Here’s one rule that should be added to the list of how to prevent accidents on PCH: A topless female should not stand right next to traffic on PCH taking selfies with the ocean in the background. This happened on the way to the class teaching kids how to be safe on PCH. Luckily, there was not a ten-car pile-up—kudos to the drivers for paying attention to the road.
Dozens of lucky children attending the Sandy Days Kids Camp at Will Rogers State Beach got an important and fun lesson on how to be safe on PCH—or any street, for that matter—particularly as pedestrians trying to cross the street.
The “Safe Moves” company, headed by Pat Hines, set up an entire four-foot-high tiny town, complete with buildings, sidewalks, streets, traffic lights, street signs, crosswalks and cars. The kids were enthusiastic and the instructors were masters at keeping them engaged.
The first lesson was all about the crosswalk—that jay-walking is not okay and how to hit the button to get the crossing signal (“walkie-man”). Safe Moves made a big point of teaching children how to look for distracted drivers who aren’t paying attention to the crosswalk—and not to cross if they see a driver coming that’s looking around, on the phone, texting or putting on makeup. The rule they teach is to always look “four ways” before crossing an intersection.
Kids were also taught that drivers don’t always stop at stop signs like they’re supposed to, how to cross a train crossing (even though there aren’t any on PCH), what to do if a dog chases you, not to run when crossing the street and the basics of bike safety.
Instructor Alec Simoni said, “Building the small city allows them to exercise and understand their environment.”
The program was presented courtesy of LA County and the PCH Taskforce, which is currently co-chaired by State Senator Henry Stern, State Senator Ben Allen (D-Redondo Beach) and Assemblymember Richard Bloom. The taskforce also includes law enforcement, residents, bicyclists, Caltrans representatives, and representatives from Los Angeles, Malibu and Santa Monica.
The PCH Taskforce obtained a $150,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety last October to improve safety on PCH. Much of that grant is going to Safe Moves to provide various educational and outreach activities up and down the 27 miles of PCH from the McClure tunnel in Santa Monica to the Ventura County line. The law enforcement agencies patrolling that stretch of PCH (California Highway Patrol, LA County Sheriff and the Police Departments of LA and Santa Monica) reported 617 traffic collisions in 2016.
According to Bloom’s office, the grant is focusing on programs about speed, pedestrian crossings, bicycle laws, distracted driving and DUI, in order to reduce injuries and deaths to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
To that end, a Public Service Announcement (PSA) has been developed by Safe Moves that is currently being reviewed by the LA County Department of Public Works. Once approved, the PSA will air on Gas Station TV (TV screens on digital gas pumps), local television, cable stations, websites and perhaps even movie screens.
The PSA will feature four individual stories, including several well-known Malibu residents who lost friends and family to collisions on PCH, including Ellen and Michel Shane on the loss of their daughter Emily in 2010; Senator Henry Stern on losing his childhood friends Tyler Love and Patrick Naylor in 2005; and Carol Randall on losing her son-in-law, Mark Osborn.
Safe Moves conducted a visual bicycle helmet survey by stationing staff along PCH on May 20 for 13.5 hours. They counted 94 cyclists approximately 18 to 60 years old, 80 percent of whom were male. Of those, 89 were wearing helmets and five were not. Those not wearing helmets were all males about 25-45 years old. A second survey will be conducted next month that may include interviews.
Upcoming Safe Moves PCH safety events in Malibu include Pepperdine University student orientation on Aug. 20, at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School on Sept. 4 and the Malibu Safety Event on Sept. 29.
Safe Moves, a nonprofit organization, was founded by Hines after her good friend was killed by a car while they were riding bikes together to train for the 1984 Olympics.