Optical Illusion Speed 'bumps'

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#1

An amusing and novel approach to encouraging people to slow
down.

(Linked below since the URL would stretch over the width of
our terrible forum software)

I saw that the other day and I thought to myself that that is quite possibly the stupidest idea
I've ever seen.

Let's assume for a moment that it will not cause a rash of collisions from inattentive drivers
suddenly seeing a child in front of them and slamming on their brakes or swerving to miss. No,
what kicks this into Ultra-Mega Bone-Head realm is the idea that you'd *EVER* want to
condition drivers to see a child in front of them and then (slowly) drive over them.

Fracking stupid.

Why would they use a picture of a child when it has been proven by science that a helmet-less cyclist with a wig on would be far more effective.

Yep, no doubt the authorities involved didn't for a second consider the first thing that pops into everyone's head who hears about it. No doubt they didn't see if it was working in other places first. No doubt drivers can't tell the difference between what's pretty obviously a stationary image and an actual moving child, especially when the image turns into a ginormous stretched visual as you get closer.

Maybe they are these magic disappearing children everyone keeps talking about? I saw a documentary about it. It was called 'Harry Potter and the Crosswalk of The Blatantly Obvious' Rent the DVD. It's bundled with the how-to video 'How to Look Foolish by Rushing To Judgment."

No doubt the BCAA and preventable.ca said, 'hey, let's see if we can get sued... and kill some kids at the same time!" No doubt the seven days in which the decal is in use will inculcate all drivers everywhere to ignore kids on the street for the rest of recorded history.

Yep, sounds plausible to me. Want to know how to not have this magical thing make you gibber and cower in fear at the mighty magic of Merlin the Traffic Wizard? Drive the speed limit in a school zone. What a concept.

Watch the linked video. If you can't figure out it's not a real kid, please turn in your driver's licence and ask your Mom to put velcro on all your clothes, because buttons and zippers are really gonna mess with your head.

You are as guilty of short sightedness as they.

Good hard looks at children or forced perspective images of children aren't ever going to be
an issue. Surely even you admit that there are distracted, unobservant, or impaired drivers on
the roads. For those types of drivers (who are vastly more likely to hit something), they don't
get a good hard look at what they wind up hitting. They're not paying full attention to the
road. They use partial information to drive, they make assumptions about what is and what is
going to be in front of them at any given time.

The first time you see this, you'll pay attention. The 10th time, you'll ignore it. By the 30th
time, you'll be so used to seeing this, you won't even notice it any longer. This is planting the
notion in the heads of drivers that 'that kid ahead is one of those weird graphics'.

What makes this so very much worse is that you're TEACHING DRIVERS TO EXPECT AND
IGNORE THE IMAGE OF A CHILD IN THE ROAD RIGHT NEXT TO AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!

What happens next time they're looking at the radio, or checking their text messages while
driving by that school? Out of the corner of the eye, they see a child. They expect that child is
there. They see that child *every single day*. They ignore that child.

That is incredibly dangerous.

Anything other than *STOP!* as the first response to seeing *anything resembling* an image
of a child in the middle of the road is deadly.

--

Think of the reverse. Would you want your child to stand in front of an SUV, hiding behind a
cardboard cutout which, from a distance looks a lot like the clear road, but when you get
closer is *obviously* not clear road, and is in fact an obstacle to be avoided?

Hell no.

--

PS: Keam, I love that the primary gist of your snide rebuttal is an appeal to the authority and
good sense of our governing bodies (you do love your appeals to authority I have noticed, but
generally it's not the 'powers that be'). Hmm, those same groups advocated that the Sea to
Sky Highway improvements would increase safety. Why didn't you believe them then?

"The first time you see this, you'll pay attention. The 10th time, you'll ignore it. By the 30th time, you'll be so used to seeing this, you won't even notice it any longer."

