Press Releases

Press Release #12-018

NYC DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan Announces Launch Of “Heads Up” Safety Ad Campaign

Ads are the latest installment in the city’s largest sustained safety campaign as traffic fatalities reach all-time lows

Humorous ads on billboards, bus shelters and coffee sleeves call on all New York City street users to pay attention, be courteous, and do their part to keep our streets safe

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the launch of the “Heads Up” street safety ad campaign, spotlighting unsafe behavior and reminding cyclists and pedestrians to stay alert and obey the rules of the road to keep themselves and others safe. Each of the ads delivers a specific safety message with catchy phrasing and calls on New Yorkers to “Know the code/share the road.” One calls on bike riders not to ride against traffic because, as the ad observes, “You get enough confrontation at the office.” Another 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 new ads can be viewed at

"Heads Up is the street code for all New Yorkers, whether on four wheels, two wheels or two feet,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Our streets have never been this safe, and making them even safer can be as simple as knowing the code and sharing the road.”

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.

The “Heads Up” ads began appearing this week on six large billboards at high-traffic locations in four boroughs, more than 300 bus shelters, and dozens of other eye-catching sites including newsstands and storefronts citywide. Each ad will be placed at locations of serious traffic crashes. The ads will also appear on 250,000 coffee cup sleeves from delis and coffee shops around the city.

"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. The ads are launching during Bike Month, which features bike helmet fittings, bell giveaways, and other events inviting New Yorkers to safely explore the city by bike. To complement “That’s Why It’s 30” ads, the agency is rolling out 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 ads and for more information about DOT’s ongoing efforts to enhance safety on New York City’s streets, roadways and bridges, visit