Optical illusion attempts to save Vancouverites, but flaws in execution may lead it to do more harm than good

school zoneOn 22nd Street in West Vancouver, every motorist is going to nearly collide with a young girl chasing a ball across the road.

This phenomenon is fiction, however, in that the girl and the ball are 3D optical illusions.

t’s already on the big screen, but now a 3D image is being used on the streets of West Vancouver in an attempt to jolt reckless drivers into reality.

David Dunne of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation told The Globe and Mail, “We need to expect the unexpected because anything could happen, whether it is a 3D image on the road … or whether it’s a live child or a dog running in front of the car, these are all things that we have to be able to control for in a vehicle.”

The concept is that motorists see this girl, and get a jolt of possible reality—if she had been real, would they have been able to stop in time? “You’ll see this image start to rise off the pavement and it will look like a little child is crossing the street. As you get closer to the image, the image recedes into the pavement,” David explained.

The $15,000, one-week project is flawed, however. A driver who believes the image to be real with either swerve out of the way or slam on the brakes—the former of which becomes dangerous for everyone in the immediate area, and the latter of which may cause an accident between the driver and the vehicle behind them.

Furthermore, I’m reminded of the tale The Boy Who Cried Wolf. If drivers get used to driving over this girl, that’s only going to make the school zone more dangerous because when a real girl appears, who’s to say she isn’t an optical illusion?