Pedestrians: Small children walking across an intersectionEnlarge Photo
In a disturbing, but awesomely funny display of depth perception, Canada is taking a very low-tech approach to help deter speeders near the Ecole Pauline Johnson Elementary School in West Vancouver, Canada.
Officials have a new way to get people to step on the brakes--by painting an image of a child playing in the middle of the road.
The two-dimensional characters even have the perfectly chosen name of "Pavement Patty."
While it's a great idea to help drivers slow down--not to mention saving your car’s suspension--it could have some unplanned repercussions. About 100 feet from the image, an optical illusion takes effect. As a driver approaches the image, the character suddenly seems three-dimensional--and anyone who is driving the recommended speed of 18 mph should have plenty of time to slow down or stop, before truly making a Pavement Patty. If they're paying attention, no problem. if not? Plan for some late braking ahead, Canadians.
On the other hand, there is some concern that drivers will become used to the visual speed bumps and that they may lead to more pedestrian accidents. But David Dunne of the British Columbia Automobile Association Traffic Safety Foundation said, "People tune out. It takes an attitude shift for people to change.
People should easily be able to tell the difference between the image and a real child, he added.
"If a driver can't respond to this appropriately, that person shouldn't be driving, and that's a whole different problem."
The lesson for today: the next time you're in West Vancouver, Canada, make sure you think twice before ignoring the fake little girl playing in the road.