Helmets for Life

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It’s simple.
Helmets and road-safety training save lives.

Island Pathways’ Helmets for Life program has now fitted over 600 CSA-approved helmets on Salt Spring elementary school children.

It started in 2000, when IP president Kim Murray suggested we buy bicycle helmets at discount and partner with groups in the community to distribute to local students. “Helmets For Life” evolved from this.

Margaretha Nordine has been with the program from the beginning and most enthusiastically continues it. Each year, she and her helpers (often Island Pathways board members) go to two elementary schools, with home-school children invited to attend. She prepares the students with a safety and “how to wear your helmet” talk, then she and assistants carefully fit each child. The kids choose the style and colour they prefer. They and their parents are thrilled.

Margaretha also spearheads Bike Rodeos, working with the RCMP, to teach safe cycling laws and practices, along with the critical importance of riding with an approved, quality helmet.

Students pay a mere $10 for these helmets, due to the generousity of:

  • Doug Grams at Fort Street Cycle in Victoria, who’s sold us helmets at cost for more than 10 years. (A Salt Spring Islander provided them at cost before this.)
  • the Lions’ Club, SSI Firefighters, Salt Spring Foundation, Legion, Rotary Club, and private donors, who help Island Pathways cover the difference.

It’s working! More Salt Spring cyclists wear helmets than ever before. At long last, the cycling community has embraced the importance of wearing a proper helmet, and many parents insist their children wear one whenever riding.

In addition to our work fitting helmets, Island Pathways runs bicycle safety seminars – eg. we’ll be working with Greater Victoria Bike To Work people to train up to 10 cycling safety instructors from the Salt Spring and southern Gulf Islands in the summer or fall of 2014 – and we held an Easter Bicycle Parade in 2011, which drew nearly 100 very keen kids. Check out the fun we had at it, and at our bike rodeos.

2011 Easter Bike Parade

2010 Bike Rodeo