The Ohio Department of Transportation and the American Academy of Pediatrics have teamed up to offer helmets as part of the Cover It! company.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thousands of bicycle helmets will be distributed to children across Ohio this May in recognition of Bicycle Helmet Safety Awareness Month.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and the American Academy of Pediatrics have teamed up to offer helmets as part of the Cover It! company. This is the 13th year of distribution and the eighth year that the two groups have collaborated together.

About 10,000 helmets are expected to be distributed throughout the spring season.

More than 150 law enforcement agencies and community organizations traveled to Columbus to pick up their allotment of helmets on Thursday.

According to ODOT, nearly 2,000 children under the age of 18 have been injured by a vehicle while riding a bicycle in Ohio since 2018. More than 200 reported collisions resulted in life-changing injuries or fatalities.

“Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent and severe brain injury by 88 percent,” said Ohio AAP CEO Melissa Wervey Arnold. “It’s important that kids not only wear a helmet, but that it’s the right size and the right fit.”

Ohio recognizes the bicycle as a vehicle, and those bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities on the roadway as other vehicles, according to an ODOT release.

“We want to equip our most vulnerable road users who are learning to drive with everything they need to be able to continue driving in the future,” said ODOT Active Transportation Manager Caitlin Harley.

ODOT issued the following tips for motorists:

  • Slow down and drive at a safe speed
  • At the turn, look for people riding a bicycle
  • Changing lanes to pass
  • Put away the phone!

To learn more about Bicycle Helmet Safety Awareness Month and the Put a Cover on campaign, click here.

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