It's going to be up for one week in one school zone Temple. A similar experiment has been tested in other places (two years ago in Philadelphia, and data collected to see if it caused more accidents). It's a short term attention-getting device being used on a trial basis. Do you really think the BCAA's safety council and preventable.ca didn't do their homework? Do you really think the city would let them put down road markings that would contribute to accidents? Does that strike you as a realistic scenario? A lawsuit over a dead child would effectively kill their credibility for all time. No one would ever take such a risk without making sure it had at the very least no appreciable downside.

Keam (paraphrased): "I'm sure they knew what they were doing."

Bet your child on it?

I don't believe I ever said the Sea to Sky Hwy improvements wouldn't increase safety. I have said I didn't think they were the best and most cost-effective way to go about it. I love how you fire-up the Way-Back machine every time you go off half-cocked in the present.

Anyway, ignore my arguments. Let's hear your reasons why this is such a bad idea and how you're smarter than the average traffic engineer, who would never consider the exact issues you've outlined.

Hey bud, you're getting real close to crossing a line there. There's a delete function. Use it.

Keam: "Hey bud, you're getting real close to crossing a line there. There's a delete function.
Use it."

Did that hit home? I'm sorry it's quite relevant. This is an issue about child safety. You're
waving your hands and saying 'they're smarter than us, I trust them'. That's a dangerous
attitude at the best of times. People (even those who *should* know better) can make serious
mistakes. Blind, unthinking faith is not something I'd ever advocate.

When I called upon you to put yourself in the shoes of those who may be affected, things
changed. I certainly wouldn't want that in front of my child's school (any child's school, any
where actually), it sounds like perhaps you wouldn't either?

I won't be commenting any further Temple.

You pissed me off so here goes:

"Did that hit home? I'm sorry it's quite relevant."

It's absolutely off-base and anyone with class would know better than to make such a comment. You just wanted to get a rise out of me. Congratulations. You did. I think you're an even bigger jackass than previously, which is no mean feat.

"This is an issue about child safety. You're waving your hands and saying 'they're smarter than us, I trust them'."

No, I said your perceived concerns had been addressed and if you do even a cursory read of the original article you can see it's been approved by ICBC, the BCAA, and preventable.ca. I don't have blind faith in government, but grab a clue Sherlock, would all three orgs make this mega-bonehead move without some serious examination of the possible consequences? Of course not.

"That's a dangerous attitude at the best of times. People (even those who *should* know better) can make serious mistakes. Blind, unthinking faith is not something I'd ever advocate."

Good thing I actually looked into it before opening my pie hole. Try it sometime. Your problem is you can't imagine you're not the smartest guy in the room. That's why you ended up looking like an idiot and behaving like a dick in this case.

"When I called upon you to put yourself in the shoes of those who may be affected, things changed. I certainly wouldn't want that in front of my child's school (any child's school, any where actually), it sounds like perhaps you wouldn't either?"

Absolutely wrong. You said would I risk my kids' life? Of course not.

I would however love to see enhanced pedestrian safety near my kid's school, esp when three organizations concerned with road safety are endorsing the idea.

You got your ass handed to you four posts in and now you're trying to save face. Too late. You showed your true colours. It doesn't matter what's right, as long as you think you've 'won' the argument. The only thing you've won is the booby prize, for dragging someone's child into the discussion. If would be a different thing if I had brought it up, but you are so far out of line it's really not funny and kind of pathetic frankly. Man up, apologize and delete the offending comment.

That is more like it, good way to wake up in the morning!

When I saw the original post I was thinking that someone made an optical illusion of a real speed bump, which I think might be a good idea if they could pull it off, maybe.

Temple - You lost this one big time! It has nothing to do with the comment about risking a life, but the point you seem to miss is that this system helps and does not hurt safety. Accepting that, and at this point I do accept that because CK has done the leg work, then your comment that you would be against a similar program at your kids school actually endangers lives. Please stay away from my kids school!

For this (and other) topics, you make assumptions and then fail to back them up. Saying that we should not blindly trust government is an ok argument if you can back it up, but you can't use it as the club to "prove" that every idea government comes up with is bad.

