On Friday, May 28, The Allendale Police Department will kick off their 5th annual bicycle and skateboard helmet initiative.  Once again Officers will be distributing various gift cards as a positive reward for anyone under 17 found wearing their helmets. This year the program is being sponsored by Allendale Public School’s P.T.O.

Enforcing New Jersey’s bicycle and skateboard safety helmet law for anyone under 17 remains a priority for Allendale Police Officers year-round, but as warmer weather and increased bicycle usage approaches, the Department heightens its attention on the important safety issue that impacts all roadway users.

According to Sgt. Todd Griffith, Allendale’s Traffic Safety Officer, the death rate in the United States for bicyclists remains over 800 killed per year, with over 45,000 bicyclists injured. According to Griffith, “we hope both adults and children take notice of how important bicycle helmet usage is as the average age of a bicyclist killed in traffic is 45 years old”.

Sgt. Griffith added that in the past few years the attention the program received by Northern Highlands DV Pilot, along with the Borough’s social media sites caused some very welcome excitement with local downtown businesses.

“We started this program five years ago with an anonymous donor providing funds to awards for area children wearing helmets, and we had a partnership with a few business owners that we approached. The program was well received with increased compliance rates observed. This year, Allendale’s Dairy Queen, Dunkin, and Toscana Pizzeria were all looking forward to supporting the program ensuring ample reward certificates are available for free pizza, ice cream, and donuts” claims Griffith.

The downside for persons under 17 who find themselves on a skateboard or bicycle without their helmet on, besides no free treats,  the potential exists after one warning for a summons with mandatory appearance required for parents and a fine up to $100.00.

Parents unsure of helmet specifications and requirements should contact Police headquarters at (201) 825-1900.