19 October 2011

Ignoring the HGV in our Collective China Shop

With apologies to Copenhagenize.

The recent spate of tragic deaths caused by HGVs (and one very lucky escape) seems to highlight an absolute denial amongst many people to consider questioning either;

(a) Why are gigantic powerful vehicles where the driver cannot see the first 3m in front of them (amongst other blind spots) are allowed to freely navigate their way around our cities, or;
(b) Why can't these huge lumbering death traps be designed so that they are not quite so deadly for those unlucky enough to be within a few meters of them.

Stuff doesn't have to the way it is now. HGV cabs could look different. Roads could look different. We are allowed to change things.

By the way, the poster below is not a design solution. It barely qualifies as a sticking plaster (produced by the Road Haulage Association - standard victim-blaming technology):

Label to be added to the backs of HGVs

In the 1920's, gut wrenching and visceral campaigns were run by organisations seeking to try and tame the deadly rise of the motor car in cities. Shocking images were used to portray the trail of destruction that the new-fangled motor car was leaving, particularly amongst the young. It very nearly broke the car industry, who survived in part by becoming heavily involved in safety campaigning themselves and changing the focus by blaming instead the children who were playing in the streets. The ancestors of this paradigm are posters like the one above. However, things are different today and an all-out assault on the government focusing on the unimaginable horror of being crushed by an lorry might prove more fruitful. How tragic that even thinking that way should be required at all.

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