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Helmet saves a life

A 14-year-old who was hit by a car while he was biking ‘lucky to be alive’

Posted: February 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Timothy Hulin, 14, still on crutches after being hit by a car, talks about the crash with the man who kept reminding him to wear a helmet - Deputy Brian Rooney of the SCV Sheriff's Station, who heads the Youth Activity League in Val Verde. (Jim Holt/The Signal)


On the first day of this year, Timothy Hulin ran out of the house to do some stunt riding on his BMX bike.

His friend, Gavin Hull, told him not to forget his helmet.

Hulin — remembering the sheriff-sponsored 10-hour course on bicycle safety he had taken — ran back into the house and grabbed it.

About six hours later, he was hit by a car in Santa Clarita and airlifted to Los Angeles Children’s Hospital.

“That morning I was just about not going to take my helmet,” he told The Signal.

“My friend, Gavin, said, ‘You should get your helmet.”

Hulin, 14, was hit by a car at the intersection of Magic Mountain Parkway and Town Center Drive on New Year’s Day, Supervisor Melanie Flores of the Los Angeles County Fire Department confirmed at the time.

He broke his leg, had a cast put on it and, next week, he will get the cast removed.

“I felt the bones pop,” Hulin said recalling moments after the crash.

He also recalls the comments he heard repeatedly at the hospital.

“They were telling me I was lucky to be alive and that I was wearing a helmet,” he said. “They all said it could have been much worse.”

Deputy Brian Rooney, of the sheriff’s Crime Prevention Unit and the Young Activity League in Val Verde, sees scores of kids daily skateboarding and bike-riding without a helmet.

There’s fewer of them these days, he said, thanks to the BEAR program, which stands for Bicycle Education and Registration.

Once young participants complete the 10-hour BEAR program they’re given a bike.

The bikes are those acquired by deputies from the “property and evidence” room then repaired by inmates.

In promoting bicycle safety, wearing a helmet tops the list, he said.

“The first thing I said to him when I saw him on crutches was, ‘Were you wearing your helmet?’” Rooney said.

Hulin said he rides short distances between home and the Val Verde Boys & Girls Club where Rooney runs his program.

He has a quick response when asked about the times he’s at Santa Clarita’s skate park trying out stunts on his bike: “I’m wearing my helmet.”


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