Middle school bike riders get warnings, free helmets as part of - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Middle school bike riders get warnings, free helmets as part of safety program

Photo Courtesy: Duane Ikeda Photo Courtesy: Duane Ikeda
Photo Courtesy: Duane Ikeda Photo Courtesy: Duane Ikeda
EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

By Kristine Tofte

Students riding their bike to Ewa Makai Middle School were in for a surprise Friday morning.

Honolulu police officers were handed out warning citations -- and free helmets -- to kids who weren't wearing them.

The students who were wearing helmets got a coupon for free ice cream.

The helmets were donated by the Queen's Medical Center and the Hawaii Department of Health's Neurotrauma Support Services.

The program to give young bikers helmets is called "Operation Brain Freeze,” and it was started by a concerned parent, who is also a ER nurse.

The parent called Queen's and asked the hospital for a donation of helmets.

Together with the school they formed a partnership with HPD's District 8 Ewa Beach Weed and Seed, Hawaii Bicycling League, DOH Neurotrauma Support Services, and a new ice cream company, BRIO.

There have been similar programs on the Mainland, which have had success increasing helmet usage and decreasing traumatic brain injuries. 

"Operation Brain Freeze" organizers said every morning 250 Ewa Makai Middle School students ride their bike or skateboard to school.

The nearest bus route ends about one mile away from the school, and there is no bike path. The students must ride their bikes on a narrow sidewalk and on busy, congested roadways.

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