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VALLEY FOCUS | Sylmar

Students Share Tips for Bicycle Safety

April 11, 1998|ERIC RIMBERT

About 50 fourth- and fifth-graders sat quietly in the Dyer Street Elementary School auditorium, waiting for Ebony Brown, 9, to come up with an answer as part of a mock game show.

"What should you always wear when you ride a bicycle?"

"A helmet!" Brown said after a bit of nervous hesitation.

The children cheered. The show was part of a traffic safety program put on by Safe Moves, a nonprofit educational organization that teaches traffic safety to children.

Pat Hines, Safe Moves executive director, said obeying traffic laws and always wearing a helmet are simple ways to prevent accidents and serious injuries.

"Many accidental deaths of children can be prevented if people would just remember to wear their helmets. These deaths are almost always preventable," she said.

The program was sponsored by the city's Department of Transportation, the state's Office of Traffic Safety and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Friday's program, which aimed to teach children bicycle safety skills, comes just days after the death of 12-year-old Emmanuel Jimenez, who was hit by a car and fatally injured Monday while riding his bicycle.

The young boy, who was hit the first day of his spring break from school, was not wearing a helmet and died the following day at Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles.

Peter Beal, 13, told a cautionary tale of how a helmet saved his life after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle.

"I don't even remember the accident, but I do know that the doctors told me my brain would have been damaged permanently without wearing a helmet. . . . So wear your helmets, guys," Beal said.

Hines added that each day in the United States two people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured while riding bikes.

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