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Ohio Kids Promote Helmet Safety

Summary: A group of kids from Dublin, Ohio mounted a bike helmet safety campaign in 2010. Their techniques and actions went well beyond the traditional helmet promotion activity.

From: Julie Pollard, Dublin, Ohio

I contacted you last fall when my team of home schooled students was researching bicycle safety. We had a terrific year and I want to share some of the kids' accomplishments with you. Using data from BHSI, IIHS, CPSC and various other cycling organizations, the kids wrote a skit on bike safety and presented it to several local groups. They interviewed members of the Ohio Bike Federation and the president of Consider Biking, Jeff Stephens. The kids had vehicular cycling lessons from a local instructor from League of American Bicyclists. Locally, they conducted surveys, observations, and experiments, including watermelon drops at the local fire station. They also used the jello brain mold sold through BHSI for a demonstration. They got involved with Ohio legislation and wrote testimony to support the 3 foot passing law, proposed by Senator Fedor from Toledo, Ohio. They also made a PSA on cycling laws and fatality statistics. Our city has a Bike Advisory Task Force, which is working on making our city more bicycle friendly. The kids worked alongside this task force and eventually gave a 15 minute presentation to our city council on their research, data, and recommendations for the city.

It was about this time last fall, when the kids realized that they were riding their bikes illegally at dusk. They saw neighbors on their bikes getting caught in the dark after the time changed, in Oct., and they came up with a clever innovation. They built a solar-powered LED lit bike helmet. It has 2 white LED lights on the front, and a red blinking light on the back. Both lights are visible at 600 feet. The solar panel charges the batteries and the lights can be turned on and off with a toggle switch.

Two of our kids, my son Zach (12), and teammate Bryce (11), took the helmet to the local Invention Convention in March, and won 2nd place. In May, they competed at the Columbus Regional Invention Convention and won the Edison Award for 1st Place. They won prizes including a $2500 scholarship. Recently, they were invited to participate in a young inventors program, which will provide them with resources and professional mentors to help them take their invention to the next level--a patent. They will also be entering national level contests.

I wanted to share this with you because BHSI had a big impact on our research. We started with your website and continued to reference the site as a springboard for more information. When we looked at the descriptions of the newest helmets from InterBike, and the kids were inspired that someday their helmet idea would be presented there. That may be a reality! Thank you for getting involved with our kids. We are considering a trip to Washington DC in October to attend the First Annual USA Science and Engineering Festival. If we attend, the kids would appreciate the chance to meet with you and show you the helmet.

Thanks again for your support,

Julie Pollard
Emily, Zach, Brandon, and Bryce
Dublin. Ohio
September 17, 2010