Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Teaching the kids

The Department for Transport have been running these very artistic animated ads aimed squarely at kids.
There's a few of them, and while I broadly support anything that makes kids safer, I have a problem with where the balance lies here:



Have a look at the end: all three kids are wearing hi-viz something or the other.

That's good, I hear you say. Well yes, it is, as hi-viz vests and similar items do make you more visible, and by being more visible there's a greater chance that car drivers will see you (and hopefully avoid you!)

Except....

It isn't good at all! The ad is effectively saying we are creating a world in which even pedestrians MUST wear hi-viz items to avoid getting run over. It is saying that pedestrians that got run over when not wearing hi-viz items are entirely to blame.
It is saying cars are entitled to unobstructed right of way at high speed.

I say cars DON'T have that right! Where are the ads telling drivers to reduce their speed when it is dark?
In the Netherlands, before school holidays end they run ads alerting drivers to expect increased numbers of young people. Where are such ads in the UK?

What are we teaching the kids? Perhaps the DfT should re-read their slogan: Think!