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

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.

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

14 comments

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jova54 [667 posts] 6 years ago
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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.

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Kim [239 posts] 6 years ago
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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!

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giff77 [1258 posts] 6 years ago
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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

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TheHatter [770 posts] 6 years ago
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Why stop there? how about showing a stab victim and blaming them for not wearing a stab proof vest?

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handlebarcam [803 posts] 6 years ago
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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?

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giff77 [1258 posts] 6 years ago
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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!!!

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dave atkinson [6262 posts] 6 years ago
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plus, of course, turning all the street lights out  22

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37monkey [138 posts] 6 years ago
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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?

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dave atkinson [6262 posts] 6 years ago
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time for a remake of 'get yourself seen' too, that's the ultimate PI film  1

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RuthF28 [101 posts] 6 years ago
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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...

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OldRidgeback [2662 posts] 6 years ago
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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?

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37monkey [138 posts] 6 years ago
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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  16

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Blackhound [447 posts] 6 years ago
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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!

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simonaspinall [10 posts] 6 years ago
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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?