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200 Helmets Donated for Kid Bicycle Safety

The Press Democrat | March 23, 1999

Santa Rosa, CA - Santa Rosa police and firefighters will soon start a program to put bicycle helmets on the heads of kids who are breaking the law by riding without protective headgear.

About 200 helmets sized for children and teens have been purchased by TrafficSchoolOnline.com, a Santa Rosa company that operates driver education courses via the Internet, and were donated to the public safety departments.

Steve Soldis, owner of the online traffic school, said he initiated the program and hopes to get large stores like Target or Toys R Us involved in donating more equipment. Soldis bought the helmets for about $25 and recently presented them to police and fire officials during ceremonies at Doyle Park Elementary School.

Soldis said he got the idea for the "helmets for kids" program from his brother Joe Soldis, a Sebastopol officer who noticed that many bike-riding children without helmets said they could not afford to buy them.

State law requiring cyclists under 18 to wear helmets went into effect in 1994, but local police departments did not start issuing tickets for compliance failure until 1995.

Last week, child safety advocates announced that the helmet safety law was credited with a 31 percent decline in deaths and a 28 percent drop in injuries among cyclists under 15.

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