Saturday, 12 September 2015

Keeping our kids safe, with better level design and video games.

Our local bus stop used to have a safety problem. All the school kids would line up, frantic to be first on the bus.

The front kid would stand with their toes hanging over the curb. The next one behind them, peering over their shoulder, and so on and so forth... They would stand that way in pseudo-formation, for agonizing minutes at a time, as the cars zipped past on the morning commute. Finally the enormous school bus would swing in and stop mere centimeters away from the nose of the kid in front.

Just one tiny fumble, or even just one loud boisterous dog, could have spelled tragedy.

I spoke about it with the other Mums and Dads. I know from designing levels in video games that there's an easy fix we use for these kind of problems. I told them someone could simply paint a yellow “Do Not Cross” line on the ground, and the kids would naturally do the rest, even when the parents weren't around.

For the record, I've never defaced public property, nor would I encourage anyone else to do the same.

Yet some anonymous do-gooder has gone and done just that:

Vigilante safety engineering - a yellow "Do Not Cross" line has been painted at this local school bus stop by an anonymous parent, obviously over the concerns about child safety.

All the kids now line up a safe distance from the road, and the possibility of tragedy at our local bus stop has been dramatically reduced.

Well sure, this act of civil disobedience might not be able to protect the neighbourhood kids from the harmful rays of the sun, mindless advertising, unvaccinated kids or bad language... but at least now the kids at my local bus stop line up further away from the traffic.

If you have a concerns about traffic safety at your bus stop, here's one small thing that any anonymous do-gooder can do, that will actually make a difference, all thanks to better level design and video games.