Personnel from the Quezon City government on Friday gave away free helmets to cyclists who could not afford to buy one, as wearing of the safety gear is now strictly mandatory with the passing of an ordinance.

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Ret. Gen. Elmo San Diego, head of the city’s Public Order and Safety who led the distribution of the helmets, said 250 of the 2,000 recently procured helmets were already given to bikers who were on the road with no head safety gear.

Most of the recipients were constructions workers, students and the “financially challenged.”

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“Halo halo na [yung beneficiaries]. Yung walang suot na helmet kasi wala pambili, sila target beneficiaries natin (We have a mix of beneficiaries. But those who were not wearing helmets because they could not afford are our target beneficiaries),” San Diego said in a text message, noting that both city and non-city residents received free helmets.

Bikers in Quezon City were told to pull over but instead of getting citation tickets, they got a free helmet. San Diego added that they will “request” for more helmets that will be given away “as needed.”

The local government’s move came after it passed a measure requiring bikers passing through the city to wear helmets, imposing fines from P1,000 to P5,000 against violators.

Although wearing helmets when biking is already required under the Road Safety Ordinance, the local government said the city council saw “the need for another policy to further encourage the helmets as protection, with more people now traveling by bicycles.”

While the measure earned praises from many cyclists who said it is for everyone’s safety, others also expressed concern that some might not be able to afford one, especially in this time of crisis.

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