Preventable, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, and the District of West Vancouver have launched a 3D illusion geared to make drivers slow down at high-risk intersections.
If you’ve read the Vancouver Sun, Province, or National Post articles or heard interviews on Vancouver radio and TV programs about the illusion, you’d know that drivers near 22nd street in West Vancouver will be confronted with what seems like a young girl running after a ball in front of their vehicle. In reality, it’s a decal on the pavement that looks like a real person. Signage near the 3D image reads “You’re probably not expecting kids to run out on the road.”
Let's get this right. You are concerned about the number of children killed on the roads. So you put an anamorphic decal on the road that looks like a child running out after a ball. This will slow drivers down and make them think twice about their responsibilities, right?
I can think of three catastrophic side-effects of this apparently radical idea:
1. Driver sees the decal, slams on the brakes, swerves and mounts the pavement, taking out a bus queue. Three children die, because the driver was trying to avoid an inanimate image. We know that people brake unexpectedly for speed cameras and have caused accidents, so this is not an unforeseeable consequence.
2. Driver kills a child and in court argues "but I thought it was a decal". It's Canada; he's in with a chance.
3. The worst, and the most predictable: drivers will become desensitised. The first time you pass the decal, you will slow down and think, as the designers wanted you to. But if that decal is on a regular route, you will pass it tomorrow. You will slow down, and perhaps say to your passenger "hey, look at that cool decal!" The next day, you won't even slow down. In effect, you have been taught to ignore the image of a child in the road. And it won't help if they change the image and move the location. You will then learn to ignore children in the road wherever you see them. What's that? Ah, it'll be a decal. Squish.
How ever this idea got beyond the coffee-time brainstorm I do not know. Did no-one from 'Preventable' think it through? Do they employ no-one with an atom of common sense?
To add an extra layer of stupid on top of the championship, exhibition stupidity already demonstrated, they have placed the decal on the far side of a pedestrian crossing - distracting drivers with an inanimate image at the precise moment that they should be concentrating on looking for stray (real) pedestrians.
Apparently, it's not a spoof. If you read the comments on the original article, however, the good citizens of Vancouver have not been slow to make their feelings heard.
Other blogs have covered this well, (Dick Puddlecote wins the prize for Best Title with "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?", also Longrider and Civil Libertarian) but I couldn't let this one go by unremarked.
H/t to Anna Raccoon for the link.