Three-year-old Carter got an ice cream “ticket” from Deputy James Goodwin for wearing his bicycle helmet. (WETM photos)

Chemung County is in the national news, and it’s good news! I am always happy to see the Twin Tiers get some positive news – and share a great idea to educate young bicyclists AND their parents.

Chemung County sheriff’s deputies are “ticketing” children 14 years old and younger who are riding their bikes after noticing many children riding bikes without helmets.

But it’s not the helmet-less kids getting the “tickets,” it’s the kids with helmets – they are getting free tickets for ice cream if they are wearing approved helmets while riding.

The sheriff’s office and other local law enforcement agencies are teaming up with the Southern Tier Bicycle League (STBL) on this great idea, and I hope because it’s on the CNN website, more police departments across the country start giving out ice cream tickets, too.

Kent Goben, chairman of STBL, said the drive has been a success. “There’s nothing like seeing the kids do a mad dash on their bicycles to get over to the officers and get the coupons,” he told CNN.

In June, Goben and STBL handed out free helmets to kids and adults at the Eastside Farmers Market in Elmira. “We are pushing parents and seniors to set good examples, to be there, to show them how important it is to be wearing a helmet,” he told the news media.

A reminder for parents: New York State requires all bicyclists under 14 to wear a helmet, and parents and guardians can be fined if children don’t comply.  As a NY bike crash lawyer, I know all to well how important a helmet can be to protect bicycle riders so I recommend ALL bicyclists wear bike helmets at all times.  Better safe than sorry!

If you need information on buying a helmet, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a great two-page tip sheet on helmets here.

Consumer Reports also has a comprehensive buying guide that includes a three-step checklist for ensuring the right fit while in the store (and I recommend buying in a local store like Kingsbury’s in downtown Elmira):

  • The helmet should fit snugly but not uncomfortably, with your head partially compressing the soft foam pads inside—even before the straps are tightened.
  • Select the size that fits as closely as possible without being uncomfortably tight. Then use the sizing pads, if provided, to fine-tune the fit.
  • Check in the mirror to be sure the straps form a V under and slightly forward of each earlobe.

And remember — bike helmets save lives and should be used by riders of all ages!

Thanks for reading,


Jim Reed
Managing Partner
Best Lawyers’ “2015 & 2017 & 2019 Lawyer of the Year”
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
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