A new school policy requires students who cycle to Cloverly Elementary School to wear helmets or leave their bikes home.
The pilot safety program may be a preview of things to come for schools, with Gov. Pete Wilson poised to sign a law requiring all child cyclists to wear a helmet. The law, if signed, will take effect Jan. 1.
"Cloverly Elementary implemented the program because parents and staff had expressed strong concerns about the safety of the children," said Temple City Unified School District Superintendent Clinton Taylor.
Taylor said the program may be expanded to other district schools pending its success during the first few days at Cloverly. Only two of more than 70 children who cycled to the school Tuesday did not have helmets. The elementary school has 440 students, school officials said.
"We tried telling kids to wear helmets last year and nothing was working so we put a little muscle in it," said Cloverly Principal Amy Shields.
Shields said she calls the parents of those who cycle to school without a helmet and tells them they cannot bring their bikes. All the children who cycle will have helmets by Friday, she predicted.
To make it as easy as possible for parents, Shields arranged for Cloverly students to get large discounts at K mart and Temple City Bike Shop on helmets. She even bought one for a student. "You can get one for as little as $14," she said.