POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 29 Police launch Operation Headway bike helmet blitz Originally published in The Guardian, August 25, 2011 Cyclists have received a warning from police on P.E.I. – wear a helmet or face the consequences. From now until Sept. 4, police officers will be paying special attention to cyclists and helmet use. A police news release says if officers find someone wearing a helmet, they will reward the person with an ice cream coupon courtesy of McDonalds. They will also give the person a ballot for the chance to win a new bicycle. But, police warn, they will be handing out tickets to those caught riding without a helmet. The $120 fine can be waived if the person attends Noggin Knowledge, a graphic education session in September, designed to show the importance of wearing a helmet while riding. For the third year, Charlottetown Police Services have joined with Summerside Police Services and Kensington/Borden-Carleton Police Services in conducting Operation Headway, a campaign developed by the police in Halifax aimed at increasing compliance with helmet laws and decreasing head injuries. The partnership also includes the RCMP, Island Network for Injury Prevention (INIP), the Brain Injury Association of P.E.I., Cycle P.E.I., Island Trails, Island EMS, the Medical Society of P.E.I. and Transportation and Public Works. Members have some access to helmets for those who can’t afford them. At Noggin Knowledge sessions, Island EMS paramedics demonstrate what happens at the scene of a bike crash. In addition, a local physician shows slides of the brains of people injured in bike crashes and a brain injury survivor from a bike crash or a family member describes the long-term consequences of a brain injury. Police officers and other members conduct education sessions in schools and other places where youth are present, and, for Grade 3 and older, show them a DVD with the late Jordon Perry and his family where they describe what happened to Jordon and his subsequent coma. Approximately 86 tickets were issued in 2009 and 126, in 2010. More than 100 written warnings were issued in 2010, up from 36 in 2009. The news release said that after the 2009 program, the rate of helmet use increased slightly overall, but the difference was not statistically significant. The overall wearing rate increased from 67.8 per cent to 69.9 per cent. After the 2009 program, the rate of helmet use by males increased significantly – more than five per cent (from 62.1 per cent to 67.4 per cent). In 2010, in Charlottetown, there was an increase in the percentage of females wearing helmets as compared to 2009 – 83.3 per cent as compared to 73.5 per cent. According to a report by Safe Kids Canada and the Atlantic Collaborative on Injury Prevention Child & Youth Unintentional Injury, Atlantic Canada: 10 Years in Review, four out of five head injuries could be prevented if every bicyclist wore a helmet. The human skull is about one centimetre thick and can be shattered by an impact of only seven to 10 km/h. Young bicyclists ride at speeds averaging 11 to 16 km/h. In the Atlantic region, an average of 157 children age 14 and under are hospitalized for serious cycle related injuries each year in Atlantic Canada. Bicycle-related injuries are the second leading cause of injury hospitalization for children 10 to 14 years of age in Atlantic Canada. GUARDIAN PHOTO BY BRIAN MCINNIS Four-year-old Gram Hemphill and his twin brother, Noah, were smart and wearing helmets while riding their training bikes around Victoria Park Tuesday. It is the law on Prince Edward Island that helmets must be worn by cyclists, but not everyone does. To encourage safety, Charlottetown Police Services are stopping cyclists and, if they are not wearing a helmet, they can receive a ticket or in lieu of the monetary fine they can take a safety course. If they are wearing a helmet, they get a voucher for ice cream. Earlier in the day, the brothers were stopped by police and did receive their ice cream. Those wearing helmets may receive ice cream voucher: those without face fines