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The cheapest form of life insurance you can get

December 2, 2005
You only had to wait a day… I told you I was stewing something up!
 
The fall and winter season in Finland is very dark. I have lamented about this several times in past entries – but this time around I will not whine about it. Let’s turn our attention to safety. (I am an occupational health and safety rep. at work so I will allow myself to discuss the subject here…) After moving here in 1998, I noticed that people could buy these reflectors to put on their coats and jackets during the dark season – the point being that they are visible to other people in the dark, especially people driving cars. What a great idea… I jumped on that. I am the proud owner of at least a few funky looking reflectors.
 
The Finnish traffic safety authority, Liikenneturva (http://www.liikenneturva.fi/en/index.php) points out some very dismal statistics when it come to pedestrian deaths after dark. In some 50% of cases where pedestrians have been killed after dark, wearing a reflector may have saved those lives – that adds up to almost 70 people between 2000 and 2004. It is actually enshrined in LAW that people must wear reflectors – even in well-lit urban areas. In poorly lit areas, only some 40% of people use reflectors to make themselves more visible to drivers and other pedestrians. It’s a fact that drivers may not be able to see pedestrians in the dark; pedestrians mistakenly think that headlights and lights in urban areas will make them more visible. If you don’t believe that reflectors are effective, have a look at the picture gallery here: http://liikenneturva.magazine.fi/gallery/turvalaitteet/Py_r_is_lapsiheijedest and click the >> button to advance to the next pictures.
 
The capital region free newspaper Vartti (http://www.vartti.fi/) did a survey in downtown Helsinki recently. In 15 minutes they counted the number of people who were in the vicinity of Finlandia Talo, one of the city’s famous landmarks. They saw 55 pedestrians – a young man on a bike, a middle-aged couple out for an evening walk, two women and a pram, a group of ten runners… and not one of them was wearing a reflector. In fact, just 4 out of 55 pedestrians Vartti staff saw were wearing reflectors – not including the people on bikes (because obviously, they have reflectors).
 
According to other media reports – the folks least likely to wear reflectors are teens and seniors. It sounds like a public campaign is in order; at least it has been made an issue in the media. It’s a smart practice – I wonder why they don’t do it in Canada? (At least not where I am from anyways…) To me it is common sense, man- you can even buy reflective harnesses for your pet. If you value the life of your own pet so highly, then I think you also deserve the same treatment.
 
Don’t leave home without one – it just might save your life.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. Diana permalink
    December 22, 2005 1:31 am

    Think that it’s a great idea – often when I’m driving at night pedestrians will just charge onto the street out of nowhere and they’re very hard to see. Then those same people will get pissed off at you for being in THEIR way – heaven forbid they should cross where they’re supposed to and make themselves visible!

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