ECU News Services

Jennifer Smith, left, and Melissia Larson affix a Pirate sticker on one of 20 donated bike helmets. Smith and Larson are part of the Safe Communities Coalition, which donated the helmets for ECU's Pirate Bikes program. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Helmets Donated to Pirate Bikes Program

The Safe Communities Coalition of Pitt County donated 20 bicycle helmets Oct 22 to East Carolina University's new Pirate Bikes program, which offers refurbished bicycles to members of the ECU community for a semester's use.

The Safe Communities Coalition promotes injury prevention and traffic safety in the community, including specific bicycle safety initiatives.

"When we saw what ECU was doing with the Pirates Bikes program, we thought that was a neat idea," said Jennifer Smith, executive director of the coalition. But the first thought that came up for coalition members, Smith said, was "Where are their helmets?"

"We thought it would be great for ECU to set an example and be safe while they were doing it, so we decided to donate the helmets," she said.

A community-based, non-profit organization, the coalition has developed local safety programs such as audible traffic signals to help visually impaired residents cross major intersections more carefully, a driver safety refresher program for drivers over 50, a SafeTeens curriculum on drinking and driving and a Bicycle Safety Initiative in Pitt County's 4th grade physical education classes. For the Bicycle Safety Initiative, the coalition provides bicycle helmets and helmet fittings for each 4th grade student who takes the safety training class.

The coalition also distributes helmets for local residents unable to afford them, through the Greenville Fire Rescue department. Altogether, the coalition distributes approximately 1,000 helmets each year.

The Pirate Bikes program was launched in September through ECU Parking and Transportation Services as a way to put bicycles abandoned on campus back into action. When the bikes have been refurbished – and painted purple and gold – the department offers them for faculty, staff and students to borrow for a semester.

For more information about Pirate Bikes, contact Parking and Transportation Services at 328-6294. For additional information about the Safe Communities Coalition of Pitt County, visit or call Smith at 252-847-8668.


This story appeared originally in the Nov. 24, 2009 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at