So stop giving me your opinion based on nothing and show me that this program will endanger anyone or make any driver less safe. Show me that study and I will read it. If all you have is your own baseless assumptions then follow CK's advice and say you were wrong here.

m2c

Also - Props for Dugly for getting this started...well done Sir!

m2c

I think Philly's approach is better (see link, including useful analysis by an actual civil engineer, rather than David Dunn of the BCAA, with his Masters in Communications & Social Marketing).

Using the image of a child is political at best.

Thanks m2c!

I posted and then when I came back there were 11 responses! Obviously we all
sit around hoping for one of these to get going, and frankly at some point we
should just abandon old ones 'cause they degenerate (we're a bunch of
degenerates after all)

I admit, I got through the first 3 posts laughing my ass off, congrats to
responses 1 - 3.

let's abandon this one now (rather than our usual 3 day degeneration
turnaround) and start a new one so we can have more posts full of win!

oh, and yah, bringing someone's kids into the discussion seems pretty
weaksauce.

I've backed up my opinion with my rationale. Others have backed up their opinion with 'they
know better, I trust them'.

I'll say it again:

You're teaching drivers to expect and to ignore the image of a child in the road right next to
an elementary school.

That *will* be an effect of this program. That *is* stupid.

Fake speed bumps that slow traffic: good idea.
Crying wolf on a child being in the middle of the street: terrible idea.

--

Seriously, is the counter argument that crying wolf about a child in the street, in order to slow
traffic, will cause *no* additional risk over other equally effective means of traffic calming
(fake speed bumps)?

emd By emd

Heck, why fake speed bumps? Just use real ones! I live on what should be a
quiet street and me and my neighbour want to put up huge speed humps in the
middle of the night to slow down the yahoos who drive fast in a residential area.

But I agree with CK, this is just a one week trial. Perhaps they'll use it for a few
days then put it somewhere else, like a radar trap. This will not train anyone to
ignore a child's image. Maybe they'll change the image all the time?

"Heck, why fake speed bumps? Just use real ones! I live on what should be a quiet street and me and my neighbour want to put up huge speed humps in the middle of the night to slow down the yahoos who drive fast in a residential area."

I am quoting the nytimes article linked above.

it less expensive ($500 each, versus $2,000), does not impede water flow and poses no threat to ambulances or other speeding emergency vehicles.

I am inclined to believe the government on this one. They obviously did their research on the bike lane trials, and as you can see on a daily basis, there are now thousands of cyclists using those lanes at all times.

"That *will* be an effect of this program. That *is* stupid."

Positiveness is an absurd foible. If you are in the right, it lessens your triumph; if in the wrong, it adds shame to your defeat.
- Laurence Sterne

"there are now thousands of cyclists using those lanes at all times. "

Excellent point, but not entirely accurate.

Over 160,000 trips for the protected lane on the Burrard Bridge in July actually. Over 5000 trips a day, but probably the actual number of cyclists is half that, assuming they use the bridge both going and returning. See link.

In fact, it would only take one cyclist per minute per day for the total to be 1440 bike riders a day. Although of course there will be times when there are no cyclists using it, just as there are times when there are no cars on the bridge either, there are peak times when there are many more cyclists on the bridge at any one time.

School is now back in session and still no sign of the September gridlock predicted by nay-sayers either. A great initiative. Too bad it took nearly twenty years to make it happen. One can only imagine how many more West Siders would have discovered the benefits of bike commuting by now if we'd gone ahead with the idea when it was first considered.

/Yes, I know. Welcome to sarcasm judo class

Well, they did estimate close to 120,000 trips without the lane, so that's close to 4000 trips a day without it. So we're looking at about 500 more cyclists for July, and I guess that's a start. Of course, July had the biggest increase, over the course of the year the numbers look far less spectacular. I only brought this up because, as someone who lives out in the boonies but makes frequent trips downtown for various concerts/events (and transit is not usually an option due to work), I've hardly seen anyone using these lanes, and have only seen mild chaos on the routes around the lanes (almost exclusively the Dunsmuir lane). I honestly wasn't sure they were even being used at all, after at least a dozen trips downtown over the summer over both routes and seeing less than a dozen cyclists use them. Believe me, I'd love to see a downtown core reserved for cyclists and pedestrians. But there are a ton of other issues that need to be resolved, I'm not entirely convinced that not having more of these lanes is the only thing keeping cyclists off the roads.

