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New York City "Don't be a Jerk" Campaign

New York City Department of Transport launches its "Don't be a Jerk" campaign with a series of 30 second videos. Aimed at cyclists who disregard the rules of the road, it uses celebrities to make the point in a lighthearted manner.

Above chef Mario Batali rides the wrong way in a bike lane

Comedian John Leguizamo rides on the sidewalk until a pre-teen tells him he can’t ride there if he is over 12 years old.

Above supermodel Paulina Porizova runs red lights and fails to yield to pedestrians. It would be nice to see "Don't be a Jerk" spread to other places.



Reader Comments (9)

1. OK
2. Hard to imagine that a sidewalk can be perceived as being faster than the street.
3. "Cars stop" because it's a crosswalk? Not in my 'hood.

What ever happened to having a social conscience? On the bike paths in my 'hood are dog walkers, joggers and mothers with baby carriages even though a sidewalk or jogging path is alongside.

Forced to leave the path to avoid confrontations, auto drivers honk as "their territory" has been invaded.

NY is a crowded place and everyone should be extra cautious and considerate. I do get upset at cyclists who run red lights when other traffic-vehicles apparent and cyclists who stop in the middle of paths to have a drink or fix a flat.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Dave, I agree with your assessment here and disagree with BikeSnob's view that it is the drivers who should be asked to take a pledge. I am particularly in agreement with the first spot, about riding with the flow of traffic. Great blog, great insight, as usual.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Armstron

@Greg - I take everything on BSNYC as humor. Though he does make a point about cars and drivers; witness all the video and photo evidence of cars parked in bike lanes, trucks unloading, even cop cars using the bike lane as their personal space.
My take? Lets ALL stop being jerks. Imagine a jerk-free environment.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterskylab

Where and how jerks are created: In my humble opinion, supporting a motormania environment has played an important role in creating a lower social conscience. Our priorities are furthered damaged when market prices become skewed via massive government subsidies and when "socializing costs, privatizing gains" becomes the accepted definition of free markets.

Disney explained motormania and what it means to our civil discourse 60 years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZAZ_xu0DCg

The more a society becomes jerk-like, others see and learn to behave according to these social norms. NYdot is producing videos in the hope of keeping cyclists from hurting the PR needed to transform city streets-landscapes.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Hi Dave, I agree with Jack and Skylab ! I hope these videos make it to Los Angeles. I really like the quote "Imagine a jerk free enviornment."
This really applies to everyone being aware of others and just being nice.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Dave, cyclists can be jerks like everyone else -- but they are no more jerks than anyone else! Each pedestrian in the video is as likely as a cyclist to act like a jerk, and motorists are more likely to. I don't see any benefit in singling out cyclists, and trying to shame them into behaving well. Pedestrians can't keep their faces out of their phones -- you know this -- and the same goes for motorists, who also obey traffic laws much less than cyclists.
I really like your blog, though.

May 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill

I resent that cyclists in NYC are being subjected to a ticket blitz and singled out to sign good behavior pledges.

NYC cyclists aren't a menace on our streets. Yet pandering politicians and media hacks would have you believe otherwise.

It's depressing. I've avoided Central Park for months. Who needs the hassle of bogus speeding tickets, cops blocking bike lanes near the park and ticketing for not riding in the lane, or any of the other made up infractions.

Dave, in the past, I think you've analogized anti-bike rhetoric to hate speech, asking us to imagine how offensive it would be to substitute "cyclist" with a racial, religious or ethnic group.

The analogy is flawed. But is it really so hard to see why it's offensive for the NYC DOT to ask one particuar group of people who use NYC streets to sign a good conduct pledge?

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterleroy

This is how I see it. New York City like many other cities across the US have finally realized that cycling is a good idea, and in fact it is essential for the future. Everywhere bike lanes are going in. People (The non cycling residents.) don’t like change, and fight against it. Case in point, the court order to remove the bike lane in Brooklyn.

The minority scofflaw cyclists have a lot to do with this; they give the general public a reason (Ammunition if you will.) to say that cyclists are a menace and not worth helping. I am sure the ticketing blitz was a twofold attempt to appease the non cycling public and bring the scofflaws in line.

Instead the NYPD took the easy way out and ticketed soft targets like those in Central Park. I agree it is extremely unfair, and has failed to bring the problem cyclists who flout the rules of the road, into line.

Now the NY politicians are trying this approach, the “Don’t be a Jerk” campaign, to shame cyclists into behaving. The move again is political to appease the voters. It seems unfair I agree to single out cyclists, but it is a better idea than the ticket blitz. Cyclists who don’t ride like “Jerks” should not be offended.

Cyclists have everything to gain, and at the same time everything to lose if these attempts to improve the cycling infrastructure fail. If the politicians get voted out of office for supporting cycling, what future politician is going to take up the cause?

All I try to do here is to attempt to get cyclists to see that these few idiot cyclists fuck it up for all of us. If I get honked at or yelled at while riding, it is not because of anything I have done, but because of the way some other idiot rides his bike. That too is unfair. Is the “Don’t be a Jerk” campaign any less fair?

May 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Those are some pretty good videos. Seriously, don't be a jerk, stay off the sidewalk. lol

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSchwinn 431

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