Oregon Representative Jeff Reardon says he is pulling down the “Look First, Walk Second” traffic safety campaign he commissioned and launched last week.
Here’s the statement he just posted to his Facebook page:
A video released Tuesday by Oregon House Representative Jeff Reardon portrayed someone in a Chevy Camaro running over an innocent person using a marked crosswalk. Prior to the graphic impact, the Camaro driver recklessly burns rubber from his tires (a violation of Oregon law), stares down his victim, clenches the wheel tighter, and proceeds to run through a red light. If this scenario happened in real life, there’s a good chance the driver would serve time in prison.
The “Look First. Walk Second” public service ad campaign is irresponsible, insensitive, and dangerous. It flies in the face of current traffic safety advocacy best practices and runs counter to the principles of Vision Zero. For an elected leader who says he cares about improving road safety, Reardon’s continued support of this campaign and his unwillingness to acknowledge very serious concerns raised by the public are shocking and outrageous.
In a statement to BikePortland that he also posted to his Facebook page, Reardon said, “I am pleased that this public service ad has captured people’s attention. It is a tongue-in-cheek approach to the tragic reality of pedestrian injuries and fatalities.”
But as victims of traffic crashes, advocates for vulnerable road users, and experts in the communications and safety fields from all over the country and the world have pointed out to him in the past two days, the much more serious problem is that our roads are dominated by people in large motor vehicles who have no regard for the safety of others.
On Tuesday, the same day Rep. Reardon launched his campaign, police officers in his district actually did something about the problem.
The Happy Valley Police Department just released a statement about a crosswalk enforcement action they completed on August 8th. The mission specifically targeted automobile users at two high-risk intersections. Police say they were spurred into action by citizen complaints that people’s high-speed driving was putting walkers at risk.
A public service ad video and safety campaign released yesterday has been met with a strong negative reaction and agencies involved in its creation want to minimize their assocation with it.
It started just hours after we published a story about the “Look First. Walk Second” campaign. The Portland Bureau of Transportation appears to have asked 3 Thirds, the Portland-based marketing agency that created the campaign, to remove all references to them from the website. When LookFirstWalkSecond.com first went live a PBOT webpage about walking safety was linked to from the bottom of every page. But later in the day those links were gone.
Asked to confirm this, PBOT Communications Director John Brady offered this statement:
“Representative Reardon [Jeff Reardon, the Oregon House representative that inspired the project] has been a very strong supporter of Vision Zero and he asked us if we would help fund the Clackamas Community College’s public service announcement. The PSA represents the vision of Clackamas Community College and the filmmakers. As just a funder, we wanted to step back and not play a central role in the campaign. We’re very grateful for Representative Reardon’s support for traffic safety.”
Intersection 911 has released its third “Bikes Riding With Bikes” PSA video, this one instructing people to pass each other on the left, using the Steel Bridge and N Williams as examples.
A new local livable streets group is taking on the issue of cycling etiquette. They have just released the first in a planned series of PSAs called “Bikes Riding With Bikes.”
The first movie, which appears to have been shot on the busy N Williams bike corridor, urges people to stop and help others who have a flat tire or are otherwise in trouble. Watch it on YouTube, or right here: