Celebrities Act Like Jerks in NYC Safe Bike Campaign
New York City Department of Transport (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan uses a humorous, celebrity-based video ad campaign as part of her effort to make the city greener, more bike friendly, and perhaps most importantly, safer. Sadik-Khan’s “Don’t Be A Jerk” Bike Safety Ad Campaign utilizes celebrities Mario Batali, John Leguizamo, and Paula Porikova to put a funny spin on a serious issue. The ads show Batali, Leguizamo, and Porikova looking like (and being called) jerks for riding against traffic, on the sidewalk, and not yielding to pedestrians.
“As our streets have become safer and as more New Yorkers take to two wheels, bike riders need to adopt a street code,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “A nice way to put it is that we all simply need to look out for one another. To put it a little more bluntly, don’t be a jerk. It’s a simple, direct message with a wink for bicyclists to follow the rules and help make our streets safer for everyone on them.”
The ads are one more example of Sadik-Khan’s progressive, yet sometimes controversial, approaches to creating a safer New York City -- for today and tomorrow. Expected to add another million people to its population in the next 20-30 years, New York is in need of visionaries like Sadik-Khan who are willing to do heavy lifting to provide an infrastructure vital to the future.
Over the past four years, DOT’s commitment to cyclists has resulted in more than 250 new miles of bike lanes, better bike lane designs and thousands of new bike racks.
In addition to the “Don’t Be a Jerk” ads, DOT launched Bike Smart Pledge, an online campaign for bicyclists to register their commitment to safe cycling on their Facebook and Twitter pages. The agency also is also working to provide more bikers with bells, horns, lights, and helmets. As part of its “Ring in the Spring” program, DOT is hitting popular bike routes to distribute 1,500 bike bells purchased with money from federal grants. To date, the agency has distributed more than 43,000 helmets to child and adult cyclists.