Global campaign urges children to ‘stay bright’ as darker nights approach

12.00 | 27 September 2016 | | 12 comments

The FIA has launched a new campaign urging children to ‘Stay Bright’ during the winter months through the correct use of reflective gear.

Launched at the FIA’s ‘Safe road to school’ conference on 22 September, Stay Bright focuses on walking and cycling to school.

The campaign is supported by a host of Formula One drivers including Britain’s Jenson Button (pictured below), Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas, Romain Grosjean, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Rosberg, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

The FIA says child pedestrians and cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users, with more than 800 young people under the age of 15 years killed, and 100,000 injured, annually on European roads.

Stay Bright uses a comic, posters and a short animation to show children how to stay safe during the winter months.

The campaign was launched as part of the European Commission’s Mobility Week and will be rolled out across Europe the Middle East and Africa throughout winter 2016.

European countries where it will run include France, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Denmark, Latvia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Norway, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria and the UK.

Jean Todt, FIA President, said: “Children are the most vulnerable road users. As pedestrians and cyclists they are particularly exposed.

“The Stay Bright campaign explains in a simple way how to stay safe on the road, especially at night and when weather conditions offer poor visibility.”

In the UK the campaign will be spearheaded by IAM RoadSmart who will use its local volunteer network to hand out reflective key rings and stickers to 2,500 school children.

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said: “We all remember walking to and from school in the dark. Young school children are likely to have other things on their own minds – not road safety.

“So it’s important for us grown-ups to make sure children are aware that as drivers, we can’t always see them – and they have to literally ‘stay bright’ to make sure they don’t become a victim.

“School years, for many of us, are our happiest and enabling our children to enjoy the freedom of the journey to and from school safely, is an important life lesson as well as something they’ll hopefully remember favourably.”

The FIA Foundation is a UK-based registered charity which supports an international programme of activities promoting road safety, the environment and sustainable mobility.



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    The more often I see a campaign which appears to be aimed at one group of potential collision participants the more often I think that all potential participants in certain collision types could be engaged with together to help them avoid being involved in collisions. It may also lead to more understanding between user groups?

    Take for instance collisions involving child cyclists with motor vehicles. From my reading of casualty reports it appears that the vast majority involve some injudicious action by the child cyclist as well as the motor vehicle being present in the same road space at the same time. Bright clothing (reflective) may help the driver to notice the potential hazard approaching or at least make them aware of the other’s presence and perhaps induce a slower speed and/or heightened concentration and is certainly worth promoting. What reflective clothing won’t probably do by itself is remove the child’s propensity to act injudiciously due to the development of their brain not being complete.

    What I hope happens in such a campaign as this is that drivers awareness of more vulnerable road users is heightened and when reflective aids are talked about with the children that they are given more wide ranging road safety advice. I do not like to see a phrase such as “and they have to literally stay bright to make sure they don’t become a victim” as staying bright will not by itself ensure that they don’t become a victim!

    Agree with it or not young children are on the streets unaccompanied and this brings many potential hazards so drivers need to be aware of this and drive accordingly. I reckon giving a child their independence to travel will always be a balancing act and they certainly need the best quality advice as they develop to help them deal with the hazardous situations which they will encounter.

    Nick, Lancashire
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    I agree with John and John. Yes there is a lot drivers can and should be doing – and many do. But when I lived out in the countryside for a couple of decades with unlit lanes all around I was amazed how often people of all ages would walk on the road (no pavements or streetlights) at night in dark clothes with no torches. In my opinion those pedestrians would be putting themselves in harm’s way. It is not exclusively 100% the responsibility of the driver in those circumstances. The pedestrians also need to take responsibility for such questionable behaviour in abandoning common sense.

    Pat, Wales
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    It was the phrase “…make sure children are aware that as drivers, we can’t always see them..” that I had a problem with. We CAN see them – if we try. It seemed to be excusing the driver for not accepting their responsibilties and not trying hard enough.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    I agree with John – there is too much talk of ‘victim blaming’ in this discussion thread (and others on this newsfeed) when in fact what this campaign (and others) is trying to do is help vulnerable road users – in they case children – to protect themselves and be aware of potential dangers.

    John, Swindon
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    I think the criticisms of this campaign are somewhat harsh and unfounded. Firstly I think the approach of the campaign is perfectly valid. It’s making one simple direct point aimed at children. To claim that we are “victim blaming” rather misses the point. That’s like saying we shouldn’t teach children about stranger danger or cyber bullying. Of course, in a perfect world neither would be necessary.

    I’ve noticed the recurrent criticism of initiatives aimed at children: “Shouldn’t we be telling the drivers to …”. As a regular reader of this site I’d say that over 95% of the initiatives reported are aimed at adult road users. It’s certainly vastly over-simplistic to suggest we are faced with an “either or” scenario.

    The harsh truth is that children need to be taught about road safety. This will not only make them more aware now but also help to prepare them to be the sort of adult road users we all want to share the roads with in the future.

    John Lancs
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    Now children, pay attention, it is time for you to take responsibility for the actions of your adults. And should you survive to adulthood, you too can pass your driving test and drive with the same sense of entitled abandonment – and dont worry because should you kill or seriously injured another person we can just blame the victim. Car is king after all.

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I think the comments so far and the ‘Like’ scores speak volumes about how inappropriate and ineffective this campaign is. It might be a far better use of the money and brains to objectively review the crashes in the same way that rail, air and marine crashes are analysed to establish the true causal factors. From the images I suspect the same team that delivered other campaigns which went down like a lead balloon with those who actually experience the conditions out on the UK’s roads, where road crime is routinely ignored.

    Dave H
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    Fluorescent materials only “glow” under UV light (such as sunlight), making neon materials useless at night under artificial lamps. The claim that they are at all relevant to darker nights is dangerously misinformed.

    Even if they worked, this kind of victim-blaming is distasteful. Accusing victims of violence that they wore the wrong kind of clothes is something I had hoped we would move away from as a society.

    Nicholas Moffitt, Ealing
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    This is incredibly foolish. Drivers are responsible if they’re the ones controlling the one ton metal can, not the child using the pavement.

    Driver responsibility, it’s a concept drivers should be reminded of more often. This is an affront to drivers who actually do drive carefully and look out for hazards beside the road, as good drivers do.

    Ben, London
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    C’mon. If hi viz makes such a difference why isn’t it prescribed for cars so that pedestrians can see them more easily? As Hugh says it’s drivers that need to drive slower at night so that they can see and be seen more easily.

    I note that IAM RoadSmart are saying ““So it’s important for us grown-ups to make sure children are aware that as drivers, we can’t always see them – and they have to literally ‘stay bright’ to make sure they don’t become a victim.”

    That sounds more like a threat than advice!

    Now I wonder if there will be any logos on the key rings and stickers.

    Rod King, 20splenty for Us, Cheshire
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    “..make sure children are aware that as drivers, we can’t always see them”. A better way to put it would be: “ drivers, some of us don’t think to drive slower in the dark to look out for pedestrians and be able to stop in time..” We seem to be blaming the victims for getting in the way of the faster moving killing machines again and not shifting the responsibility to the drivers.

    Being visible in the dark is obviously sensible advice for pedestrians, but the fact that they can’t be seen via hi-vis clothing, doesn’t mean they’re not there.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    I have bought hi vis jackets for my children because motorists drive past their primary school st 40mph or more in a 30 limit and frequently don’t stop at the zebra crossing when children are trying to cross. How about telling motorists not to speed past primary schools and to stop at zebra crossings? It is not rocket science.

    Tim, West Wickham
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