Posted by: Joe Nuss on Mar 22, 2012
By Casey Saussy
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Thomas Henson of HensonFuerst. Yes, the well-known North Carolina lawyer you have seen on TV. Guess what? He is also a cyclist. While we were talking he mentioned a bike safety PSA Contest for kids his firm created called HensonFuerst My PSA Contest! This contest challenges local middle school and high school students to create public service announcements about bicycle safety: preventing serious accidents and injuries, using proper riding skills, obeying traffic rules, and understanding helmet safety. Young people are more likely to hear these messages because they are presented specifically for kids by kids. The budding videographers have an opportunity to be creative and make a real difference.
My PSA Contest! has two age categories: grades 6 to 8, and grades 9 to 12. Entries are judged on students’ abilities to analyze the topic and produce a quality video. The first-place winning students can choose to receive an Apple MacBook with movie-making software or a $1,500 gift card. The winning students’ schools also receive monetary donations. One of the winning PSAs will air on local television.
The contest came about a few years ago after HensonFuerst Attorneys represented the husband of a local cyclist killed by a motorist while riding her bike. Members of the firm pledged their attorney fees from the case to fund bicycle safety awareness programs, including the annual HensonFuerst My PSA Contest! It is pretty cool that they chose to create something creative, positive and educational from such a sad situation. And it makes great sense they are targeting this message to our kids since they are impressionable and good bicycle safety skills should be a matter of habit.
According to Sarah O'Brien, Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager at the Institute for Transportation Research & Education at North Carolina State University: “Approximately five percent of all bicycle fatalities in North Carolina involve a cyclist under the age of 16. The PSA contest conducted annually by HensonFuerst is a great tool to not only get the ‘rules of the road’ out to our citizens, but to also provide a valuable learning experience to our youth.”
If you know a budding videographer, this year’s entries must be submitted no later than Wednesday, April 18, 2012. To see a complete list of rules, enter a PSA, vote for your favorite videos, or see examples of previous years’ entries, visit www.LawMed.com/contest/.