Taxi Safety Stickers

In the year 1998 Citystreets began work on a project called “25 Traffic Solutions To Make NYC Safer” which was published in the first version of our website.
Solution 18 was to place stickers in taxi back-seat windows in an effort to curb dooring accidents–when a car door is opened into the path of a cyclist.

When cycling deaths spiked up 75% in the following year, we realized it was time to push this simple, cost effective and easily executable idea out into the world.  Citystreets wrote a letter to the TLC.  In order to ensure a response, we CCed everyone we could think of, Hillary Clinton, Manhattan Boro President, Virginia Fields, Public Advocate, Mark Green, then mayor Giuliani and New York Times reporter, John Tierny.

This is the text of the letter that was  sent to the TLC:
2/21/2000
 
Diane McGrath-Mchechnie
Commissioner/Chairperson
Taxi & Limousine Commission
123 West 42nd Street.
New York, NY 10000
 
Dear Commissioner McGrath-Mchechnie,
 
A recent New York Times article stated that cycling deaths in NYC were up 75% last year.
 
I’m sure you find this situation as intolerable as we do.
 
Any cyclist alive, will tell you that the biggest danger they face is being doored–the act of someone opening a stationary vehicles door directly into the path of a moving cyclist.
 
We believe that no one intentionally “doors” someone and the reason this happens with patterned frequency on NYC streets, is because people are not used to seeing cyclists–out of site, out of mind.
 
We propose that together, we significantly reduce this • danger, by telling passengers to “exit curbside” and “always check for cyclists”.
 
Citystreets has designed a warning sticker (enclosed) to be placed on the windows of all Taxi and Car Service doors. 
 
As a public official responsible for over 35,000 vehicles. I’m sure you appreciate how putting this safety message in all TLC’s licensed vehicles, will make traveling safer for millions of passengers, as well as, all NYC cyclists.
 
If money isn’t available in a TLC safety or discretionary budget, citystreets can fund sticker printing–albeit at great inconvenience.
 
I look forward to your announcing this positive public safety initiative at a future press conference.
 
I will call your office next week to discuss this matter. And I look forward to working with you to make our streets safer for all users.
 
 
Sincerely,
 
 
 
Harris Silver.
 

cc: Hillary Clinton, Virginia Fields, Mark Green, Rudy Giuliani, John Tierny

 

Response from TLC

 

Response from TLC

Response from TLC

Frustrated, by the TLC’s response  we decided to take safety into our own hands, literally. We made the stickers, and anyone who sent us a stamped-self-addressed-envelope received a packet of stickers and instructions for their use. We ended up distributing close to 1,000 stickers.  It was that simple, non-intrusive see through sticker with a useful message that could prevent injuries, even save a life.
Trying to get the message out, we also reached out to Transportation Alternatives who in the year 2000 was an organization that was the voice for NYC cyclists and didn’t yet, include the word pedestrian in their vocabulary. Our thinking was that we could work together and were happy to make these stickers available to their members and suggested a mention in their Newsletter and offered to take out a paid ad in their newsletter as a show of camaraderie. They refused both and when I called John Kahney, their Executive Director at the time, for clarification, I was saddened when he said he didn’t think “it was in TA’s best interest”, basically putting petty organizational politics above the safety of their members. Not that organizations brightest moment.
Interesting enough in  a history repeats itself story. With a 23% rise in traffic fatalities the city is now years later initiating ideas we proposed as part of official policy.
 “On Tuesday, the city said that the campaign would be extended to taxicabs, and that drivers would be encouraged to place decals in their back-seat windows with a similar warning. It is an effort to curb so-called dooring accidents, when a car door is opened into the path of a cyclist”

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