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Manhattan bicycle accidents have become a huge problem in recent years.

The New York Department of Transportation reports the number of bicyclists has increased more than 260 percent in the last 10 years. It's expected that number will only grow, as people continue to look for creative ways to save money, stay in shape and help the environment.

The New York City Police Department has attempted to tackle the issue of bicycle crashes with humor in its recent campaign, "Don't be a Jerk." The 30-second video spots implore bicyclists to yield to pedestrians, travel in the proper direction and stay off the sidewalk. In other words, "Don't be a Jerk."

One clip even features actor John Leguizamo, as a wayward, sidewalk-straddling cyclist on a reckless mission.

While we would applaud any effort to drive down the number of bicycle accidents and  fatalities in New York, we believe the videos are an exaggeration, as most New York bicyclists do follow the laws. Often, the bigger problem is motor vehicle drivers who are either rushed, impaired or not paying attention. In other words, their driving habits would suggest THEY are the "jerks."

Still, bicyclists can ride defensively to increase their chances of a avoiding a crash. Some tips from the New York Department of Transportation include:

1. Make sure to ride in a straight line, and avoid weaving in and out of traffic.

2. Watch out for car doors, which can be opened in your path. It's called "dooring," and you can be seriously injured if it happens.

3. Stay visible by wearing bright clothes during the day and reflective materials at night.

4. Use your bell to alert drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists to your presence.


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