As seen on AdvocateDaily.com
Toronto (June 11, 2013) – Hundreds of young cyclists will be safer on Toronto streets, thanks to this year’s Helmets on Kids campaign launched at Blake Street Junior Public School. Helmets have been donated to 500 students, as part of a campaign aimed at stopping a dangerous trend.
“The reality is that too many kids injured in cycling collisions in Toronto, are not wearing helmets,” said Patrick Brown, critical injury lawyer at McLeish Orlando LLP, organizer of the Toronto Helmets on Kids Campaign, and director of Cycle Toronto. “Studies show that helmets reduce the severity of head injuries, and it just makes sense to have kids wearing helmets.”
- In 2012, 51 cyclists between the ages of five and 14 were injured in cycling collisions in Toronto. Of those, only 13 were wearing helmets;
- Between 2006 and 2011, an average of 80 cyclists, between the ages of five and 14, were injured each year in cycling collisions in Toronto;
Toronto’s Helmets on Kids campaign was launched in 2009 by McLeish Orlando LLP. Over the past four years, the campaign has donated helmets to more than 1,500 public school students across Toronto. The Ontario Safety League, Toronto Police, Eastview Boys & Girls Club, Cycle Toronto, the Brain Injury Society of Toronto, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and Ward 30 Councillor Paula Fletcher support this year’s campaign. Cycle Solutions has also generously donated its time and services, to provide free bike tune-ups at the event.
“The simple fact is that helmets save lives,” said Brian Patterson, President of the Ontario Safety League. “We’re very proud to support a campaign that helps improve cycling safety for so many young people. We’re urging parents to make sure their kids are wearing helmets.”
Ontario passed a law in 1995, requiring cyclists under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. Parents can also be charged if they knowingly allow their children, who are under 16, to ride without a helmet on a roadway or sidewalk.
During this year’s campaign launch, Patrick Brown provided students with safe cycling tips that included the following:
- Obey traffic signals and the rules of the road;
- Ensure your bicycle has a bell, as well as reflectors and lights for night use;
- Always yield to pedestrians, and use your hand signal for lane changes.
McLeish Orlando’s Toronto Helmets on Kids campaign is part of a province-wide Bike Helmets on Kids program started by members of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) in 2002. Since its first event, held in London, Ontario, more than 19,000 helmets have been distributed to elementary school students. All helmets are purchased with funds donated by OTLA lawyers, their firms and other community sponsors.
In 2013, OTLA Bike Helmets on Kids events have taken place throughout May and June in Ottawa, Toronto, Aurora, Halton Region (Burlington), Peel Region, Barrie, Quinte West (Belleville and Trenton), Sudbury, Windsor, Simcoe County (Midland), and Thunder Bay. These events will help distribute an estimated 4,000 bicycle helmets this year to children in cities and regions across Ontario. For more information, visit www.otla.com.