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Starts & Stops

Cambridge warns bike riders to ‘Be Wicked Smaaht’

The phrase “Be Wicked Smaaht!” also appears on the message boards in Cambridge.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

The phrase “Be Wicked Smaaht!” also appears on the message boards in Cambridge.

We all knew it was coming.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation came out with cheeky missives on electronic highway signs, instructing drivers to “Use Yah Blinkah.”

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Some drivers chuckled; others rolled their eyes. Many, many took photos on their cellphones as they puttered in traffic. And Highway Administrator Frank DePaola deemed the effort a success, saying the agency had finally figured out how to cut through the “white noise” of public service announcements with “uniquely crafted messages.” He signaled that there would be more “Good Will Hunting”-appropriate PSAs to come.

Now, it seems, the tactic is catching on at other government agencies.

The phrase “Be Wicked Safe!” appeared on electonic message boards in Cambridge this week, brought to you by the Cambridge police and their new bicycle safety campaign. That epistle could only be outdone by the even more dreadfully worded phrase, “Be Wicked Smaaht!,” which also appears on the message boards.

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Never mind the controversy over whether the Bostonification of “smart” is spelled with two As or one. The signs, which also feature the phrases, “Drivers: Look 4 Bikes” and “Bikes: Look 4 Motorists,” are part of an effort to commemorate National Bike Safety Month, Cambridge police spokesman Jeremy Warnick said.

The signs appear at three spots in Cambridge: Porter Square, Lafayette Square near Central Square, and Inman Square.

And Warnick readily admits: The message were totally inspired by the popularity of MassDOT’s “Use Yah Blinkah.”

They’ll be on display through the end of the month.

So, for those who think this kind-of-endearing, but mostly just mortifying trend will soon recede in the rear-view mirror: No way. Not even close.

Related coverage:

Editorial: ‘Use yah blinkah’ is wicked good safety advice

Mass. tells commuters to ‘use yah blinkah’

Martine Powers can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers.
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