Safety starts with our own behaviour

Safety starts with our own behaviour

25 November 2019 Off By Facto Edizioni

/ by Aldo Avancini /

Is a pedestrian on a zebra crossing always in the right in the event of an accident? This question gives Aldo Avancini a cue to talk about safety in leisure parks.

Ing. Aldo Avancini / Proposta Srl

A few days ago, on a sunny afternoon when I was free from my work commitments, I found myself walking blissfully (at lame turtle speed) on a road with almost no traffic, with pedestrian and cycle paths on both sides, happily taking in the autumn landscape. 

On seeing a pedestrian crossing the road at a zebra crossing without first looking to the right and left, I felt the need to tell him how simply turning his head to check for any oncoming vehicles would have made the crossing safer. “I cross at the zebra crossing, I have right of way and so I don’t look!” was his almost annoyed reply.

Given such certainty, if I were an insurer I would think twice before selling this person life insurance, and I should also say that probably at school, during physics lessons that man had never been particularly careful. Seriously though, this episode made me think and raise some questions.

First of all, I asked myself: will that person ever have thought about the different energies involved (in terms of orders of magnitude) in the event of an accident between a pedestrian and a car?

Secondly, I am not even sure that his statement was correct: I believe that crossing a road without bothering to look simply because you are on the zebra crossing is not permitted under traffic laws. On the contrary, I remember that pedestrians must in fact walk on the left side of the road, so as to see oncoming vehicles.

Finally, the concept of self-defence came to my mind, which translated means that you can’t assume that everyone will think about your safety if you don’t think about it first (you are the person directly involved and the main beneficiary).

I also thought about how many guests access various types of leisure parks with similar ideas to this pedestrian, although obviously not so explicitly: I do not think about my own safety (and obviously that of my loved ones) because here everything is surely safe! But above all, the park needs to worry about my safety!

This philosophy, unfortunately more widespread than we think, ignores the fact that safety is the result of multiple factors (ride design, construction and maintenance, training of personnel and guests, just to mention the main ones), a list that however also includes the responsible behaviour of the guests themselves! 

Leisure parks need to provide precise information on signs, pictograms and even vocally, yet it would be negative to have to think of guests as people who are completely thoughtless, who need to be guided, controlled, helped and so on. Guests must be aware that they are moving in a safe environment, where the chances of an accident occurring are negligible, yet they must also be aware that there is no such thing as zero risk: their love for themselves (in the normal sense of the term) is expressed by following the instructions of operators, by boarding attractions with behaviour that adapts to the instructions the operator has given, and so on. Being continuously distracted by our mobile phone while walking or riding, for example, certainly does not increase our level of personal safety and perhaps not even that of our children or those who are with us.

Taken from Games&Parks Industry November 2019, page 92

Ing. Aldo Avancini /  Proposta Srl /