A motorcyclist fled the scene of a crash yesterday, with abrasions to his face and legs.
It was a reminder of the importance of safety helmets, just days out from the start of $250 fines for anyone caught not wearing one.
The man crashed his motorbike at Pokoinu, near Social Centre. Police were called at 12.40pm, but the driver was gone when they arrived. Police are now trying to track down the bike’s owner.
A witness reported the driver sustained minor injuries: cuts to his face and legs.
Police had allowed a month-long amnesty on wearing helmets, while Raromart and other major retailers waited for shipments to arrive in the country. This weekend, the last big shipment of 800 helmets arrived in port.
And from this coming Saturday, police will be handing out fines.
“Police will be enforcing the law as soon as the clock says it’s Saturday 1 August,” said spokesperson Trevor Pitt. “The penalty of $250 will be applied. And please don't be creative, as helmets must be of an approved standard.”
Raromart is hoping to have its 800 new helmets in store by this afternoon, after the cargo ship carrying a container of safety gear from China arrived on Saturday.
Raromart owner Don Carlaw said they had an arrangement with the Ports Authority to get the container out of the wharf as soon as it is cleared by Customs.
He is urging those who haven’t bought their helmet to secure it with a minimal $20 deposit. This would guarantee they were set to comply with the new law, he said.
“We have about 800 helmets of different sizes coming straight from our manufacturer in China. They are all Cook Islands safety compliant and quality stylish helmets,” Carlaw said.
“We are actually offering very competitive prices compared to others who are selling helmets on the island. We understand the hardship people have been going through due to the Covid-19 and we want to ensure people are able to comply with the rule without digging too deep into their pockets.”
Carlaw said about 400 helmets had already been reserved and they expected the remaining ones to sell fast.
He has also urged customers to try the helmets before purchasing them.
“We have taken the pre-orders based on the sizes of the heads of our customers but we want them to try it first before purchasing them. You can’t have a helmet that is loose or too tight, it should be the right fit.
“We will have a dedicated area where customers can try the helmets and there will be staff assisting them.”
Carlaw also said they would be extending their opening hours later this week to allow people more time to buy their helmets.
>Additional reporting: Jonathan Milne.