GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Two hundred children will receive a new bike helmet at no cost this week when the Grand Rapids Griffins and Safe Kids Greater Grand Rapids host a pair of events to kick off the 14th summer of the Griffins’ “Put A Lid On It!” (PALOI) bike helmet safety program.
The fun begins with the 10th annual “Lids at the Library,” a two-day event held at branches of the Grand Rapids Public Library and the Kent District Library. KDL’s Krause Memorial Branch in Rockford (140 E. Bridge St. NE) will be the site on Wednesday, June 28 at 2 p.m., while GRPL’s Madison Square Branch (1201 Madison Ave. SE) will host the event on Thursday, June 29 at 2 p.m.
Volunteers from the Griffins, Safe Kids and program sponsors will be on hand to properly fit these free helmets for the first 100 kids at each location. Helmets will be distributed to kids ages 1-12 (subject to availability), and a parent or legal guardian must be present for a child to receive a helmet. Griff will be on hand to entertain patrons, and a variety of information from the Griffins and Safe Kids will be available for pickup.
“Lids at the Library” is the centerpiece event of the Griffins’ award-winning PALOI program, which is presented by Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Since the program’s founding in 2004, the Griffins have worked with numerous local organizations – including police departments, pediatricians, schools, libraries, bike shops and sporting goods stores – to encourage helmet usage during wheeled sports, prevent head injuries, and reward kids who wear their helmets.
This summer, the Griffins are proud to welcome the support of pro cyclist and Rockford, Mich., native Brent Bookwalter, whose image is featured on the program’s new poster and t-shirt. Bookwalter, who finished second at the USA Cycling Time Trial National Championships last weekend, is a four-time Tour de France participant who represented the United States at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I'm honored to team up with the Grand Rapids Griffins and ‘Put A Lid On It’ to remind everyone who rides a bike about the importance of wearing a helmet every single time we ride,” said Bookwalter. “Some of my favorite riding memories are from growing up in West Michigan and learning to ride through the roads, trails and parks of the area. Always wearing my helmet allowed me to enjoy and focus on the joys of two wheels when I was a kid, and it’s still an important part of my riding routine today as I race and train around the world.”
The posters and t-shirts juxtapose an image of a racing Bookwalter against Griff on a tricycle, making the point that helmet usage is for all ages, all sizes and all abilities of riders.
PALOI targets elementary and middle school students in a seven-county region of West Michigan. Children age 17 or younger who visit griffinshockey.com/putalidonit with parental permission and sign a pledge to always wear their helmet will be rewarded with a voucher for two free tickets to a 2017-18 Griffins game and be automatically registered for a drawing to win a new bike.
In addition to promoting helmet safety at local bike races, rides and community events throughout the summer, 2017 PALOI posters will soon be displayed and distributed by hundreds of schools, libraries, medical offices and businesses throughout West Michigan. The Griffins will also provide their annual grant to Safe Kids, enabling that organization to purchase approximately 100 additional bike helmets and distribute them through its programs and events.
Information for parents, including tips for choosing a helmet and getting their child to wear it, is available at griffinshockey.com/putalidonit. For more information about the program, call (616) 774-4585 ext. 3046.
The “Put A Lid On It!” program is supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Centennial Securities, Huntington, Safe Kids Greater Grand Rapids, and Your Space Self Storage.