Police teach Heatherington kids bike safety

Ottawa Police from the East District teamed up with paramedics and city staff Friday to help teach dozens of kids in the Heatherington area more about bicycle safety.

Each kid that showed up was presented with a brand new helmet that was properly fitted by a police officer. Each also received a bike bell.

The children then got to hop on a bike and try out an obstacle course, learn some safety tips and receive a certificate.

Const. Mike McNaught told CFRA the event stemmed from a bike safety day held in the community back in July.

"We were out here providing some help with bikes, fixing the bikes and interacting with the youth in the community," he said. "One issue that came up out of that event was that we had one child out of 150 children that we spoke to that actually had a proper fitting helmet."

He said that is concerning.

"We're in and out of this community on a daily basis and we see it all the time," said McNaught. "All the youth don't have helmets, there's a lot of vehicular traffic in the area and it is a requirement under the Highway Traffic Act to have a helmet if you're under the age of 16. It's very worrisome, but the need was identifies that a lot of these youth simply just can't afford the cost of a helmet."

Linda brought her three children to the event. She said many kids in the area don't know much about bicycle safety.

"It's not very well taught out there, so it's good that they have the police officers come into the community and the ambulance come into the communities and tell people about this, because a lot of kids are just here, take your bike and go. They need to know that you have to be safe because you're supposed to be on the road with cars.

The event also gave police officers the chance to interact with kids on another level.

"I think it gives the kids good things," said Tracy Demers. "You always hear bad things on the news. You always see police in bad situations, but look, they're doing a positive."

"I have a daughter that, you know, doesn't like police. They think the bad things, so this is a good way to teach them, 'well you know what? We do good things. We're here for kids as well,'" Demers added.

Sponsors helped police buy the helmets, bells and even a few bikes for the kids- they hope to hold the event again in the future.

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