Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today at 10 AM unveiled the poster for the “Give me 3″, a campaign geared towards improving bicycle safety and driver etiquette in the City of Los Angeles. The mayor kicked off the campaign by installing its first poster on the bus shelter at city hall on the corner of 1st & Main. The “Give me 3″ campaign is the culmination of the LACBC’s Bicycle Awareness Safety Campaign, launched in April of 2010. The LACBC has partnered with the Mayor’s office, LADOT, LAPD, and Midnight Ridazz to make today’s campaign possible.
The LACBC’s Bicycle Safety Awareness Campaign attempted to identify and address the most dangerous aspects of bicycle riding in Los Angles. The “Give me 3″ campaign addresses the danger posed by automobile drivers making unsafe passes. Unsafe passes are a frighteningly regular occurrence for anyone who has ridden their bicycle on LA’s streets. Many drivers seem to treat bicyclists more like street furniture than the legally-equal moving vehicles that they are. Drivers often crowd bicyclists from behind, “squeeze” through the lane to pass (rather than appropriately merge to the left), and cut in front of bicyclists far more closely and aggressively than they would with another driver. This type of passing is dangerous to both the driver and the bicyclist and it often crowds a bicyclist into the equally dangerous door zone.
To combat this bad habit of unsafe passing, the Bicycle Safety Awareness Campaign is encouraging drivers to give 3 feet of room to a bicyclist when passing. A 3 foot passing zone is a widely accepted standard, being state law in myriad states such as Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire & Utah. You can read the full list here. Practically every state that has a bicycle passing standard on the books mandates 3 feet. While California currently has no passing standards for bicycles, this campaign should go hand-in-glove with Council Member Bill Rosendahl’s call for a 3 foot passing zone to be made state law. 3 feet of passing room is not only safe, it is also courteous; it recognizes that bicyclists have every right of the road that drivers already enjoy.
The LACBC sought community input for the campaign through a public slogan contest, with the poster design being supplied by artist Geoff McFetridge. The message to “Give me 3″ will appear on Public Amenity Kiosks (PAK), bus shelters, and busses. This prominent positioning of hopes to mimic the success of D.I.Y. “Please Pass with Care” campaign. By inserting a clear, concise, ubiquitous message throughout LA’s urban landscape, the “Give me 3″ campaign hopes to gradually change the behavior that drivers deem acceptable.
The next step for the Mayor and the Bicycle Safety Awareness Campaign is recording a number of PSA’s, both in Spanish and English, for television, radio and the internet. The Mayor did just that following the press conference, assisting those in attendance film the first of many PSAs to come. As photos and reactions to the event become available, they will be posted both to LADOT Bike Blog and our flickr account. Stay tuned!