from bicycle accidents,” Newton Police Chief Don Brown said. “Through this initiative, our officers will be able to provide helmets directly to children whose families are unable to afford them, which has the potential to save lives.”

Each year in North Carolina, an average of 20 bicyclists are killed while bicycling, and one in six of those bicyclists is under the age of 16. Children ages 5-14 are seen in emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries more than any other sport. Only 45 percent of children usually wear helmets when bicycling, but wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries during an accident by 88 percent.

Police will partner with Newton-Conover City Schools to determine which children in the community have the greatest need and to distribute the helmets.

In addition to the Bicycle Helmet Initiative, Newton officers encourage bicycle safety by teaching classes in the community. The Newton Streetscape Plan, which is currently in the engineering phase, includes bicycle travel lanes throughout Downtown Newton. The Newton Pedestrian Plan, which is currently being developed, provides alternatives to vehicular transportation and is aimed at increasing connectivity and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.