April 10, 2023
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NYC Partners With Rock Legend Chubby Checker on Traffic Safety PSA
Vision Zero Video Teaches Citizens to Prevent Dooring by Doing "The New York Twist"
NEW YORK – The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) and Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) have teamed up with rock royal Chubby Checker to create a catchy public service announcement designed to save lives by raising awareness of the deadly practice of "dooring" — opening a car door without first checking to see if a bicyclist is approaching.
The PSA, which features Checker's 1961 hit song, "Let's Twist Again," demonstrates a fast, easy movement people can do to ensure they have a good view of incoming cyclists. The method involves using the far hand to reach for the door handle, which forces passengers and drivers to automatically turn and look back.
"New York City, let's twist again on four wheels!" said Chubby Checker. "Groove your way through the hustle and bustle of the city and join me in the campaign to support safety by doing the New York Twist every time you exit a vehicle."
"Dooring is a serious and dangerous problem in our city and doing The New York Twist is the solution," said Deputy Mayor of Operations Meera Joshi. "We made this PSA fun and used Chubby Checker's catchy song so that people will remember the Twist and enjoy doing it every time they exit a vehicle. If this move can become half as popular as Mr. Checker's songs and dances, we'll lead the way in eliminating dooring and many lives will be saved."
"Reaching for your car door handle with your far hand can save a life. As more and more New Yorkers continue to embrace the bike boom we've seen in recent years, it's increasingly important for drivers and passengers to 'twist again' and look for passing cyclists as they exit their vehicles," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "For our part, DOT will continue expanding our network of protected bike lanes, which often include a buffered space separating vehicles and cyclists to help prevent dooring."
"This simple little upper-body swivel, which we're calling the 'New York Twist,' can mean the difference between a safe vehicle exit and one that can injure or even kill a passing bicyclist," said TLC Commissioner David Do. "Our hope is that Mr. Checker's unforgettable song helps instill this movement as a reflex every time you get out of a car. If everyone did this, we could eliminate dooring."
The method, also known as the "Dutch Reach," is widely used in Holland, where it has been around for at least 50 years and is taught to citizens at a young age, according to anti-dooring advocacy group Dutchreach.org.
The PSA comes as the growth in cycling continues to soar in New York City. The number of New Yorkers who bike to work has increased from 26,000 to 54,000 from 2011 to 2021, a 104% increase. On a typical day, there are more than 550,000 cycling trips made in New York City, with cyclists biking more than 200 million miles annually. Bike trips at 50th Street in Midtown have increased from just under 20,000 in 2010 to nearly 38,000 in 2020.
Nine cyclists have been killed due to dooring in New York City from 2017-2021, representing 8.4% of fatalities over that period.
The video will be released on Taxi TV, as well as LinkNYC, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. It was created in partnership with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), and the Mayor's office of Media & Entertainment (MOME).
"Our City is undergoing a culture shift – we're moving away from gas-guzzling cars and toward a future of sustainable transportation. Strategies to end dangerous 'dooring' is part of rethinking how we share the streets with cyclists, and I'm excited to see the 'twist' become part of this new normal " said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. "Thank you to the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission and Department of Transportation for teaming up with Chubby Checker to spread the word that street safety is for all."
"Regardless of how we navigate our city, we all deserve to do so safely — and we all have a part to play in making that a reality in our city," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "Even if you're not biking down the block, you can make it a safe experience for your neighbor who is. All it takes is a twist!"
"Dooring cyclists can lead to serious injuries," said Council Member Lincoln Restler. "Let's Twist Again by always looking behind you to keep us all safe."
"The New York Twist, also known as the Dutch Reach, has proven to be one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent severe injuries and fatalities from dooring," said Ken Podziba, President and CEO of Bike New York. "We applaud DOT, TLC, and of course the legendary Chubby Checker, for encouraging car passengers to permanently change the way they open doors in this entertaining but very serious campaign to save lives."
"A pause and awareness before opening a car door can make all the difference in ensuring the safety of others on the road. The 'New York Twist' campaign takes this crucial step to the next level with a fun and memorable approach. This campaign encourages drivers and passengers to remember the importance of checking for people on bicycles, scooters, and on foot before opening car doors by adding a little twist to their routine," said Angela Azzolino, Executive Director of Get Women Cycling. "As everyday commuters, we know how important it is to promote responsible behavior and improve road safety for all. That's why we fully support this initiative and encourage everyone to get on board and take part in making our streets safe spaces for everyone."