"One can only imagine how many more West Siders would have discovered the benefits of bike commuting by now if we'd gone ahead with the idea when it was first considered."

Sounds like a job for removing the helmet law. Surely that would increase numbers. That is of course, until people start realizing that doing anything at high speeds without some sort of protection is just, well, silly.

And to get back on topic of this thread, I'd really have to drive up to one of these "speed bumps" and see for myself. It might be cool to look at, but other than that, what long term purpose will it serve? I do think that people will eventually tune them out, I'm not so certain they'd tune out a moving child, but I could see what Temple is getting at. Maybe an image of a rhino or zombie would be more effective.

"I'm not entirely convinced that not having more of these lanes is the only thing keeping cyclists off the roads."

It's not. And no one is making that claim. But it's consistently cited as one of the biggest stumbling blocks, and allocating a protected space has been shown to work in numerous cities around the world. People ride more when they feel safe. Especially women, kids, older people etc. Basing cycling infrastructure on the needs of experienced, skilled cyclists is liking making a ski hill without green or blue runs, you're limiting your potential customers to a very small segment of users and creating a huge barrier to entry for novices.

I kinda like it. Much more engaging than ordinary signage, I think that, in the context of the school zone, it actually delivers a poignant message to motorists -- a child could realistically appear less than 100ft away at any time. Hopefully, that first unexpected encounter is sufficient to jolt motorists into appreciating the real-life risks of driving at speed down that road.

Will this message affect everyone that way? No. Will it affect $15 000 (Pavement Patty is extraordinarily expensive, apparently) worth of people that way? I don't know. I do feel, though, that it has affected me just by making me think about it.

As for worries of psychological conditioning, I think this concern is a legitimate one. Without further evidence, however, I suspect the benefits outweigh the risks. While drivers in Philadelphia probably learned to ignore the illusory speed-bump, I conjecture that they still recognized real speed-bumps when they saw them. Of additional comfort to me is the knowledge that real children are vastly more animated, colourful, and diverse than a speed-bump or a single Pavement Patty.

After all, although I don't pay much attention to mirages these days, I don't feel that I've been conditioned to drive into an unexpected lake.

Pavement Patty would be a good name for a burger made of roadkill!

I LOl'ed Fast Runner.

"So we're looking at about 500 more cyclists for July"

Per day. In one year. A 25% increase despite gaps in the cycling network at either end.

atanarjuat: "As for worries of psychological conditioning, I think this concern is a legitimate
one. Without further evidence, however, I suspect the benefits outweigh the risks. While
drivers in Philadelphia probably learned to ignore the illusory speed-bump, I conjecture that
they still recognized real speed-bumps when they saw them. Of additional comfort to me is
the knowledge that real children are vastly more animated, colourful, and diverse than a
speed-bump or a single Pavement Patty."

You and others are looking at this from the wrong perspective.

I suspect that none of you have driven over a child. Likely because you are in the majority of
conscientious, diligent, competent drivers.

However, children *do* get run over, far too frequently (once every never is too frequently in
my book). This is surely almost always done by people who are already missing out on the
visual clues of real, colourful, animated children (I suspect that few children are run over on
purpose).

So we have very real cases where, for whatever reasons, people are making assumptions
about the road in front of them that do not include *real* children that they then hit. But of
course some of those times when a driver is distracted (unobservant, impaired, etc) and
there is a child in front of them, they manage to pick up on some peripheral visual clue to
avoid that child.

So, we've got a *chance* of a child being hit when they are in front of an
unobservant/distracted driver. Some get hit some don't. (I hope we all agree on this point).

