Digital Exclusive: Sioux City Police, Dairy Queen, Opportunities Unlimited team up to promote bicycle helmet safety

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – One program is helping to encourage local kids to wear helmets when they’re out riding their bicycles.

Opportunities Unlimited, Siouxland Dairy Queen, and the Sioux City Police Department are teaming up to spread awareness about bicycle safety through the 7th annual “You’ve Been Ticketed” program.

“That would unite the three organizations together in another way to spread awareness and reward children who are caught wearing their helmets and allow them to go to the local Dairy Queen for a treat,” said Jennifer McCabe, Opportunities Unlimited.

Jennifer McCabe, President and CEO of Opportunities Unlimited, said the tickets are an extension of the “Gotta Brain Getta Helmet” program, which also hands out helmets to local 2nd graders.

“Young children that they need to protect themselves, especially their brain, it also encourages them. A lot of times, when we get out and hand them the ticket, we encourage them to obey the stop signs, look for vehicles before they cross an intersection,” said Lt. Judy Kellen, Sioux City Police.

Lieutenant Judy Kellen, with the Sioux City Police Department, said they also educate kids on the rules of the road and want them to be safe when navigating them.

“When we can reach kids, and we can help educate them or give them opportunities to be safe by providing the helmets. It’s honestly a win-win, and it’s a feel-good [situation] for everybody,” said Ashley Phelps, Siouxland Dairy Queen.

Ashley Phelps, director of marketing for Siouxland Dairy Queen, said they’ve provided grants to Opportunities Unlimited to help purchase bicycle helmets for kids.

The “Gotta Brain Getta Helmet” program bought about 1,400 bicycle helmets this year and already handed out around 300 of them to kids through school assemblies.

“Ultimately, you only have one brain, and you got to protect it, and going over a curb and wiping out, you can injure your brain or your spinal cord,” said Lt. Kellen.

Siouxland Dairy Queen gave Sioux City Police 250 “tickets” on Friday to hand out to kids who are seen wearing their helmets while riding their bikes.

“I think it’s a great way for the police department to have that positive vibe with children in the community. Of course, what child doesn’t want to go to Dairy Queen for a treat. So, to pull them into it has been tremendous,” said McCabe.

This year, Opportunities Unlimited will be handing out bicycle helmets to 2nd and 3rd graders because kids missed out last year due to COVID.

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