New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today joined NYC Deputy Health Commissioner Lorna Thorpe, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White, and other representatives from the NYC Bicycle Safety Coalition to kick off the 2007 LOOK bicycle safety campaign.
Created pro-bono by the international advertising agency Publicis in Seattle, the LOOK campaign aims to prevent collisions between motorists and cyclists by educating the public about bicycle safety and encouraging cars and bikes to share the road. LOOK campaign advertisements will run on bus stop shelters, bus tails, phone kiosks, taxi tops, at gas stations and on postcards that will be placed in restaurants around the city. The ads will also be featured in Time Out NY and New York Magazine and radio advertisements will be broadcast on local stations.
The LOOK campaign was developed for the NYC Bicycle Safety Coalition following the 2006 release of the first comprehensive analysis of bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries in New York City. The report showed that nearly all fatal crashes were the result of poor driving or bicycle riding behavior, particularly driver inattention and disregarding traffic signals and signs. This LOOK campaign was designed to combat that. In addition to improving motorist and cyclist awareness, the City, last year, committed to doubling the number of on-street bicycle lanes and paths in three years, improving data collection, analysis and reporting of bicycle injuries, and increasing enforcement to keep cars from parking in bicycle lanes.
"At DOT we've committed to expand the City's bicycle network at an unprecedented pace, and today we're asking all New Yorkers to do their part to make our streets safe," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan." The idea behind this campaign is simple - we're asking everyone to accept responsibility to look out for each other on the city's streets."
"Nearly 3,500 NYC bicyclists were injured by cars between 1996 and 2003, and 225 were killed," said Lorna Thorpe, the Health Department’s deputy commissioner for epidemiology. "The City is making tremendous strides toward a safer cycling environment, but motorists and cyclists have critical roles to play."
"Improving bike safety is a two-way street," said Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. "Drivers need to know that bikers have a right to the road and bikers need to know that drivers are looking out for their safety. That's why we all need to work together to take simple steps to share the road and keep our city streets safe."
"These forceful ads will prevent collisions, save lives, and affirm cyclists’ responsibilities and rights to the road," said Paul Steely White, Transportation Alternatives" Executive Director.
"All road users must share the responsibility of following traffic laws and exercising caution for safety's sake," said Robert Sinclair Jr., manager of media relations for AAA New York. "The LOOK awareness campaign will provide the timely reminders we all need to make safety our number one priority when we’re on the road."
"The Police Department encourages motorists and cyclists alike to be aware of their surroundings and to heed traffic regulations for both the sake of safety and courtesy," said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
At today’s event organizers distributed LOOK-branded bicycle lights, t-shirts, posters, bells and key chains. The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) also fitted and distributed 200 free NYC bicycle helmets.
Since the Bicyclist Fatalities and Serious Injuries Report was released in September 2006, DOT has added more than 60 miles of new lanes and routes to New York City’s bicycle network, including experimental high-visibility green lanes on routes in Brooklyn. DOT has also introduced new shared-lane signs and markings on its Class 3 bike routes and has dedicated staff to inspect the City’s bike network on bicycles.
This summer DOT and NYC & Co. introduced the official NYC bicycle helmet. Since June more than 5,000 helmets have been distributed at fitting events in all five boroughs. DOT also supported bicycle safety legislation, enacted in July, that requires commercial cyclists to wear helmets. The law also requires businesses employing commercial cyclists to provide helmets free of charge and to post signs that inform bicycle workers of their rights and responsibilities.
The NYC Bicycle Safety Coalition is an unprecedented partnership among City agencies, bicycle advocacy groups and the American Automobile Association (AAA). The Coalition is made up of the City’s Transportation, Police and Health Departments, the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the Public Advocate’s Office, Transportation Alternatives, the Five Borough Bike Club and AAA .