Ireland’s Road Safety Authority to adopt new “Be seen, grab a brick!” campaign

Ireland’s Road Safety Authority is to adopt the new “Be seen, grab a brick!” campaign to promote pedestrian safety at crossings and other locations where motorists might not see brick-less pedestrians.

At the time of writing this article, 18 pedestrians have been killed in collisions involving motorists in just the first three months of the year.

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Road safety bodies in North America have, in recent years, encouraged members of the public to pick up a high-visibility flag before crossing roads, but a trial by Vision Zero Vancouver, a campaign group, seems to indicate that red bricks are possibly more effective than flags.

The Road Safety Authority, which is headquartered in Ballina in Co Mayo, is to trial the idea to assess the effectiveness of pedestrians carrying bright red bricks.

A source who is familiar with the plan has outlined how the pilot project will start with bricks being made available to in Ballina on the road where there is a missing section of footpath between the town centre and the RSA’s HQ.

“It fits in with the RSA’s focus on being seen and being safe, but motorists acting better around bricks than high-vis suggests that motorists can see more than they let on or that visibility is less of an issue than some motorists having little or no respect for people outside of cars,” the source said.

Bricks will be placed in baskets at both ends of the section of the road where the footpath ends. The current “footpath ends” signs are to be replaced with signs aimed at motorists with the text: “Caution pedestrians have bricks”.

A smaller sign aimed at pedestrians will explain that waving the brick around will help brick holders to be seen by motorists.

The same setup will be applied at the entrance to the industrial estate where the RSA is based — the pedestrian gates are currently a mix of locked and welded shut. Because there is apparently no way to open the gates, pedestrians will be given bricks as they have to walk on the roadway around the closed gates.

The source added: “Pedestrians who get startled and accidentally drop their bricks on cars that come too close to them will be indemnified — if anything the legal liability will fall on motorists.”

VIDEO: A HGV passes by the blocked pedestrian gates outside the RSA’s HQ in Ballina.

For clarity: Because it’s hard to tell the difference between parody and real life sometimes: would like to highlight that this article was published on April 1st. It’s clearly an April Fool’s Day article. The story about the RSA planning to trial bricks as a safety measure is not real and none of the quotes are real.

Unfortunately part of the reason why it’s so hard to tell the difference is because the part of the article that outlines the lack of footpath to the RSA’s headquarters is real.  The locked and welded pedestrian gate is also real, this website really did cover the issue last October.

This situation at and near the RSA’s HQ has persisted for over a decade. covered it last year, but there has been no change since then.

Both the section of footpath missing and the locked gate are located where RSA employees working at the HQ have to pass every day. Unfortunately, it’s not the only location in the town or in other towns and cities where random sections of footpaths are missing, and there is no urgency to address the issues.

Of course, missing sections of footpaths are also just very obvious flaws in a system built to favour driving — the issues at the doorstep of the RSA include a lack of safe crossings, no high-quality cycle routes, and little to no traffic calming, including to use razed crossing platforms at zebra and other crossings when such rased designs are standard even in other parts of Co Mayo.

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    • The real April fools are those drivers on mobile phones who don’t even know they have just broken a red light. It happens every day on the fonthill road Dublin.

  1. I don’t know if the RSA has the imagination to try something as advanced as this idea. Clearly an April fools joke. Thanks Cian.

    • Sorry, that should have read April 1th. It was saved before midnight but was publihsed at 9.50am on April 1st. This is an issue with the WordPress app saving the last saved rather than the published time.


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