Siem Reap’s motorcycle club, The Dirty Cuts, and Asia Injury Prevention Foundation partnered for a great cause – to keep schoolchildren safe on the road. Dozens of kids at a primary school in Siem Reap received free motorcycle helmets through the Helmets for Kids initiative on Saturday, writes Peter Olszewski.
Saturday was a big day for 96 kids at Phum O Primary School, just outside of Siem Reap as each kid received a quality, fitted motorcycle helmet to keep them safe in the road.
The children were the beneficiaries of the Helmets for Kids safety initiative, launched last year by The Dirty Cuts Siem Reap Motorcycle Club in conjunction with the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP).
In August 2019, The Dirty Cuts club held its second annual Siem Reap Bike Meet, attended by about 450 to 500 riders, enthusiasts and interested supporters.
During the meet, a raffle was held, raising USD1,300. The funds raised were then donated to the AIP Foundation to launch the Helmets for Kids initiative in Siem Reap, culminating in Saturday’s Helmets for Kids Handover Ceremony attended by students and families from the local community, members of The Dirty Cuts Club and representatives from AIP and local government who officially launched the programme and spoke about road safety both on and off the bike.
AIP spokesman Im Piseth, who personally presented the helmets to students, said it was pleasing to see how happy the children were with their new helmets.
“They were happy for sure,” he said, “And why not because they got the free helmets.
“We at AIP were also happy to cooperate with the Siem Reap Bike Meet – the money donated by them paid for 70 helmets and we chipped in with another 26 helmets to bring the total to 96.
“We hope what we do together will help increase helmet use.”
Im Piseth joined the AIP Foundation in 2012 – AIP was originally launched in Vietnam in 1999 by American Greig Craft to prevent road injuries and fatalities following the huge boom in the use of motor bikes and motor scooters in the region in the ‘90s.
In 2001, AIP produced the “world’s first tropical motorcycle helmet” in its non-profit Protec factory in Hanoi, and in 2004 His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni endorsed Protec helmets. Two years later, in 2006, AIP expanded to Cambodia.
Dean McLachlan, spokesperson for The Dirty Cuts and co-founder of Siem Reap Bike Meet, acknowledged AIP’s contribution.
“All went well on the morning,” he said. “The event was made possible due to the generosity of the local riding community and our partnership with the AIP.”
Mr McLachlan, who is also co-founder of JustRide Motorbike Adventures and co-founder of the RefillnotLandfill company, added, “Aside from riding, road safety education, rider safety and building a responsible and supportive riding community has always been an integral part of The Dirty Cuts and we’re proud to be able to share this message and be a part of launching the ‘Helmets for Kids’ programme.”
Fellow Dirty Dirty Cuts member and Celliers d’Asie Siem Reap branch manager Scott McNeil added that Dirty Cuts is more than just a motorcycle club.
“We’re known in the local community as DCSR, which stands for Duty, Community, Service, Respect,” he said. “This is who we are and we let our actions speak for us.”
Mr McNeil is also the co-founder of the Siem Reap Bike Meet and notes that the next meet, the third annual Reap Bike Meet, will be held on November 23 this year. The beneficiaries of this year’s meet have not yet been announced but Mr McNeil says, “It’s going to be big.”