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Helmets for young riders to protect their noggins

Jolene Clarke, 7, and fellow students at Meadows West School received bicycle helmets and instruction on how to wear them Tuesday.

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Jolene Clarke, 7, and fellow students at Meadows West School received bicycle helmets and instruction on how to wear them Tuesday. (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

The Manitoba government will provide another 7,000 low-cost helmets, including 900 at no charge, to children this year.

Healthy Living Minister Sharon Blady made the announcement Tuesday at Meadows West School in northwest Winnipeg.

Each year, an average of 165 cyclists wind up in hospital from cycling-related injuries in Manitoba. About 40 per cent of these injuries involve minors.

Statistics show bicycle helmets reduce the risk of brain injury by 88 per cent.

The province has distributed 97,000 helmets to Manitoba families under its low-cost bike-helmet initiative since 2006.

Helmets offered through the province cost $15, including taxes, shipping and handling. Information about the helmets are sent to childcare centres and schools in November and orders are due in December for delivery in the spring.

Meanwhile, the Manitoba Cycling Association has produced several bike-safety videos, including Bike Helmets 101, which are available on its website, www.mbcycling.ca.

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