Lights…Camera…NC Students Take Action for Bicycle Safety

It is one of our favorite times of the year:  Time for our annual “My PSA Contest!” for North Carolina high school and middle school students.

Each year, HensonFuerst Attorneys holds a bicycle safety public service announcement (PSA) video contest for local middle and high school students. The goal is to prevent serious accidents and injuries, and to help young people understand the importance of using proper riding skills, obeying traffic rules, and understanding helmet safety. The contest gives students a chance to make a difference and be creative while keeping everyone on the road safe and accident?free.

“We’ve been helping victims of traumatic brain injuries for more than 20 years and understand the life?altering consequences associated with these types of injuries,” said avid cyclist and attorney Thomas Henson Jr. “We want this contest to bring more awareness to safe cycling and accident prevention.”

How the Contest Works

The contest has two age categories: grades 6 to 8 and grades 9 to 12. Students must enter video PSAs, which should address the importance of bicycle safety. PSAs will be judged on students’ abilities to analyze the topic and produce a quality video. Entries must be submitted no later than Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

Prizes will be given to the students who produce the first?place entries in each age category. The winning students can choose between an Apple MacBook with movie?making software or a $1,500 gift card. The winning students’ schools also will receive monetary donations. Of the two winning entries, one will be selected to air on local television.

To see a complete list of rules, enter a PSA, and vote for your favorite videos, visit

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. Through a 2011 public involvement process we conducted, people from across the state made it clear they feel North Carolina has a priority to raise awareness about bicycle and pedestrian safety through educational messages. 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.”

How the Contest Began

Four years ago, the firm represented the husband of a local cyclist who was killed by a motorist while riding her bike. Members of the firm pledged all of the attorney fees from the case to fund bike safety awareness programs, such as the PSA contest and a series of cycling safety videos.

Past Winners on the Road to Success

We recently caught up with winners from 2011. Here’s what they told us:

Kyle Messina, who won first place in the highschool category last year with his friend and fellow filmmaker Frank Brechbiel:  “Since the contest, I’ve shot multiple films—one being a music video for the band Onward, Soldiers—which was screened at the Cucalorus Film Festival. The contest definitely helped us gain experience in film.”

Makaila Roberts, who won first place in the middle school category last year:  “I still love making videos. With my prize, I bought a green screen set, a video camera, and movie?making software. Thank you so much for this opportunity! It really boosted my confidence and helped me move forward in my future career.”

We’re proud of all the students who submit videos–they are talented and passionate about their safety messages…and we’re looking forward to seeing the 2012 entries! Don’t forget: The deadline is April 18, 2012. For  complete rules, information, and videos from previous years, visit