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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #12-36

Seth Solomonow/Nicholas Mosquera (212) 839-4850

NYC DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan and NY Knicks Team Up For "Heads Up" Safety Campaign

Knicks star Baron Davis appears in humorous video calling on all New Yorkers to stay alert to keep our streets safe, whether walking, biking or driving

Former Knick Larry Johnson also joins the ad campaign, which builds on historic safety gains

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced that the NY Knicks Baron Davis and Larry Johnson have joined DOT’s “Heads Up” street safety ad campaign, which spotlights unsafe behavior and reminds pedestrians, bike riders and motorists to stay alert, obey the rules of the road and keep themselves and others safe. Though his recent injury has kept him off the basketball court, Baron Davis remains committed to the message in a never-before-released video he shot earlier this year, declaring “My head is up—is yours?” as he chides scofflaw pedestrians, bike riders and motorists for ignoring basic safety rules. The video and supporting Heads Up print ad campaign on bus shelters citywide conclude with the phrase “Know the code/share the road.” One print ad calls on pedestrians to watch for turning cars, since “That break-up text can wait.” All ads are titled with the campaign’s imperative: HEADS UP.  The video and ads can be viewed at nyc.gov/dot. The Commissioner was joined at the announcement at Greenwich Village’s famed West 4th Street Courts by NY Knick Larry Johnson, a former NBA All-Star and-now a business and basketball operations representative for the organization.

“Whether it’s driving to the hoop or driving down the block, the cardinal rule of the road is to keep your eyes and ears open and your head up,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Whether you’re on foot or on two or four wheels, New Yorkers need to stay alert and keep their heads in the game.”

The “Heads Up” ads began appearing in April and continue to be displayed at high-traffic locations across the city, including on hundreds of bus shelters, video screens at subway entrances, and dozens of storefronts and other eye-catching sites citywide. Each ad will be placed at locations of serious traffic crashes. The ads also appeared on 250,000 coffee cup sleeves still available at delis and coffee shops around the city.

The pedestrian and bike rider messages complement DOT’s campaigns that target speeding drivers and drunk driving through the “That’s Why it’s 30” and “You the Man” campaigns.  Traffic fatalities have declined more than 40% in the last decade and in 2011, New York recorded the fewest roadway fatalities since record keeping began in 1910.  Collisions between cars and pedestrians account for most of the city’s traffic fatalities and serious injuries.  DOT’s cycling counts on key routes have doubled from 2007 to 2011, and the City recently announced the pending launch of the Citi Bike bike-sharing system.

“Heads Up” is just the latest of DOT’s multi-dimensional effort to ensure increase street safety with programs to install pedestrian countdown signals, build pedestrian refuge islands and reengineer streets and intersections. DOT has distributed more than 50,000 bike helmets since 2006 and is on track hand out an additional 25,000 by the end of this year. The agency also organizes bell and bicycle light giveaways, “bike swaps” where participants can upgrade children’s bikes and Bike to School Days for New York City students, among other events inviting New Yorkers to safely explore the city by bike. To complement “That’s Why It’s 30” anti-speeding ads, the agency continues to place speed boards at speeding-prone locations around the city, reminding drivers to obey the 30 m.p.h. citywide speed limit.  Studies have shown that if a pedestrian hit by a car traveling 40 m.p.h. or faster, there's a 70% chance be killed; at 30 m.p.h., there's an 80% chance that the pedestrian will live.

To view the Baron Davis video, see the “Heads Up” ads and find more information about DOT’s ongoing efforts to enhance safety on New York City’s streets, visit www.nyc.gov/dot.  

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