HELMI presented as mascot for the 2018 UCI Road World Championships
The 2018 UCI Road World Championships has a new mascot – and his name is HELMI. Star of a long-running TV show popular in the German-speaking world, HELMI has spent decades teaching generations of children how to stay safe when riding their bike on the road.
With exactly six months to go until the start of the event, children's TV star HELMI was presented as the official mascot of the 2018 UCI Road World Championships during a ceremony at the Walter-Thaler-Schule school in the market town of Telfs on 22 March 2018. "I am delighted that our cycling road safety initiative is going be part of the UCI Road World Championships. That is a great motivation for children to ride their bike. It also sets a good example and is a fantastic way of raising interest in cycling," explains Wolfgang Haslwanter, traffic safety officer at the Tirol regional education authority.
HELMI, who takes his name from the German word for bicycle helmet, has been a cult TV figure in German-speaking countries for more than 35 years and has taught several generations of children how to have fun and stay safe when riding on the road. He has featured in almost 1,500 episodes of his own TV series and since the start has also been used by the Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit (KFV), an independent non-profit research organisation in Austria dedicated to investigating and assessing the causes and effects of accidents. Now HELMI has yet another job – promoting the 2018 UCI Road World Championships! Martin Pfanner from the KFV believes the partnership is a win-win situation: "There could be no better mascot for the UCI Road World Championships than HELMI. His unmistakeable trademark, the helmet, is also a key element of staying safe when cycling. HELMI stands for road safety. This is a topic we want to raise awareness about among both children and adults. In Austria we still have work when it comes to convincing riders to wear a helmet. HELMI and the pro cyclists are excellent role models in this respect."One such role model is local professional cyclist Stefan Denifl, who is already looking forward to competing at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Tirol. "I can't wait to ride in front of a home crowd. I hope the World Championships can encourage even more people to get into cycling. Who knows, maybe one of the children taking part in the cycling road safety initiative today will grow up to become a professional bike rider," Denifl concludes with a smile.