Does anybody really think that adding an expectation of the image of a child where children
often cross the road is going to have *zero* effect on that risk of getting hit? You're
effectively conditioning drivers to ignore the peripheral visual clues that sometimes are
already being missed.

Expecting to see a child out of the corner of your eye (it's only that illusion I drive past every
day) can only *increase* the chances that a real child will be ignored by these few drivers
that drive recklessly enough to hit a child.

--

The idea that the benefits outweigh the risks doesn't hold any water. A fake speed bump (of
the likes they've used in other cities) would presumably have the same benefits, but would
certainly have none of the other risks.

No, we can all get behind optical illusions as traffic calming devices. The boneheadedness of
this is that they're *also* crying wolf about a child being in the middle of the road.

Read the fable again. It's a good one.

You have consistently failed to address the single most important facet of the arguments against your premise. How is it that a program which would increase the likelihood of children being hit somehow managed to be approved by:

ICBC
BCAA
preventable.ca
City of West Vancouver (you need permission to paint on the road)

and probably a few others that I can't be bothered to mention or research at this time, such as the authorities who approve road markings and traffic signage. Until you come up with an answer to that, your arguments and long rationalizations are a waste of time for everyone.

"Read the fable again. It's a good one."

The funny thing is that you are playing the role of 'boy' in this instance.

Keam: "You have consistently failed to address the single most important facet of the arguments
against your premise. How is it that a program which would increase the likelihood of children being
hit somehow managed to be approved by:"

You do realize that that isn't an argument right?

Ignoring the rationale raised against the issue and countering with 'I'm sure they thought of that'
isn't an argument in itself, it's an expression of (in this case blind) faith.

I realize that you've consistently ignored the fact that your argument has no merit and that you have failed to come up with a single example to corroborate your contention.

On the other hand, It's been pointed out that similar projects had good results, and this project has the backing of a number of agencies involved with promoting safety, the people responsible for approving road markings, and is a one week trial being undertaken with their permission. More research shows the West Vancouver police, as well as the school also back the project.

You need to come up with either a better argument or some corroboration for the one you have. You've done neither. It's over unless you can convince someone (anyone) that your dire predictions are a foregone conclusion (which is exactly what you have claimed).

Keam: "I realize that you've consistently ignored the fact that your argument has no merit
and that you have failed to come up with a single example to corroborate your contention."

I realize I'm talking to a stump (ha ha.) when it comes to this next bit, but I'll indulge.

You see, whether or not my argument has merit isn't established as fact, it hasn't even been
countered with anything resembling rationale. Saying it is without merit is meaningless.
Saying *why* it is without merit, while avoiding logical fallacies, is not meaningless. That's
the essence of debate. When you make your constant appeals to authority, you don't
strengthen what you say, or weaken what I say. What you're doing is *not arguing*. You're
only expressing your faith in others.

In essence, you're saying 'you are making points on the issue, but I cannot speak to them, I
trust that others know better than us'. While that's nice, it's not productive debate, and it's
certainly not an argument.

--

Keam: "On the other hand, It's been pointed out that similar projects had good results"

Relevancy fail. The effectiveness of 3d-looking images on the road at traffic calming is not
in question. The question being discussed is whether *this particular* image has additional
risks, without additional benefits, over the more traditional 3D-looking images.

--

Keam: "You need to come up with either a better argument or some corroboration for the
one you have. "

The thing about rational debate (which I've never seen you be able to participate in), is that
one does not have to *prove* the question. Debate is pointless on questions that can be
proved with evidence. Debate is a tool used to examine questions for which there is no clear
evidence one way or the other. In order to debate, one has to present their assertions and
back those up with their rationale. The strength of the rationale for or against can persuade
an opinion on the question.

In countering a claim, one cannot say 'That won't happen because [insert proper noun]
believes that won't happen.' While that faith may actually turn out to be correct, it's not
actually a counter-argument.

It's over. You haven't made a strong enough case to consider your argument one worth debating.

