New DfT game blames children for car/pedestrian collisions

For 'Be Bright Be Seen', read 'Light up or Die'

by Dave Atkinson   October 29, 2010  

Be Bright Be Seen

Some of you might remember the mess the DfT got themselves into over the Knockin' Noggins game they featured on their website in May of last year. The basic premise was that you could use a mallet to whack unlidded children on the head to 'teach them a lesson'; not surprisingly there was a furore and the game was quickly pulled.

However, the warning shots don't seem to have deterred the game makers and now the site features a new game - Be Bright, Be Seen - in which children who aren't wearing enough hi-viz clothing get run over by cars despite appearing to do their best to adhere to the Highway Code.

'Dress brightly in cool gear if it's hospital you fear' runs the rather awkward strapline and the basic premise of the game seems to be based on the classic blame-the-victim mentality that's beloved of the car-centric meddlers in central Government. Start the game and children start to walk towards a busy road, and you're supposed to click on them to add hi-viz gear to their appearance.

Click enough and they cross the road safely; get it wrong and despite the kids stopping to look and listen and otherwise behave in a sensible manner, there's an accident. 'Oh Dear', opines the game next to an image of a broken child, 'the cars didn't see you' - as if that's an unavoidable consequence of failing to light yourself up like a Christmas tree, rather than any failing on the part of the motorist.

Somewhere buried in there there's a sensible safety message: it's a decent idea for kids to wear bright clothes after dark. But that message is lost in the unimaginably crass and tactless way that it's conveyed. For all that you can say 'It's just a game', it's a blatant reinforcement of the car-is-king worldview that seems to come from the top of Government down these days. Just look at what's actually happening in the game. Some children are going to a funfair, and attempting to cross the road in a safe manner, doing the things they've been told to do. Despite this they get hit by a car that's going too fast. And we're supposed to think this is the child's fault?

Get a grip, DfT.

14 user comments

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Remind me again who pays the wages of these comedians.

Change of government, still the same stupid civil servants at the DfT.

Done Nightrider 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Parkinson's UK. Next year Ride London

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [660 posts]
29th October 2010 - 18:01


At a time of cuts, can,t they axe the sick ba$$ards who came up with this? It is time we started taking the idea of safer roads for everyone seriously!

posted by Kim [208 posts]
29th October 2010 - 18:50


Really can't believe that somebody was paid to come up with this b******s!!! Yes the message needs to be out there to be visible BUT motorists need to realise that there are other roadusers out there. It seems to me that it does not matter how visible pedestrians and cyclists make themselves, motorists still do their damndist to try and run them off the road!!! Only the other day while on my commute with three rear lights, hi-vis jacket and scothlite a bus still atempted torun me off the road missing me by mere inches!!! The sooner motorists remember their responsibilities to other road users the better!! Rant Over

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1184 posts]
29th October 2010 - 19:37


Why stop there? how about showing a stab victim and blaming them for not wearing a stab proof vest?

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [811 posts]
29th October 2010 - 20:26


I cannot see any complaint button on the game's page itself. But there is a comments form on the press release page for it, elsewhere on the Directgov web site. Sure, it'll only get sent to some PR schmuck, who'll ignore it, but it made me feel better to post this:

This "game" is appalling on about 5 billion different levels. Why is it the child's fault when they look both ways only to mown down by a, clearly speeding, motorist? Why isn't the street itself lit - was the lighting budget spent on pointless PR stunt web sites like this one? It quickly becomes impossible to "light up" the throngs of kids wanting to cross the road. So why isn't there a proper crossing, or a police officer, giving the hundreds of pedestrians right of way over a few selfish motorists?

posted by handlebarcam [545 posts]
29th October 2010 - 20:45


What amazes me is that the DfT goes to all the expense and effort to 'educate'vunerable roadusers yet we see nothing being directed at the behavior of motorists!! Meanwhile here in Glasgow the council is currently leafleting cycclists on their expected behavior on roads and cyclepaths!!!

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1184 posts]
29th October 2010 - 21:43


plus, of course, turning all the street lights out Plain Face

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7852 posts]
29th October 2010 - 22:26


I vaguely remember in my childhood T.V. ads that told people how to drive - dip don't dazzle ect, can we put a tax on car manufacturers, and the like, so they have to make up to date versions of these public info ads and run them at prime times?

posted by 37monkey [144 posts]
29th October 2010 - 23:08


time for a remake of 'get yourself seen' too, that's the ultimate PI film Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7852 posts]
30th October 2010 - 7:37


The problem is also that it's not just children! I see no end of people - men and women - going to and from work dressed entirely in black from head to foot (as winter clothing generally is) with nothing reflective or bright about them, and some don't look too carefully where they're going. All road users need to take care and look out for each other but I was horrified to see a man in dark clothing dart across a very busy road in complete darkness last night - with headlights causing dazzle in all directions he was just a shape, a movement, and not at all visible. I think it would be a great idea for garment manufacturers - especially of coats - to put some kind of reflective weave into outerwear!

Oh and I would *love* it if parents taking their kids to school would obey the Green Cross Code - crossing a road at a corner without looking is the most popular one - just yards away from a zebra crossing...

posted by RuthF28 [99 posts]
30th October 2010 - 8:38


All sounds a bit rubbish - by comparison the biker safety film on TV just now with the bike hitting the side of the car places the blame squarely on the car driver. If the DfT can get that right, why can't it do the same for cyclists?


posted by OldRidgeback [2576 posts]
30th October 2010 - 9:07


I've taken on board the info in get yourself seen (above) - I didn't have white paint so I've painted my carbon bike with magnolia emulsion and used some strips of parcel tape too, as I had no reflective tape. That's my bike pimped, I'm off into town to get a nice silver cycling jacket now Cool

posted by 37monkey [144 posts]
30th October 2010 - 16:20


Well done 37monkey - 'cos if you ever decide to sell your carbon beasty it will be easier to shift in magnolia colour according to all the home makeover types!

Blackhound's picture

posted by Blackhound [466 posts]
30th October 2010 - 17:50


While we're at it can we get rid of black/dark/grey coloured cars.

I don't care if they lights on - so do a lot of cyclists but they are told they have to wear brightly coloured clothing in addition to this.

Why is everything so unbelievably car-centric. When are the government going to have some balls to stand up for what is right rather than pandering to the votes of motorists?

The Casati Owner's Club says - "Drink your Coffee strong"

posted by simonaspinall [10 posts]
1st November 2010 - 12:14