Should hi-viz clothing be mandatory when walking on public streets? Some people think so.

I really wanted to write about the Onion's story: New 'Get The [deleted] Outta The Road' Program Aims To Increase Pedestrian Safety, but would have had to bleep out every second word and couldn't use the illustration. Instead, I write about a subject that isn't much different than what is proposed by the Onion: the British campaign to dress up pedestrians in high visibility clothing. Mel Finnemore, running one campaign in Rutland, tells the Stamford Mercury:

© Mel Finnemore with kids

I want to get the message across to children that it is ‘hip and happening’ to wear high visibility jackets. Some children think horses are cool, others think that of bikes, so I’m trying to show them that it’s cool to wear bright jackets like the professional men and women do. I want it to be made law for children to wear bright clothing in winter. It would save many lives.

Because you can't have people going out dressed like people, they have to instead have it beat into them at an early age that cars rule the streets and if they get hit it is their own fault.

It is really important that all kids wear an item of bright clothing in winter months to stop them being run over. People get noticed more if they are visible.

It's so true. But there are other ways to stop kids from getting run over, like lower speed limits, better infrastructure for walking, tougher penalties for breaking the rules.

My ultimate aim is that it should be made compulsory for children to use visibility bags or wear fluorescent jackets to school in the winter months to, hopefully, reduce the number of kids who get hit by cars. The Government needs to make it law.

Asia injury prevention foundation/Public Domain

Why stop there? Why not helmets too? They do this in some parts of Asia. In fact, why let kids walk at all, where they might prevent somebody from getting to work three minutes faster? Why let kids outside where it is so dangerous? Just keep them at home on an iPad and drive them everywhere.

There has to be a better way to keep our kids safe than instilling a culture of fear, that you can't go for a walk unless you are dressed up like this. We might start by dealing with the people and machines that are doing the killing instead of the victims.

Or am I wrong on this?

I have been strongly criticized by commenters in previous posts on the culture of fear and that we shouldn't be afraid to go outside. One regular notes:

I'm sorry, but honestly, the bit that, and I quote "makes it sound like pedestrians are in a war zone where they might be killed at any second:" is pretty much the list, verbatim, that my parents drilled into me when I was growing up on basic safety practices...."the whole tone of this is that it's dangerous out there". Damn right it is.


Until it comes to pass that we have real penalties for careless or reckless motorist behavior and motorists are held accountable for their responsibility to keep others on the road safe, it is dangerous out there and it only makes sense to take precautions.

Perhaps. But I don't have to like it and I think dressing kids up like this is ridiculous. What do you think?

Tags: United Kingdom | Walking


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