NYPD’s Pedestrian Safety Message Hasn’t Changed at All Under Ray Kelly

Those NYPD pedestrian safety tips that Streetsblog posted Wednesday? It turns out they’re nothing new — in fact, they date from at least the Giuliani administration. Despite all the progress the city has made on street safety and all the research the city has produced on the leading causes of pedestrian injuries and deaths, under Ray Kelly, the NYPD still hasn’t modernized its antiquated message.

Photo: The City Review

The flier (reposted below) contains recommendations sent out by NYPD headquarters, saying that in response to a rise in pedestrian fatalities, police urge people to observe precautions like not walking “during bad weather.”

Reader Chris O’Leary tweeted a link Wednesday to a letter to the Daily News dated January 16, 1998, that references some of the same NYPD tips — wear “light or bright” clothing, carry a flashlight, and “do whatever it takes to make yourself more visible to drivers.” At the time, Giuliani was penning in pedestrians on Midtown sidewalks and ordering a crackdown on “jaywalking.” Of course, those pedestrian pens are still in place, and the same street safety tips appear on the city’s web site to this day.

In the 12 years that Ray Kelly has served as Michael Bloomberg’s police commissioner, DOT became a standard-bearer in engineering urban streets for pedestrian and cyclist safety. The city itself released a report three years ago basically debunking the myth that “pedestrian error” explains most fatalities.

Yet the police force hailed for using statistical analysis to drive down crime still responds to pedestrian deaths by advising New Yorkers to avoid walking when it’s dark. Where is the reality-based, data-driven message to motorists, reminding people to observe the speed limit, drive attentively, and yield to pedestrians?

With Kelly at the helm, NYPD’s message about traffic safety never changed.


  • Joe Enoch

    I find that when I “make eye contact with the driver,” it only enrages said driver and encourages him or her to try and run me over. It makes them thirsty for human life.

  • Hilda

    How about if the NYPD were to officially issue this message?

  • Nathanael

    It has been proven that Ray Kelly’s administration committed systemic crimes. Look at the whistleblowing testimony of Adrian Schoolcraft.

    The Ray Kelly reponse to the exposure of these crimes was to… attack the whistleblower and continue committing the crimes. This proves that Ray Kelly was personally ordering the commission of the crimes, because if he wasn’t, he would have cut the criminals loose after they got caught.

    Ray Kelly is a criminal who belongs in an orange jumpsuit, not a police uniform. His police department has vastly INCREASED the crime rate in New York City — it has also made great efforts to make sure that crimes are not reported and that people who try to report crimes are threatened by police thugs. Anyone who has “hailed [Ray Kelly] for using statistical analysis to drive down crime” has paid no attention to what Ray Kelly actually did: he used statistical analysis to figure out how to manipulate the crime statistics while increasing crime.

    The big change is that now, most of the crimes are either committed by, or covered up by, policemen.

  • anon

    “The big change is that now, most of the crimes are either committed by, or covered up by, policemen.”

    Come on.

    There’s plenty of reason to criticize Kelly and the NYPD, but this is ridiculous.

  • Facts Please?

    If you really think that, you’re a moron. Or are confusing “make eye contact” with “stare down.”

  • Bolwerk

    The difference between having the police stop ‘n frisk you for no reason, and with no cause, except your skin color and being mugged is more legal than qualitative. It’s still a humiliating assault.

  • Matthias

    Don’t walk after dark? Are you joking? That sign doesn’t even look remotely official.

    I’ve begun putting up my hand and yelling “STOP!!” when a driver is not yielding. It’s usually pretty effective.

  • SteveF

    There is a difference?
    Suggest you read Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark, to be sure you know how to tell the difference.

  • SteveF

    Guns, Drugs, Terrorists, But No Traffic Safety? I am shocked. Shocked.

    Can’t wait for the new mayor to fire Kelly. Long overdue.


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