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Allston-Brighton groups to pass out free bike helmets via state, national program

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  May 31, 2011 12:07 PM

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Two neighborhood organizations have been awarded 48 bicycle helmets to distribute for free to cyclists in Allston and Brighton.

The protective head gear was awarded as part of an annual nationally-funded, statewide bike safety program to The Parents & Community Build Group, Inc. in partnership with A-Bbikes, also known as Allston-Brighton Bikes.

The broader bike safety initiative will provide more than 2,900 helmets to 68 communities and organizations that will distribute them locally for free this spring and summer. (A full list of this year’s winning communities and organizations is below.)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds the program and the state’s Highway Safety Division distributes the helmets to the local entities.

Last year, around 14,500 helmets were awarded to 157 communities and organizations statewide. In 2009, more than 8,000 helmets were given to 86 communities and organizations. And, in 2008, around 26,500 helmets were given to 271 communities and organizations in the state.

But, significant drops in funding reduced this year’s available helmet output in Massachusetts, which has participated in the program for the past decade, said state public safety and security department spokesman Terrel Harris.

He said the state does not view the situation with a “glass half-empty” outlook, but rather, “we’re thankful for the funding to provide the helmets that we can provide.”

According to the state Highway Safety Division, “A bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of serious head and brain injury by as much as 90 percent. [And] according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 91 percent of bicyclists killed in 2008 were not wearing helmets.”

Allston and Brighton residents or business owners that are MassHealth eligible and need a helmet for themselves or their MassHealth eligible dependent can contact A-Bbikes at ABbikes@gmail.com or Commonwheels at admin@Commonwheels.org to make an appointment for a fitting.

"We are pleased to receive these helmets to enhance our bicycle safety efforts in Allston-Brighton," Galen Mook of A-Bbikes, who is also the founder of the Commonwheels Bicycle Co-op in Allston, said in the announcement. “The helmets will be distributed at no cost in our community.”

"We hope to see more young riders rolling through Allston-Brighton wearing helmets,” Mook continued. “Some of the helmets we distribute will be decorated by local Allston artists, adding a bit of color and style to our streets."

State law requires anyone 16 years old or younger operating a bicycle or other “manually-propelled wheeled vehicle,” such as in-line skates, a skate board or scooter, on a public way or bicycle path to wear a “properly fitted and fastened helmet.” The helmet rule also applies if someone from that age subset is riding as a passenger on any “manually-propelled wheeled vehicle,” according to the state Highway Safety Division.

For more information on the helmet law and bike safety tips, visit www.mass.gov/highwaysafety.

Massachusetts' 2011 bicycle helmet grant recipients:

Andover Police Department, 48 helmets received
Arlington Police Department, 48 helmets received
Attleboro Police Department, 48 helmets received
Ayer Police Department, 38 helmets received
Blackstone Police Department, 38 helmets received
Boston Society of Vulcans, 58 helmets received
Boxborough Police Department, 38 helmets received
Brewster Police Department, 38 helmets received
Cambridge Police Department, 58 helmets received
Chelmsford Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, 48 helmets received
Chelmsford Police Department, 48 helmets received
Chelsea Police Department, 48 helmets received
Chicopee Fire Department, 48 helmets received
Danvers Police Department, 48 helmets received
Dedham Police Department, 38 helmets received
Dennis Police Department, 38 helmets received
Duxbury Police Department, 38 helmets received
Eastham Police Department, 38 helmets received
Fairhaven Police Department, 38 helmets received
Granby Police Department, 38 helmets received
Groton Fire Department, 38 helmets received
Groton Police Department, 38 helmets received
Hamilton Police Department, 38 helmets received
Holliston Fire Department, 38 helmets received
Holliston Police Department, 38 helmets received
Holyoke Fire Department, 48 helmets received
Leominster Police Department, 48 helmets received
Lunenburg Police Department, 38 helmets received
Lynn Police Department, 58 helmets received
Manchester Police Department, 38 helmets received
Mansfield Police Department, 38 helmets received
Marlborough Police Department, 48 helmets received
Melrose Police Department, 48 helmets received
Milford Police Department, 48 helmets received
Millville Police Department, 38 helmets received
Milton Police Department, 48 helmets received
Nahant Police Department, 38 helmets received
New Bedford Police Department, 58 helmets received
Newburyport Police Department, 38 helmets received
Northbridge Police Department, 38 helmets received
Northfield Police Department, 38 helmets received
Norton Police Department, 38 helmets received
Orleans Police Department, 38 helmets received
Parents & Community Build Group, Inc., Allston, 48 helmets received
Peabody Police Department, 48 helmets received
Pepperell Police Department, 38 helmets received
Petersham Police Department, 38 helmets received
Plymouth Police Department, 48 helmets received
Quincy Police Department, 58 helmets received
Reading Police Department, 38 helmets received
Revere Police Department, 48 helmets received
Rochester Police Department, 38 helmets received
Salem State University Police Department, 38 helmets received
Salisbury Police Department, 38 helmets received
Shirley Police Department, 38 helmets received
Sturbridge Police Department, 38 helmets received
Swampscott Police Department, 38 helmets received
Tewksbury Police Department, 48 helmets received
Tisbury Police Department, 38 helmets received
Topsfield Fire Department, 38 helmets received
Topsfield Police Department, 38 helmets received
Trips for Kids New Bedford, Inc., 58 helmets received
UMass Medical School, Worcester, 58 helmets received
Uxbridge Police Department, 38 helmets received
Wareham Police Department, 38 helmets received
West Newbury Police Department, 38 helmets received
Westford Police Department, 38 helmets received
Whitman Fire Rescue, 38 helmets received

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