Beloved all-male dance troupe, the 610 Stompers, will be returning to New Orleans billboards with Part Two of the New Orleans’ Regional Planning Commission’s Pedestrian & Bike Safety Campaign.
While the first campaign, which ran in fall of 2012, focused on pedestrian safety, this campaign will aim to make drivers more aware of cyclists throughout Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. “The New Orleans region has committed to becoming more bike-friendly,” said Dan Jatres of the Regional Planning Commission. “We now have more than 150 miles of bikeways across the region, with more opening throughout 2013 and 2014. Cycling, for transportation and recreation, is only going to increase.”
The campaign will highlight specific laws meant to keep cyclists safe. One law, commonly known as the “3-foot law,” states that motorists must maintain at least three feet between their car and any cyclists on the road. Another critical component of the campaign is raising awareness about “dooring” – crashes between cyclists and car doors carelessly opened into the street. These crashes can lead to serious injuries and, in some cases, fatalities when riders are thrown into traffic after colliding with the car door. “Checking behind you, and being aware of cyclists on the road, is such an easy thing to do. But it’s a problem many drivers just don’t think about,” said Jatres.
A cyclist-focused message will round out the campaign, reminding cyclists to ride in the direction of traffic. Although the majority of New Orleans cyclists are aware of this law, some still continue to ride against traffic to shorten route-times in areas with one-way streets. However, riding against traffic puts riders at up to four times greater risk of a crash. When riding against traffic, motorists have less time to react to an oncoming cyclist in their path.
The 610 Stompers will be featured as bike safety ambassadors throughout the city, appearing on billboards, pole banners, posters, and bus shelters, as well as less traditional mediums, like gas station toppers, and concrete graphics. This campaign will also feature humorous videos, which will run locally as pre-rolls for YouTube and Hulu videos, and as interactive elements on local news sites.
With the coming of spring, and festivals such as French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest, New Orleanians can expect to see more cyclists on the road. Look for the campaign to begin mid-April, and roll through June. Citizens can also test their bike safety knowledge at www.watchoutnola.com. New Orleans Bike to Work Day is Tuesday, April 9th.