Editor's Note: Due to poor weather in the forecast, this event has been moved from the street to inside The Newton Bicycle Shop at 131 W 6th St.
There was a phone call that really disturbed a member of the Newton Police Department, one from firefighter Aaron Wald of the Newton Fire/EMS department.
Wald had worked a bicycle accident, one with head trauma for a child who was not wearing a bike helmet. It bothered him, and he called Jon Adkins, a school resource officer.
That bothered Adkins as well. He got to work — securing a $1,000 grant from Wal-Mart to purchase bicycle helmets. Once the money was in hand, Adkins went and talked to James and Heather Barringer, owners of the Newton Bike Shop in the 100 block of West Sixth.
The grant bought 80 helmets, helmets that will be given away to children who need them.
“Younger kids are not as adept at staying on their bike, and they do fall. This protects them,” Heather Barringer said.
Those helmets will be part of an event at the store, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 19, for kids to not only get their helmet but have members of the Healthy Harvey Coalition find the right fit for each child.
“This is about safety,” Adkins said. “Motorcycles and bikes, to me, are the most vulnerable people on the road. Both should wear helmets. We'll have all sizes of helmets, and we should have a helmet to fit them.”
The bike shop will take a look at kids bicycles — making sure they are safe and ready for the summer season — free of charge.
“We are going to safety check all the bicycles,” James Barringer said. “We'll check for tire inflation, bolt tightening and things that parents often overlook. They don't mean to, they just don't notice it. This is appropriate in timing because kids are getting ready to be out of school, and bicycles mean this: get out of the house. I want to make sure that when each of those kids go outside to jump on their bike that one, their noggin is safe and that the bike they are riding is safe.”
He said the shop will recommend repairs if they see one needed, and those would be charged for. However, the basic safety check will be free.
“I did a bike rodeo in town and was pretty shocked at how many bikes were not safe, just because things were not tightened up and they probably left the department store like that,” James Barringer said. “Seats falling backwards and with children falling off bicycles, they need helmets. … Please bring us their bikes to let them look at them.”