Student biking

Lees-McRae Outdoor Programs will provide helmets to children in need thanks to NCDOT grant

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has chosen Lees-McRae Outdoor Programs as partner in their Bicycle Helmet InitiativeThe college will receive 25 helmets to give away at the next children’s bike safety clinic and rodeo.   

Since 2007, NCDOT uses proceeds from the state’s “Share the Road” specialty license plate to distribute children’s bicycle helmets. According to NCDOT, 50% of children don’t wear helmets while riding bikes and bicycle-related injuries are responsible for more emergency room visits for children between the ages of 5 and 14 than any other sport or recreational activity.  

The Bicycle Helmet Initiative allows NCDOT to work with various organizations to help more children get access to helmets, which drastically reduce the risk of severe brain injury due to bike accidents. Outdoor Programs was one of the organizations selected, alongside police and fire departments, school districts, and non-profit organizations.  

“I thought it would be a shot in the dark since as a college we would be competing with tons of non-profits around the state,” said Deana Acklin, coordinator for Outdoor Programs. “But I am so happy that we will have 25 helmets to give away.” 

Enough funds from the “Share the Road” license plate were raised to provide helmets to 11,850 children in 2021. Outdoor Programs will be distributing their 25 helmets later in the year.  

Being chosen to participate in the Bike Helmet Initiative demonstrates the level of commitment Lees-McRae has for promoting cycling and raising awareness of safe cycling behaviors. As part of that commitment, the college has dedicated March 2021 as Bike Month on campus, sponsored by C.R.A.N.K Crew, the first bike advocacy group at Lees-McRae.  

Throughout the month, students can attend bike clinics to learn more about proper bicycle care and cycling best practices and participate in fun activities like on-campus bike races and a slow roll through the nearby town of Banner Elk 

Lees-McRae has also been designated a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists.  

For more information about cycling safety and the efforts of Lees-McRae on behalf of cycling advocacy, visit the Lees-McRae Outdoor Programs webpage.

By Emily WebbMarch 12, 2021
Campus LifeCommunity