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Ryan Carter With hopes of increasing awareness...

Ryan Carter

With hopes of increasing awareness of a new statewide helmet law

for skateboarders, skaters and scooter enthusiasts, police are

rewarding young helmet-wearers with free scoops of ice cream.

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For the next few weeks, traffic officers are handing out

Baskin-Robbins ice cream coupons for those who comply with the law.

But after that, watch out.

“We plan aggressive enforcement of the new [helmet] law,” Sgt. Ron

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Caruso said.

The new law, which went into effect at the beginning of this year,

requires anyone younger than 18 to wear a helmet while riding a

nonmotorized scooter, skateboard and in-line or roller skates.

Previously, helmets were required only for youngsters on bicycles and

motorized scooters.

The first citation by police requires a court appearance for

dismissal, but a second infraction could bring a $25 fine, and

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parents could also be fined.

“By giving out the coupons, we hope to reward young people that

are wearing the helmets,” Caruso said. “In doing so, we hope to bring

a higher level of compliance.”

So far, officers have not seen much compliance. Since Jan. 1, they

have cited some violators, but held back on most because they want to

give people a chance to learn about the law.

“There has not been aggressive enforcement of the law yet, but

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that is eminent,” Caruso said, adding that aggressive enforcement

could come later this month.

The ice cream idea was born when Officer Mike Vail suggested it

and Officer Timothy Dyrness followed up by contacting Baskin Robbins.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea for kids,” said Baskin-Robbins

manager Varuzh Tirityan, who decided to support the program by

allowing coupon recipients to come to his store at 1201 S. Victory

Blvd. for free ice cream. “If they are following the law, they should

be rewarded.”

Caruso said bicycle accidents are more common here than skateboard

incidents, but officers want to prevent as many types of accidents as

possible. Caruso said nationwide, 50,000 injuries a year involve

skateboarders.

When the skate park recently opened at Valley Park, the Burbank

Police Officers Assn. purchased $300 worth of helmets and gave them

away in raffles, Sgt. John Dilibert said.


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