"This is a joke, right?"
That was pretty much the reaction from every Calgarian who read Metro Calgary's article detailing a suggestion from the city that pedestrians carry fluorescent flags across busy crosswalks to avoid being hit by cars.
Tony Churchill, the city's leader of traffic safety operations, went before council Wednesday and pitched the idea to put flags in buckets at intersections — what he believes is a cost-effective way to keep pedestrians safe.
But, wait. The flag doesn't actually make the pedestrian safer, he said. Rather, it's how the flag is used.
“You hold the flag out until you have a driver’s attention and they stop, and you don’t step in front of the vehicle until the vehicle is stopped. Then you cross part way and you make sure the next vehicle is stopped.”
Churchill told council the flags and buckets are much cheaper to implement than, say, overhead crossing lights or painting ladder crosswalks on the street.
— Metro Calgary (@metrocalgary) November 5, 2014
While Calgarians are all for keeping pedestrians safe, some pointed out the impracticality of the idea, arguing the flags would constantly be stolen or that drivers should just be more alert when approaching intersections.
Most people, however, just laughed and laughed.
— Victoria Pleavin (@pleavin) November 5, 2014
@metrocalgary - you have got to be kidding me.
— Steve Konkle (@SteveKonkle) November 6, 2014
— Cameron Young (@CpaYoung) November 6, 2014
Others weighed in with their own (possibly more practical) solutions:
— Danny Haines (@HainesDanny) November 6, 2014
— If U got it, fold it (@yycfoldingcycle) November 6, 2014
@metrocalgary maybe have everyone where a nerf suit
— