RALEIGH, NC (WAVY) – The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is encouraging more children to wear helmets while cycling through its annual Bicycle Helmet Initiative.

As part of the initiative, the NCDOT will provide free helmets to organizations across the state to distribute to young cyclists.

According to Ryan Brumfield, director of the NCDOT’s Integrated Mobility Division, “wearing a helmet is an easy way to reduce the risk of head injuries when riding a bicycle.” Research supports this claim, showing that bicycle helmets can prevent up to 60% of head injury deaths and reduce the risk of head injuries by up to 85%. Despite these benefits, less than half of all children currently wear a helmet when cycling.

The NCDOT’s Bicycle Helmet Initiative, which began in 2007, aims to raise awareness about the importance of safe biking practices and reduce the number of bicycle-related injuries. In the last five years alone, the program has provided over 45,000 free bike helmets, including nearly 20,000 helmets given to over 260 organizations in 2022.

Organizations interested in participating in the initiative can apply online with the NCDOT’s Integrated Mobility Division. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on February 3. Applicants can request between 25 and 100 helmets, and awardees will receive the helmet in the spring.

The initiative is funded through the sales of the “Share the Road” specialty license plate.

Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.