The New York Dept. of Transportation just launched a campaign, called “Don’t be a jerk.”
DOT’s “Don’t Be A Jerk” bike safety ad campaign humorously highlights essential dos and don’ts of safe, responsible riding that are crucial to keeping New York City’s streets as safe as they can be for everyone using them, including cyclists. The ads convey the need for bicyclists to follow the rules of the road, including always yielding to pedestrians; riding with traffic, not against it; and riding on the street, not on the sidewalks (unless rider is age 12 or younger).
“Don’t Be a Jerk” is part of DOT’s larger Bike Smart initiative, which includes the Bike Smart Pledge and the “LOOK” ad campaign, designed to educate cyclists and other road users about sharing the streets and roadways safely.
According to DOT’s 2010 Sustainable Streets Index, commuter cycling increased 262% in New York City from 2000 to 2010.
More after the jump.
I have mixed feelings. On one hand, the campaign is humorous. The videos illustrate very clearly some unsafe and jerky riding behaviors that tarnish our collective reputation. We’ve all seen maneuvers by cyclists that we wish they hadn’t pulled.
On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of bad driving. (Illegal u-turns and left turns on red from a two-way street are two scary moves I see far too frequently.) And, I don’t want people to start yelling “Jerk!” at me when all I’m doing is riding a bike.
One member wrote in with this to say:
This afternoon I politely asked a guy in one of the nice Cascade red/white wool jerseys if he would consider not blowing through red lights while he was out representing CBC, to help prevent road rage against bike riders, and he apologized for doing it and was embarrassed to realize he was advertising the club while doing that. Then a few blocks up the road when I had to make a full-on emergency stop to avoid getting T-boned by a right turning car coming right at me he stopped to ask if I was OK. Not a jerk.
When acquaintances complain to me about “jerk” cyclists, I’ve often replied with, “Jerks use all modes of transportation.” Here’s a thought! Maybe we could all stop being jerks, regardless of our modes of transportation. I’m curious. What do you think of the campaign?
“… a lot of people got hurt. That’s why I care about it.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere in New York, a group of kids called the Bronx Helpers has become neighborhood activists to improve road safety for everyone.
“You will get the hang of it, I know it!”
And then there is this wonderful, inspiring video. From the mouths of babes, I tell you.
See more videos that we’ve posted.