New Ads School Clueless Pedestrians, Aggressive Drivers and Wrong-Way Bicyclists

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

To ensure compliance with the rules of the road, the New York City Department of Transportation is mounting a public safety campaign to make sure New Yorkers are displaying situational awareness.

Or as Baron Davis puts it in a video released Tuesday: “Hey, heads up! Come on man, pay attention!” before nailing a phone-hypnotized pedestrian with a basketball.

Also at the receiving end of Davis’s scorn: a cyclist riding against traffic and a driver who aggressively enters a crosswalk thronged with pedestrians who have the right of way.

Davis is a point guard with the New York Knicks. He’s currently recovering from surgery for a knee injury.

In an emailed statement, DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said the point of the ad campaign is to raise awareness. “Whether it’s driving to the hoop or driving down the block, the cardinal rule of the road is to keep your eyes and ears open and your head up.”

In addition to the video, the DOT is placing “Heads Up” posters in bus shelters, and has even distributed 250,000 coffee cup sleeves for delis and coffee shops around the city.

In the Soho neighborhood, Jason Hunter, 24, said that texting on the go is to ingrained in people’s habits to change.

“It’s sort of become part of the New York culture, or the city culture. You know, sort of like we just eat and go, talk on the phone and go,” he said.

Suzanne Juen, 67, hopes people will stop texting while walking, but doesn’t think it will happen until police can fine people who text and walk.

“I think they’re very disrespectful of other people, I think they have no regard for other people. I also tell them to pick their heads up when they’re walking towards me,” she said.

Guia Marie Del Prado contributed reporting.


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Comments [1]

Everyone wants to blame someone other than themselves. I admit to texting and walking even with my headphones on (never loud enough to where I can't hear what's around me). However, when I am in a crosswalk, the screen goes away and my eyes are fully aware. And if I feel I can't divide my focus, I step to the side and do what I need to before I move forward. I have occasionally bumped into other pedestrians on the sidewalk and have noticed this difference: younger people are much more likely to brush it off with an "excuse me," "it's cool," or "it's all good," whereas older people are more likely respond with anger and impatience. To me, the pedestrian frustration seems to echo of a generational gap. We have to separate the life and death danger in which someone with two tons of vehicle can kill someone from the occasional person to person bump.

Jun. 28 2012 03:29 AM

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