Editorial: Donations needed for bike helmets

If you’re like most shoppers, you at least wait until the Halloween candy is off store shelves before tackling your holiday shopping list. Nonprofit agencies don’t have that luxury, however. Many are gearing up now to ensure that children in need will have gifts come December.

Here’s one worthy project to consider: bicycle helmets for kids.

First, some background: Every year, inmates from the county Honor Farm prepare donated bikes for distribution to needy children. Some of the bikes are new, but need to be assembled or adjusted. Others are used bicycles that require refurbishment.

This year, there already are plenty of bicycles available, so project organizers are focusing on helmets.

That’s a wonderful idea.

A child should never be allowed to ride without a helmet. Not only is it illegal, it’s just not safe.

Consider this statistic:

According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, medical research shows a bike helmet can prevent 85 percent of cyclists’ head injuries.

The County Sheriff’s Advisory Board has arranged to buy around 500 helmets for $3,500. That works out to $7 per helmet — a bargain. The group is asking for cash donations for this excellent cause.

“We want the recipient to be able to enjoy the gift the same day, and not put any financial strain on the families involved,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Reann Schwiebert, who heads the bicycle program. “That’s why we are asking for the public’s assistance in purchasing helmets for our program.”

As childhood experiences go, it’s hard to beat waking up to find a shiny bicycle waiting for you. But how disappointing would it be to not be able to take that bike for a spin around the block because you don’t have a helmet?

Here’s an opportunity to help ensure a child is both happy and safe — and that’s not a bad way to ease into the holiday season.

How to Help

Tax deductible donations to the bicycle helmet campaign should be mailed to San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Advisory Board, P.O. Box 3752, San Luis Obispo 93403.