Friday Fun: Breaking Bad Habits in New York City

Gabriel, a master's student of design, created a short video as a case study of New York City's bad road habits. Watch the video below.

Ron Gabriel, a recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts, created a video showing the bad habits of roads users and numerous near-miss accidents in one of New York City’s many intersections. Part of his master’s thesis, the video is a case study that aims to show the interconnection and shared role in improving the safety and usability of our streets, Gabriel explains. To complement his academic work, Gabriel also started a street-level poster campaign, “3-Way Street,” urging and educating road users to share the road responsibly.

“By summer 2010, the expansion of bike lanes exposed a clash of long-standing bad habits — such as pedestrians jaywalking, cyclists running red lights, and motorists plowing through crosswalks,” Gabriel says. “The old habits exacerbate attempts to expand ways to use our streets; existing dysfunction makes change more difficult.”

Gabriel further adds that his video is not a commentary on New York City alone. He explains that the video and the campaign are an effort to adjust behavior: “The video is not an attempt to say NYC streets are the most dangerous in the world. They are not. It is an attempt to clearly illustrate very specific behaviors — that if adjusted — would make a huge difference in our streets and our quality of life.”

Gabriel’s video does highlight that no one is free of fault. The video exposes the bad habits of all road users—bicyclists, pedestrians and private vehicles. The stark reality of these inexcusable and irresponsible road users shows the very urgency with which we must address road safety.

What is further alarming is the repetition of these bad behaviors by cyclists. This behavior takes away from the legitimacy of such an inexpensive, environmentally friendly, healthy, and overall, sustainable mode of transportation.

What will it take to realize our collective mission in sharing the road safely with all users?

Read Ron Gabriel’s blog. Connect with him on twitter.


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