Keam: "You haven't made a strong enough case to consider your argument one worth
debating."

Ah, so my argument is so easy to rebut that you won't even bother to do so (though you will
go to extensive bother to repeatedly write in this thread just to say that).

Tell me, when you read what you wrote above, does it sound absurd to you?

Thanks for your... participation?... extremely active non-participation?... in this thread.

paraphrasing:

Careful drivers won't be fooled by image. Careless drivers will become accustomed to image, and when it's a real child... go through mental gymnastics to convince themselves it's a picture. In other words, careless drivers spend more time thinking about what's in front of them than careful drivers. Fail.

"Let's assume for a moment that it will not cause a rash of collisions from inattentive drivers suddenly seeing a child in front of them and slamming on their brakes or swerving to miss."

Image doesn't work that way (suddenly) It gradually rises up as driver gets closer and then recedes. Did not or appears not to have actually paid attention to article. Fail.

"The question being discussed is whether *this particular* image has additional risks, without additional benefits, over the more traditional 3D-looking images."

Lack of supporting evidence to bolster argument or provide any proof beyond poster's say-so. Fail.

That spurt of posting is actually quite funny.

When I point out that you've spent considerable time addressing the fact that the points I
raise are not worth addressing, you come back with.

1. A (significantly inaccurate) paraphrase of my position, followed by a repeat of your
non-participation thus far, summed up in a single word "Fail". Aside: "Fail" can be a lot like
the word "Because" in an argument. If you use "Fail" in *conjunction with* an actual
argument, it can be a humourous way of punctuating that argument you are putting forth.
Similarly when you use "Because" as part of an actual argument, it can serve to strengthen
that argument by providing evidence for a claim. However, when your argument *solely
consists* of "Fail!" it's a lot like an argument which solely consists of "Because!".

2. An actual counter-point to something I wrote! Unfortunately, it was the one thing I
specifically said that we were going to assume *will not be an issue*, and that counter-point
was arguing as if I said *the exact opposite*. This different discussion may be a valuable one
to have, indeed it is a question that does arise, but I don't actually see a serious concern,
and thus wanted to filter it out of the scope of the discussion (which of course you did the
exact opposite).

3. Again a repeat of the refrain: 'you're wrong, but I'm not going to say *why* you're
wrong, it would be too easy, and isn't worth my time'. An argumentative approach even more
absurd than "Because!"

--

Too funny.

I can't wait to see what's next. I'm guessing it will feature an appeal to authority by
dropping in a quotation from a somewhat notable person whose very notability, in your mind,
lends credence to their pithy maxim (forgetting that a quote from a notable person can be
pulled out of context to support *every* point of view).

No, scratch that, I'm guessing it will be a post in which you (again) declare that you won't be
posting any more on the subject, likely featuring a churlish parting shot.

What we definitely won't see is any sort of rational response to the question at hand.

Why not just use both?

Optical illusion that is painted over an actual speed bump?

Traffic Cone: "Why not just use both? Optical illusion that is painted over an actual speed
bump?"

I'd guess it's cheaper, yet just as effective, to make an actual speed bump, rather than
making an actual speed bump and then painting it to look from a distance like a speed bump,
but when you get closer you see is actually a speed bump with a picture of something else on
it.

If you skip the actual speed bump, it's cheaper (and there are apparently other advantages
for water flow, emergency vehicles, etc).

All you have to do Temple is convince me and the half dozen other people who've commented on this thread how it is that a half-dozen agencies charged with various public safety responsibilities managed to overlook a problem that you consider painfully obvious. You don't even have to convince... just provide a plausible, reasonable measure of doubt.

One small thing, which you keep avoiding. That's all. Maybe some examples from other similar projects. Or some studies on driver attention. Pretty much anything other than 'because I believe it to be so.'

Otherwise, there's nothing there. I'm not interested in debating you. I'm interested in reality. This isn't the debating club. You've made some pretty serious accusations and guaranteed there will be negative outcomes. You need more than 'BikerCK can't argue properly' to back it up.