Hologram of girl warns B.C. drivers to be alert
Published Tuesday, September 7, 2010 12:18PM PDT
A 3-D image of a young girl chasing a ball into the street is the newest effort to prevent pedestrian accidents in West Vancouver.
The $15,000 illusion, paid for by Preventable.ca, will be installed for a week beginning Sept. 7 on 22nd Street near Ecole Pauline Johnson.
Indistinguishable from afar, the 3-D image of the girl will gradually appear as drivers approach her. She will be most realistic from 30 metres away and then disappear as the driver gets closer.
The goal of the installation isn't to scare drivers into screeching to a stop or swerving their cars. Rather, she is supposed to cause drivers to jolt out of their regular routine and pay attention.
Mark Jan Vrem, spokesman for the Insurance Corporation of B.C., told ctvbc.ca that ICBC supports the initiative.
"We are fully on board with anything that makes drivers slow down and stay alert. We think it's a great idea and a good reminder to drivers to always yield to pedestrians."
Jan Vrem also encouraged parents to take an active role, especially with back to school right around the corner.
"Make sure your kids don't cross the street in the middle of the block and talk to them about how to be safe in congested areas," he said.
According to Preventable.ca, most child pedestrian-related injuries occur in September and October. Every week, two children die in B.C. from being hit by a car.
ICBC reports that 2,600 pedestrians are injured from motor-vehicle related accidents in B.C. every year and 67 of those people die as a result.
In an effort to reduce accidents, Preventable.ca has partnered with the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation hoping this new and avant-garde display will drive home the message.
David Dunne of the safety foundation told ctvbc.ca that traditional safety messaging wasn't making enough of a difference.
"People tune out. It takes an attitude shift for people to change," he said.
Dunne said that drivers aren't the only ones who need to stay alert. Pedestrians need to take responsibility as well.
"Pedestrians need an attitude shift too," he said. "They have to realize that just because they are in a crosswalk doesn't mean they are safe. In fact, most get hit while using crosswalks. The tragedy is that the pedestrian is going to pay the price whether they are right or wrong. Everyone has to expect the unexpected."
Dunne remarks that he doesn't think the illusion of the girl running through the road will be a hazard.
"It's a design manoeuvre that's designed to be catchy. It's a static image. If a driver can't respond to this appropriately, that person shouldn't be driving and that's a whole different problem."
The 3-D optical illusion is the first of its kind in Canada. In 2008, a program called Drive CarePhilly in Philadelphia used 3-D illusions of speed bumps in an attempt to slow drivers.
Dunne says the project is a sign the attitude in B.C. is changing.