Sen. Tedisco Secures $25,000 State Grant for Southern Saratoga Co. YMCA, Joins Supervisor Barrett, Sheriff Zurlo, County Clerk Hayner to Kick-off Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program to Encourage Kids to Wear Helmets

James Tedisco

June 26, 2018

State Senator scoops free ice cream to launch Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program at Southern Saratoga YMCA Summer Camp with Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, Stewart’s Shops, Friendly’s, Hayner’s Ice Cream Hall of Fame & Ben & Jerry’s to incentivize kids

Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) today announced a new $25,000 state grant he has secured for the Southern Saratoga County YMCA’s Youth in Government Program and he also joined law enforcement, local officials and businesses to kick-off his 2018 Safe Summer Bike Helmet program.

This is the 21st year of Senator Tedisco’s public safety program, and to celebrate, he led the Southern Saratoga County YMCA’s summer camp attendees in a bike ride and then scooped free ice cream cones donated by Stewart’s Shops.

This year’s Safe Summer Program will distribute 5,000 “good tickets” for free ice cream cones to reward children who wear their helmets while bicycling, skateboarding, and rollerblading, and give free bike helmets to kids who need one. 

Tedisco’s program uses positive reinforcement to get all neighborhood kids into the habit of wearing their helmets for safe biking and promotes positive interactions between children and law enforcement.  The Safe Summer program is made possible thanks to donations from participating businesses:Stewart’s Shops, Friendly’s, Hayner’s Ice Cream Hall of Fame in Halfmoon and Ben & Jerry’s.  The law firm of Martin, Harding and Mazzotti LLP is donating hundreds of new bike helmets to police departments in the 49th Senate District to distribute to children who need them. 

The bullet aid state grant obtained in the state budget by Senator Tedisco will help support the Southern Saratoga County YMCA’s Youth in Government Program which encourages high school students to learn about and get involved in our local, state and federal government.

“I was proud to be able to secure a $25,000 state grant in the budget for the Southern Saratoga County YMCA in Clifton Park to help support our future leaders as part of the Y’s Youth in Government Program so they can have a wonderful educational experience and be engaged in our representative democracy,” said Senator Tedisco.

After presenting a ceremonial check to the Southern Saratoga YMCA, Tedisco officially launched the 2018 Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program.

“Summer is the season for kids to have fun but we can’t ever forget that they need to keep safety in mind.  I want children to enjoy the summer but I also want them to be safe when they’re riding their bicycles. My Safe Summer program reminds kids to wear their helmets while rewarding good behavior with coupons for free ice cream,” said Senator Tedisco. “This program is a true community partnership among businesses, law enforcement, government and parents and it’s truly a model for how caring people can come together and promote a fun and safe environment for children. Safe Summer also provides positive interactions between law enforcement and kids.”

It’s the law in New York State that children up to age 14 must wear a bicycle helmet or parents could face $50 fine. According to the New York State Department of Health, an average of 54 New Yorkers are killed each year in bicycle crashes and 19,000 residents are treated at a hospital due to bike-related injuries.  Head injuries are the leading cause of death and permanent disability in bicycle crashes, accounting for more than 60 percent of bike-related deaths. The cost of a bicycle helmet is approximately $20.00. The average charge for a hospital stay due to a bicycle related brain injury is $23,000 with an average length of stay of four days. In New York, annual hospitalization charges related to care for persons with a bicycle related brain injury is $20 million.

The Safe Summer Program aims to address these alarming statistics by using positive reinforcement to get all neighborhood kids into the habit of wearing their helmets for safe biking, in-line skating, or riding a skateboard or scooter. 

“Thank you to Senator Tedisco for securing this state grant to help support our Youth in Government program to engage high school students we serve in civics and connecting with and learning about their local, state, and federal government.  I also want to thank Senator Tedisco, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, Stewart’s and all the sponsors for offering the Safe Summer program to the children attending our summer camp program at the Southern Saratoga County YMCA. The Southern Saratoga YMCA serves over 500 children daily in our afterschool program and 350 children daily in our summer camp program; safety is one of our top priorities.  The Safe Summer program is a fun way to remind children to be safe this summer and wear their helmets when riding their bikes,” said Sarah Heslin, Executive Director of the Southern Saratoga County YMCA.

“The Town of Clifton Park commends Senator Tedisco for bringing additional attention to this very important topic for the youth in our community and helping our Town Security promote bike helmet safety,” said Phil Barrett, Clifton Park Town Supervisor. “Taking simple precautions to be safe, while enjoying the summer is an ongoing educational effort that benefits children in Clifton Park and every community.”

“The safety of our children is priority number one. The Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program allows us to pass on simple, yet effective ways to teach kids how to safely handle their bicycles in a fun atmosphere. I want to thank Senator Tedisco for his leadership in offering this program to help protect our kids each and every year,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo.

“Senator Tedisco's Safe Summer kickoff program is a fun event that reminds children about the importance of wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle this summer. With school now in summer recess, motorists should be especially mindful to slow down and anticipate children and adults riding their bikes along and near our busy roadways. Many thanks to Senator Tedisco for putting together this important educational event,” said Saratoga County Clerk Craig Hayner which oversees the Saratoga County Department of Motor Vehicle Offices. He, along with his wife Carolyn are owners of Hayner’s Ice Cream Hall of Fame in Halfmoon, NY. 

“At Stewart’s Shops, we want kids to have fun, but we also want them to be safe! And what’s more fun than ice cream in the summer? We are proud to partner with the Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program to reward kids with ice cream for wearing their helmets while riding their bikes,” said Erica Komoroske, Stewart’s Shops spokesperson.

“Martin, Harding & Mazzotti LLP is once again proud to partner with New York State Senator Jim Tedisco and his Safe Summer Bike Helmet Safety Program. Working together, we can make a difference and hopefully prevent head injuries by offering free helmets to those who need one,” said Daniel P. Dagostino, Supervising Attorney.

Participating police departments that will distribute free ice cream coupons and bike helmets to kids include: Saratoga County Sheriff, Schenectady County Sheriff, Fulton County Sheriff, Hamilton County Sheriff, Herkimer County Sheriff, Glenville Police, Clifton Park Town Security, Saratoga Springs Police, Ballston Spa Police, Scotia Police, Stillwater Police, City of Schenectady Police, Niskayuna Police, Rotterdam Police, Gloversville Police, and Johnstown Police.