Community bike ride on World Car Free Day highlighted importance of wearing helmets

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City of Ottawa

Councillor David Chernushenko, a Board of Health member, and Dr. Vera Etches, Associate Medical Officer of Health, were joined by members of the community on Saturday, September 22, 2012 for a bike ride starting at Brewer Park in celebration of World Car Free Day and to kick off Adopt a Helmet Week, which runs from September 24 to 30.

"As a member of the Board of Health and a frequent cyclist, I am pleased to see so many retailers team up with Ottawa Public Health to make helmets more accessible," said Councillor Chernushenko. "What better way to showcase the benefits of active transportation and proper protective gear then a beautiful ride on World Car Free Day."

During Adopt a Helmet Week, Ottawa Public Health will partner with local retailers to offer discounts of 20 per cent or more on helmets of all kinds. The week was fittingly launched at an event hosted by Councillor Chernushenko to mark World Car Free Day, a global event that promotes and encourages active transportation and the benefits of an active lifestyle. Bike safety tune-ups and helmet education were done prior to the three or five-kilometre community bicycle ride through Old Ottawa South and Ottawa East. Community members had a choice to ride to a local farmer's market to access fresh local food, or take part in a newcomers ride designed for Carleton University students and newcomers to discover their new neighbourhood.

"Every year, approximately 5,700 children and youth under the age of 20 visit Ottawa emergency rooms for head injuries," said Dr. Etches. "By working with our partners to increase the accessibility of helmets, we are taking a community approach to promoting a life-saving tool that should be worn whether you are a leisure rider or use active means of transportation to commute on a daily basis."

For more information on discounts, choosing the correct helmet, and to read the Adopt a Helmet Week blog, visit: adoptahelmet.com, ottawa.ca/health or call 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656).