Grant to provide free bicycle helmets to Walla Walla kids | Health & Fitness

Brain bucket. Steel pot. Bump cap. Whatever one dubs it, a helmet helps protect the brain and head from injury when cycling, climbing, horse riding, skiing, skate boarding, working construction and serving in combat.

Just looking at brain injuries statistics from bicycling is sobering.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a majority of the 80,000 cycling-related head injuries treated in emergency rooms each year are brain injuries. Head injuries accounted for 62.6% of bicycle fatalities, reports.

Walla Walla Police Department Administrative Sgt. Gunner Fulmer reports the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs awarded Walla Walla a $500 grant for bicycle helmets for kids.

“There are some bicycle rodeos in the works for kids this spring where bicycle helmets will be given out,” Fulmer said in a release. More details will be forthcoming about the events, he said.

Steve Strachan, with the WASPC, said 13 communities in the state will receive grants for local law enforcement to provide free bike and skateboard helmets. The funds are part of a program approved by the Washington Legislature in 2021.

“The funds will help local law enforcement agencies with helmet distribution programs in order to reduce traumatic brain injuries throughout the state,” Strachan said in a release.

“The funds are to provide helmets to persons contacted by an official of a local law enforcement agency for not wearing a helmet while riding a skateboard or bicycle.”

Interest in the grants exceeded the $10,000 legislative allocation, which indicates the need for the program, Strachan said.

“Traumatic brain injuries are oftentimes the tragic aftermath of not wearing a helmet,” said Rep. Dan Griffey, (R-Allyn) in the release. Griffey secured state funding for the program.

“A parent reached out to me after his own son suffered a debilitating brain injury during a skateboarding event. This program is a serious attempt to encourage everyone to wear helmets starting with our youth.

“It is also a great opportunity for our first responders to interact with kiddos in our communities and build positive relationships that can last a lifetime.”

Annie Charnley Eveland is a retired newspaper editor and journalist. A freelance writer, she produces the weekly Etcetera column Sundays in the Union-Bulletin. Send news with contact name and daytime phone number to

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