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Police target cyclists

SARAH MOYES
Last updated 05:00 15/12/2010
Police
Sarah Moyes
SAFETY FIRST: Constable Damien DeCourcy talking to 16-year-old Augustino about bike safety. Augustino was lucky to be let off with a warning, but from now on police will be issuing tickets to all cyclists without a helmet

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Leaving your helmet at home will no longer be an excuse for those riding a bike in the eastern suburbs.

Glen Innes police are cracking down on the number of people riding without helmets in an attempt to make cycling safer.

Both children and adults will be stopped if they aren't wearing one and will be issued with a ticket.

"A helmet is just a part of the cumulative risk prevention strategy – everything you do on a bike just makes you safer," Glen Innes sergeant David Mead says.

Tickets are $55, but if the cyclist can prove they've bought a helmet within 14 days the fine is waived.

"While we have stopped them we will talk to them about cycle safety.

"We will test their bikes," he says.

Mr Mead says police will talk to cyclists about wearing visible clothing and having reflectors and lights on their bikes.

The East & Bays Courier went out with the police last week to see first-hand the number of people without helmets.

In half an hour five cyclists were spotted and four were not wearing one.

One of the cyclists, Glen Innes resident Augustino, says he couldn't afford a helmet.

The 16-year-old's bike had no working brakes, making it a potential death trap for himself and possibly endangering pedestrians on the footpath.

It also lacked lights and reflectors and he sometimes cycles in the dark.

Although Augustino was lucky enough to be let off with a warning this time, Mr Mead says warnings don't work.

He says if children get a ticket they go to their parents, who will ensure they wear a helmet from then on to avoid getting another ticket from the police.

Augustino says he will try to get his bike fixed and then buy a helmet.

He says he would never let his younger brothers and sisters ride the bike because it was too dangerous.

"I need to take care of my little brothers and sisters," he says.

Glen Innes police will particularly be focusing on the helmet operation over the school holidays.

"If you're not wearing a helmet you will get issued a ticket," Mr Mead says.

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- East And Bays Courier

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