City, residents, law enforcement, and Pepperdine hold ‘Cruise Malibu’ campaign at Malibu Bluffs Park

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City Manager Steve McClary and Deputy City Manager Alexis Brown high-five during the Cruise Malibu campaign on Thursday, June 27, at Malibu Bluffs Park. Photos by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Group debuts creative ideas to encourage drivers to drive safely on PCH

“Cruise Malibu Campaign is more than just a slogan, it’s a movement,” Deputy City Manager Alexis Brown said tostart off the event last week. “A call to action for all of us to embrace a safer more mindful approach to driving along Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu’s main street. As we cruise through tonight’s presentation, we are reminded to slow down and soak in the stunning scenery and contribute to the safety and tranquility to our coastal paradise.”

On Thursday, June 27, community members, City of Malibu leaders, law enforcement, and partner agencies gathered at Malibu Bluffs Park for the community launch event of the city’s Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) safety campaign “Cruise Malibu — Surf, Sand, Slow.” The campaign was designed by a focus group of longtime residents, Pepperdine students, the LA County Sheriff’s Department, CHP, and city staff. 

“Today’s event is a celebration of community spirit, collaboration, and a shared commitment to making Malibu a safer place for everyone,” Brown said. 

Brown introduced Mayor Steve Uhring to the podium, and Uhring introduced the guest speakers, also known as the Cruise Malibu Focus Group. 

“This is a volunteer group; this is above and beyond the call of duty for those that are wearing a law enforcement uniform here, but it just goes to show their passion and commitment to really tackling this issue for everyone,” Brown said.

The panel included a Q&A with Malibu residents, producers, Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department, and representatives from Pepperdine. The panel also debuted a PCH safety music video/TV commercial, the new theme song and a call for volunteers to join the PCH safety effort. Those that attended were encouraged to take the pledge to”cruise PCH at or below the speed limit in Malibu” and received a Cruise Malibu gift.

Colin Drummond, one of the creators of the campaign, began the discussion with four key elements: Memorable;residents (commuters, visitors); cruise, not drive; and cruise control.

“This is about changing culture, this is about changing how people understand how they should behave in Malibu,” Drummond said. “People are in their heads when they’re driving … so I think there’s some real value in taking a moment, and just being present in such a beautiful place.”

Drummond compared the way people drive to how people are influenced to stop smoking. 

“People do change, and culture does have a very strong influence on people,” he added. “We’re planting the seed today, and hopefully it starts a chain reaction.”

Sgt. Soderlund has been providing traffic safety reports to the city and community at every City Council meeting on Mondays and has been a part of the focus group since January.

“Since January we have been meeting weekly, in person or online, to come up with the logo, the motto, the song, so it’sa collaborative effort between all of us,” Soderlund said. “When we were talking about this, ultimately, it was to change people’s behaviors, we can do that with enforcement on our end, but we can only give out so many tickets in a day, we only have so many deputies, we only have so many CHP officers, and so we can’t stop everyone, so we needed to think of a way, to come up with a solution to have that awareness on the public to change their behavior and change the way they drive on PCH.”

Sgt. James Arens has been the traffic sergeant for a little over a year at the station and said the ultimate goal was to “Set the Pace on PCH.”

“Set the pace, so that way all the cars behind you, go the same speed,” Arens said. “It takes a group effort; everyone in the community can get involved — you can see the beach, the ocean, the mountains. It’s a gorgeous view; there’s no reason why anyone needs be going very fast through PCH. Enjoy the drive and set the pace.”

Arens provided a brief update on the collisions and fatalities on PCH.

“In the last 10 years, there have been 3,345 traffic collisions with speed as the main primary division factor,” Arens said. “In that same frame, law enforcment has issued 46,338 citations for speeding alone in the City of Malibu, and since January 2024, 2,382 citations have been issued for speeding in Malibu, and since 2011, up to 2023, there were 58 people killed.”

Award-winning producer and writer Robin Cecola shared how the “Cruise Malibu” campaign theme song came intofruition.

The song, “PCH SLOW DOWN!” is a re-recording of the hit song, “Lake Shore Drive,” by Skip Haynes and initially recorded by Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah. The song features custom lyrics aligning with Malibu’s new awareness campaign, PCH SLOW DOWN! 

Skip Haynes passed away in 2017 and Cecola said he reached out to his partner of 30 years, Rikki Poulos, and asked if they can rewrite the song to which she said her neighbor was one of the parents who lost their daughter last year at the tragic accident on PCH.

“It was one of the saddest days of my life, to go to the funeral and be a part of it,” she said.

Cecola shared the process and the collaborative efforts in producing the song and said, “this was Skip’s baby, he would love to be part of this, and she gave her blessing and we took it off from there.”

To hear the song and music video visit the campaign’s website at www.cruisemalibu.org or the City of Malibu YouTube channel.

City Manager Steve McClary acknowledged the efforts of the residents and panel members that created the campaign. cITY

“I wanted to thank you personally for all that you’ve done, it’s been great,” McClary said. 

McClary also mentioned the recent passing of SB 1297 to allow speed camera systems in Malibu.

“As we draw this wonderful event to a close, I would like to extend my heartful gratitude to each and every one of you for joining us today,” McClary said. “Your presence and support truly highlight the strong community spirit that makes Malibu so unique; today’s launch marks the beginning of a new chapter for our city, a chapter where we come together to promote safety, mindfulness, and a deeper appreciation for this stunning environment we are privileged to call home.”

The city also has a pledge wall at City Hall where residents can sign and pick up lawn signs to raise awareness on for residents, visitors, commuters, pedestrians, and cyclists. 

You can help raise awareness and change driver behavior on PCH: 

  • Slow down and drive safely and patiently. Set the cruise control, enjoy the ride, put down the phone, that text can wait. 
  • Observe posted speed limits in construction zones, where there are workers and work vehicles, equipment, and changing traffic patterns. Fines for traffic citations are doubled in construction zones under California law. 
  • Come to Malibu City Hall and sign the Pledge Wall to show your commitment to slowing down and helping to make PCH safer. 
  • Pick up a free lawn sign at City Hall and post it on your property. 
  • Pick up a free poster at City Hall and post it at your business or workplace. 
  • Post a photo on social media with your lawn sign or poster, with the hashtag #GoSafelyPCH
  • Sign the online pledge at GoSafelyPCH.org.