A new social experiment suggests that ‘sexy crossing patrols’ could be part of the solution to reducing the number of pedestrian casualties that occur in town and city centres at night.
The social experiment, which was conducted over two hours on a busy road, observed 370 people crossing the road and used hidden cameras to monitor behaviour.
When the ‘sexy patrol’ was not present 43% of the sample chose not to use the crossing provided, but instead crossed within around 20 metres of it. When the patrol was present, the number who ignored the crossing fell to just 8%
The effects of the experiment are shared on a new social video launched today by the Safer Roads team, in the hope that it will draw the attention of a wider audience to the risks associated with being a pedestrian at night.
The experiment was prompted by a new study carried out by Road Safety Analysis in partnership with Road Safety GB, which shows that while there has been a 48% reduction in the number of child pedestrian injuries in the last 10 years, at 22% the progress in reducing the number of adult pedestrians has been much slower. This means that as a proportion of all casualties, the number of adults injured while walking has been rising year on year.
The report, ‘Things that go Bump in the Night’, was launched last week at the National Road Safety Conference. It also shows that impairment through alcohol is a major factor in night time collisions involving pedestrians, and because people have been drinking they are less aware of the risks that they are running.
Richard Owen, operations director for Safer Roads, said: “At this time of year there is always a big focus on drink driving but drunk pedestrians are also a serious concern. Shockingly one in eight pedestrians who are killed or seriously injured on our roads are drunk at the time of the crash.
“It can be very hard to connect with young adults, especially if they have been drinking, but what we have clearly demonstrated here is that their behaviour can be influenced if we can find the right means.”
Dan Campsall, communications director for Safer Roads, added: “This may not be a realistic approach to improving pedestrian safety in our towns at night, but it has demonstrated that we can make a difference to the safety on our streets when we develop creative campaigns on the basis of the evidence.
“What’s clear from our filming is that pedestrians and motorists alike certainly take care and slow down a lot more when they are reminded of how to use a pedestrian crossing properly”
FOOTNOTE: the campaign was covered on BBC South Today on 4 December.