Coupons to promote bike safety

The OPP and Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition once again are partnering up to offer incentives to kids to wear their bike helmets this summer.
“We’ll issue coupons to young people who are found by police wearing their bike helmets,” said RRVSC co-ordinator Hugh Dennis
The coupons can be redeemed for a free ice cream cone at McDonald’s in Fort Frances.
“It’s to encourage young people to wear their helmets because it does prevent injury,” Dennis noted.
“For us, it’s all about safety,” said Insp. Dave Lucas, OPP detachment commander for the Rainy River District.
The program has run in Fort Frances for the past several years, but was spread district-wide—from Rainy River to Atikokan—only last year.
The incentives have proven effective in past years, Dennis said.
“If there’s a group of three kids out on their bikes, and there’s one with a helmet, he gets the coupon. The other two see that and want a coupon, too, so they’ll wear their helmet next time,” he reasoned.
Once kids learn the program is running, they are anxious to wear their helmet and get their coupon.
“Last year, our officers didn’t have to search for the kids, they were searching for us,” Insp. Lucas laughed.
He noted it’s important that parents talk to their children about bike safety—and make sure they provide them with helmets.
“Our main approach to this is education. It’s an excellent opportunity for that,” Insp. Lucas added.
Treaty Three police and the CN police also will be handing out McDonald’s coupons this summer.
Dennis noted the program would not be possible without the contributions of district retailers, as well as local media that help promote it.