Thunder Bay

'Rewarding' program: Thunder Bay lawyer helps give entire school free bike helmets

Members of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association are working to make sure every child in Thunder Bay can cycle safely, by donating free bike helmets every spring. 

Duncan Macgillivary and members of Ontario Trial Lawyers Association hope to prevent serious injuries in kids

Treasurer of the Ontario Trial Lawyer Association, Duncan Macgillivary, handed out over 300 brand new bike helmets to students at Ecole Catholique Frano-Superieur as a way to encourage safe biking practices and prevent injury. (Duncan Macgillivray / Submitted)

Members of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association are working to make sure every child in Thunder Bay can cycle safely, by donating free bike helmets every spring. 

Duncan Macgillivray, the association's treasurer and a personal injury lawyer with White Macgillivray Lester LLP  in Thunder Bay, helped hand out over 300 brand new bike helmets to every student at École Catholique Franco-Supérieur on Monday, to "make sure that every child riding a bike is wearing a helmet."

"We see a lot of tragic situations coming out of motor vehicle collisions and often times, bicycles are involved as well," Macgillivray explained, "and if you are not wearing a helmet ... then the chance of a brain injury is going to be higher."

Members of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association helped make sure each student was "properly fitted" with a brand new helmet on Monday after a presentation to the children on how to ride their bikes safely. (Duncan Macgillivray / Submitted)

The initiative, which started nearly twenty years ago in southern Ontario, was brought to Thunder Bay in 2012 in hopes of preventing injuries and increasing safety awareness in school-age children across the region.

"I think we saw that we could make a big difference pretty quickly," Macgillivray said, adding that although children under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets by law, it is "surprising" to see how many don't follow that rule.

He said members of the association have handed out over 1700 helmets since the program started in Thunder Bay.  At the same time, they also conduct safety presentations with the help of community partners like the Thunder Bay District Health Unit and the Thunder Bay police, who make sure the students are "properly fitted with a helmet". 

The program, started by the association, first began in southern Ontario in the early 2000s, but was brought to Thunder Bay in 2012. (Duncan Macgillivray / Submitted)

"It's rewarding," Macgillivray said of seeing children in the city using the new bike helmets. 

"Anything that makes them think a little bit before they jump on the bike helps a lot. So having an event like this ... I think it can make a big difference."

Representatives of the Brain Injury Association of Thunder Bay and Area (BIATBA) also helped distribute the helmets during Monday's event.