Watch out, children of Apex. Apex police officers are on the lookout for kids on bikes. And they have tickets!
Officers are handing out "citations" to kids caught wearing their helmets while on their bikes, scooters or skateboards, obeying traffic laws and riding in safe locations. The kids, ages 12 and under, can turn in those "citations" for a free ice cream cone at the Apex Chick-fil-A.
“Through this program, we are looking for opportunities to reinforce safe riding, reach out to and interact with young riders and their parents, families and friends and help keep our community safe,” said Apex Police Chief John Letteney in a press release. “It all starts before even getting on a bike or skateboard by making sure your children (and you too!) wear a properly sized and fastened helmet and other appropriate safety equipment.”
The first of 100 tickets was given away on Tuesday to a girl, who was nabbed wearing a helmet while on her bike riding near her house with her father. Asher Devenouges was cited for wearing a helmet while biking today, according to the department's Facebook page. Captain Ann Stephens developed the program.
North Carolina law requires all bicyclists under 16 years to wear a helmet on public roads, public paths and public rights-of-way.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children, adolescents and young adults - ages 5 to 24 - have the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries. They comprised nearly 60 percent of bike-related injuries in U.S. emergency departments. Skateboard injuries, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, were the cause of more than 68,000 emergency department visits and 1,500 hospitalizations in kids younger than 14 in 2009.
The Academy says that a bike helmet can prevent up to 88 percent of serious brain injuries caused by bike collisions and falls.
Safety experts recommend helmets for bicyclists, skateboarders and scooter riders of all ages. According to the pediatrics group, helmets should be worn squarely on top of the head, covering the top of the forehead. A helmet that fits well shouldn't move around on the head or slide down over the eyes. Check the Academy's website for more helmet tips.
So, if the law and injury statistics aren't enough to convince kids and their parents to keep those helmets on, now there's the incentive of a sweet treat in Apex.