“Heads Up.” That’s the Department of Transportation’s newest message for cyclists and pedestrians, which will appear on six billboards, 300 bus shelters and 250,000 coffee cup sleeves around the city.
The new campaign marks a more positive tone than DOT’s “Don’t Be A Jerk” campaign, which many cyclists felt unfairly stigmatized bike riders. It’s also an expansion of emphasis from that campaign, aiming to influence pedestrian behavior as well.
Cyclists are urged to use lights at night, yield to pedestrians, travel in the direction of traffic, and stop at reds (“because it’s always better to arrive fashionably late,” says the ad). Pedestrians are told to watch for turning cars while crossing the street and not to cross mid-block. We’re not too optimistic about the effectiveness of any PSA campaign to convince New Yorkers not to walk the straightest route between point A and point B.
While the warning about turning cars indirectly acknowledges the danger posed by drivers who fail to yield, there is currently no equivalent PSA aimed at motorists. DOT will continue its current motorist public education campaigns, “That’s Why It’s 30,” focusing on speeding, and “You The Man,” supporting designated drivers.