March/April 2000, p.4

Cities Peddle Bike Videos

Two major cities in the U.S. are using cutting-edge videos to promote cycling and to educate motorists. The City of Philadelphia hired the Bike Coalition of Delaware Valley to help produce a video to encourage people to bicycle and remind motorists that cyclists have a right to the road. The sharp, media-savvy video runs seven minutes and was made professionally for $80,000. The City of Chicago is following suit by hiring the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation to make a similar video advocating safer cycling on their streets. In Chicago the idea originated from the owner of a messenger company. She asked the city for help in training her employees. Chicago obtained $20,000 in federal funds for the project.

It has yet to be seen how these videos will be used. They could have a potentially powerful effect. Cities should target drivers' education classes, messenger training classes and defensive driving classes. Additionally, the videos could function as alternative sentencing - reduction or elimination of traffic violation fines in lieu of attendance at a class showing the video. NYC should create videos for motorists, including taxi and bus drivers, to educate and encourage them to share the road safely. Training videos for messengers, delivery people and everyday cyclists would do wonders to make cyclists aware of the laws and their right to the road.