Stewart's Shops Brings Back Summer Bike Safety Program

Kids who wear helmets while cycling may receive tickets for free ice cream.
Stewart's Shops

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Stewart's Shops is rewarding kids with free ice cream scoops for biking safely this summer.

For the 24th consecutive year, New York Sen. Jim Tedisco's Safe Summer Program will distribute 5,000 "good tickets" for free ice cream cones courtesy of Stewart's Shops. Law enforcement agencies will offer the coupons as rewards to children they see practicing safety rules. 

"It’s summer time and for many children, that means enjoying two things: ice cream and biking," said Sen. Tedisco."We want to encourage children, as well as adults, to be safe when they recreate, and I can't think of a better way to do that than by offering kids a free ice cream cone for doing the right thing and wearing a bike helmet. My Safe Summer Program is a true community partnership among businesses, law enforcement, government and parents, and it’s a model for how caring people can come together and promote a fun and safe environment for children."

"Coupling free ice cream, free helmets and education with law enforcement is a formula that works to keep kids safe. Safe Summer also provides positive interactions between law enforcement and kids, which is something that we need now, more than ever," Tedisco added.

Under New York State law, children up to age 14 must wear a bicycle helmet, or parents could face a $50 fine. According to the New York State Department of Health, bicycle-related incidents are the number one cause of head injuries in children in New York State.

The price of a bicycle helmet is about $20, while the average charge for a hospital stay due to a bicycle-related brain injury is $23,000, with an average length of stay of four days, Stewart's noted on its website. In New York, annual hospitalization charges related to care for people with a bike-related brain injury total $20 million.

Tedisco's Safe Summer Program aims to address these alarming statistics by using positive reinforcement to get all neighborhood kids into the habit of wearing their helmets for safe biking, in-line skating or riding a skateboard or scooter.

"The safety of our children is priority number one," said said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo. "The Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program allows us to pass on simple, yet effective ways to teach kids how to safely handle their bicycles, scooters, and skateboards in a fun atmosphere. I want to thank Tedisco for his leadership in offering this program to help protect our kids each and every year,"

Participating police departments include Saratoga County Sheriff, Schenectady County Sheriff, Fulton County Sheriff, Hamilton County Sheriff, Herkimer County Sheriff, Ballston Spa Police, Broadalbin Police, Clifton Park Town Security, Glenville Police, Gloversville Police, Mechanicville Police, Inlet Police, Johnstown Police, Niskayuna Police, Northville Police, Rensselaer Police, Rotterdam Police, Saratoga Springs Police, City of Schenectady Police, Scotia Police, South Glens Falls Police, Stillwater Police, Waterford Police, and Webb Police.

Stewart's Shops isn't the only retailer to tap into summer safety programs. For the 27th consecutive year, 7-Eleven's Operation Chill program allows kids to earn free Slurpee coupons for performing positive acts in their communities.

Based in Saratoga Springs, Stewart's Shops operates more than 350 c-stores across upstate New York and southern Vermont.