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Split watermelons, animated stop signs teach traffic safety

first_imgAfter seeing what could happened in even a low-impact crash, students indicated they were willing to wear helmets while biking. In 2005, 27 children were injured and one was killed in pedestrian or bicycle collisions with cars in Lancaster. Officials have set a goal of reducing injuries by 20 percent by June 30, 2008, and eliminating any deaths. “There are so many injuries and deaths we can avoid if we practice a little safety,” Hearns said. “We have to think safety first.” The safety education is being provided by Safe Moves, a nonprofit organization founded by Pat Hines, a former vice president of RKO Radio who lost a friend in a bicycle accident. “We want them to process information by looking at their surroundings,” Hines said. “When a ball goes into the street, the first instinct is to go after the ball. You need to stop and look to see if cars are coming or go get a grown-up to go get it.” LANCASTER – School kids are getting lessons in traffic safety with the help of a couple of watermelons. The city of Lancaster is using $73,100 from the California Office of Traffic Safety to hold a series of safety workshops and rodeos at area elementary schools in an effort to cut down on accidents. On Friday, city officials and their contractor for the education effort, Safe Moves, were at Mariposa Elementary School to drive the safety message home. “Kids today don’t think it’s cool to wear a helmet,” said Mayor Henry Hearns. “We think it’s very cool to wear a helmet.” To help illustrate the point, Safe Moves used watermelons – one, dubbed “John,” split open when Hearns dropped it from waist height. The other, “Frank,” survived a drop by school Principal Sheldon Epstein. Safe Moves is conducting workshops at every grade level for each of the schools it will be visiting. For its safety rodeos, Safe Moves uses a miniature city featuring sidewalks, streets, intersections, traffic signs and signals, and railroad tracks. “Whether you are getting into a vehicle, riding a bike, or walking down the street with your children, you have to make smart choices in order to keep you and others safe,” Hearns said. [email protected] (661) 267-5743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more