Oh, Canada. In an inventive, but frightening effort to slow down motorists, the city of Vancouveris deploying a new type of visual speed bumps that look like children. The “speed bumps” feature an image of a child chasing a ball that through an optical illusion appear to be three dimensional when cars get within 100 feet of the image.
As you can imagine, there’s plenty of controversy around these “speed bumps” and the global press is going crazy over this story. Many people find the optical illusions too shocking. We wonder how many motorists might panic at the sight of the illusion and ironically swerve away and cause an accident.
Preventable, the non-profit behind the controversial “kiddie bumps,” posted the following information on their website to help inform people about their efforts to slow motorists down:
- Preventable, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, and the District of West Vancouver launched this pilot project as a back to school initiative to raise awareness about more kids on the streets this fall and drivers’ awareness in school zones during the critically important first week of back to school. This project will exist for one week only to capture drivers’ and pedestrians’ attention.
- The 2D decal gradually appears 3D to drivers approaching the image. A risk assessment of this project shows that drivers do not mistake this image for a real girl and can see the image 100 feet away. The image does not “jump-out” at drivers and there is no “startling effect”, the road conditions on 22nd Street are very good for this project, which is precisely why this location was selected. Sight lines are perfect northbound along the road and to the cross streets. Although the community continuously grapples with unsafe driving behaviors in this particular school zone, twenty-second (22nd) Street in West Vancouver has a very good vehicle crash record. The number of crashes since 1996 (the earliest year for which we have records) is insignificant. This was also an important factor in choosing the site as the best location for the project.
- A public awareness program was started in advance of implementation of this project to inform drivers and the public of the image.
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