Heads will be getting more attention than usual from the Oak Bay Police Department, as the force launches its new program to encourage cyclists to protect their noggins.
Operation Headstart has been developed to “get helmets on heads,” as officers give young riders who don’t own or wear bike helmets a chance to buy one in lieu of receiving a violation ticket for riding without a helmet.
Two Oak Bay retailers have partnered with the police in offering a 10 per cent discount on bike helmets purchased at their stores. Oak Bay Bicycles at 1990 Oak Bay Ave. and Oak Bay Home Hardware at 1911 Oak Bay Ave. have both offered to participate in the program.
“The primary goal is to promote and enforce bike safety, not just penalize people for breaking the law,” said Const. Rick Anthony. “We would much rather have safe cyclists than someone just paying a fine and likely still continuing to ride without a helmet.”
Police will be targeting cyclists who are not wearing bike helmets, as required by law. With Operation Headstart, if cyclists state they don’t own a helmet, they will be offered the opportunity to participate in this helmet purchase in exchange for a ticket, and be directed to the participating retailers.
The cyclist can purchase a helmet at any store of their choice, but the discount at the local retailers is an added incentive to participate, said Anthony.
“This is an excellent initiative by Const. Anthony and two of our local retailers to enhance community safety,” said Chief Const. Mark Fisher. “As police officers, we see how some significant head injuries and concussions can be avoided by strapping on a helmet before heading out.”