Optimist Club donates 400 bike helmets to city students

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published July 12, 2017


ROYAL OAK — Members of the Royal Oak Optimist Club were honored late last month for donating 400 bike helmets to all third-grade students in the community.

“We are so lucky to have such an amazing Optimist Club in this town,” said Mayor Michael Fournier. “Their work is very tangible and their spirit is even greater than we could ever hope for any of us.”

The club was honored during the June 26 City Commission meeting. The helmets were distributed at all six Royal Oak elementary schools last month.

Fournier said the group’s initiative falls directly in line with the commission’s goals and objectives to implement and improve nonmotorized transportation, including bike lanes.

“With the increase of bicyclists in the city of Royal Oak, a concerted and directed effort to provide education regarding bike lanes and bike safety has begun,” he said.

Fournier said that bike accidents are the second-leading cause of serious injury in school-age children, and head injuries are the leading cause of bicycle-related death and disability.

“Bicycle helmets can reduce these risks by 85 percent,” he said.

Beaumont Hospital staff provided a bike education and safety seminar to all Royal Oak Schools third-graders when they received their helmets as part of the bike helmet program.

Optimist Club President Dawne Ripinski said they are thankful for the honor and recognition.

Ripinski also wanted to thank club member Rick Bremer, who she said was the catalyst for the safety on wheels bike helmet program. She also thanked club members Allen Pruner and Richard Pearce, who she said were crucial in rolling out the program.

“They are perfect examples of who the Optimist Club is,” she said.

Ripinski said the bike helmet program fits in line with the club’s mission, which states, “By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves.”

Ripinski said the Optimists do many good deeds, which can be seen in Optimist Park; the biannual cleanup of 11 Mile Road; the fall youth appreciation event; the youth essay, oratorical, video and photography contests; the junior golf tournament; and the tri-star basketball contest at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan.

To learn more about the Royal Oak Optimist Club, visit royaloak optimists.org.