Tuesday, May 17, 2011

All I'm asking for is some respect

Aretha Franklin sang it best when it came to respect and that appears to be what the city of Philadelphia is doing with its campaign, Give respect, get respect, when it comes to addressing the laws and safety issues that pedestrians, cyclists and drivers must face. The campaign is being implemented in an effective manner, a team of police officers on bicycles and a patrol car will be handing out these brochures to educate their rights and responsibilities. They will alsowrite tickets to cyclists and drivers who endanger others.

This was clearly a well thought out and researched to create maximum effect with minimal disruption, while at the same time giving police the ability to say, “don't say we didn't warn you” when drivers and cyclists get ticketed in the future.

This campaign could have been a lot worse, New York City also kicked off an an educational campaign of its own last week. Unfortunately this was proceeded by the police departments Operation Safe Cycle. In theory the NYPD was going to start ticketing cyclist for some of the more egregious traffic violations, in reality they went after easy targets to make their data look good. This included ticketing cyclists in Central Park for running red lights when the park is closed to cars and having a tote bag on their handle bars. But the worst was when the NYPD created a speed trap in Central Park based on outdated information that the speed limit for cyclists was 15 miles per hour when it is actually 25mph. Requiring the NYPD to send police officers to 9 ticketed cyclists to apologize for ticketing them.

Then to add insult to injury New York City kicked off its educational campaign by calling cyclists who break the laws jerks. Lets face it folks no matter how cute the videos might be or how famous the stars are you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Philadelphia has found a much more effective method by educating everyone instead of targeting one group. The people who created the Give Respect, Get Respect program should be commended for creating a rational plan that educates everyone without name calling.

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