September 19, 2018 4:05 pm

‘Please slow down:’ Safety illusion installed in front of Kelowna school

An optical illusion called Pavement Patty, similar to the one in this video, has been installed in front of a Kelowna elementary school to remind motorists to slow down in school zones.

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New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

An optical illusion aimed at reducing driving speeds has been installed in front of a Kelowna elementary school.

The illusion, called Pavement Patty, is a realistic drawing of a young girl chasing a ball. By placing it on the street in front Rutland Elementary, it’s hoped that it will remind drivers to slow down in school zones. According to a new survey conducted by BCAA, the results showed poor driving habits in school zones.

A different angle shows just how long the Pavement Patty optical illusion really is.

Jim Douglas / Global News

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The illusion is printed on weatherproof and skid-proof vinyl. A sign teasing “In a rush at a school zone? Seriously?” first alerts drivers. Then, as drivers approach, they see the optical illusion of Patty appearing to cross the street. As she comes into view, she serves as a reminder to drivers to slow down.

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BCAA said the illusion made its debut in 2010 and was the first of its kind in Canada. At the time, Pavement Patty was highly successful in generating conversation about school zone safety.

“Children should be safe in school zones,” said BCAA CEO Shom Sen. “It’s our responsibility as organizations, drivers and parents to take this aspect of road safety extremely seriously.”

READ MORE: Failing grade for drivers in Saskatoon school zones

The survey, conducted last week for BCAA by Insights West, quizzed elementary school principals and teachers, as well as parents who drop off and pick up. Results show continued poor driving behaviours witnessed in school zones.

  • 80 per cent witnessed speeding.
  • 73 per cent witnessed not stopping for crosswalks.
  • 78 per cent saw parents encouraging their kids to do unsafe things, such as crossing at a non-designated area.
  • 74 per cent report no improvement in key driving behaviours, saying levels of distracted driving, ignoring road rules or traffic signs are about the same as or worse than last year.
  • 56 per cent witnessed at least one near miss – a child almost hit by a car – this back to school week.

Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s director of community engagement is concerned about the results and is determined to work with Preventable because “we’ve got to get the message through to parents to stop rushing in school zones.”

Dr. Ian Pike, co-executive director with Preventable, says that over the past 10 years, hospitalizations and deaths among child pedestrians have not changed.

“We have brought back Pavement Patty to remind drivers that even at low speeds, children can be seriously injured or killed,” said Dr. Pike. “Slow down, leave the phone alone, and give the road your full attention.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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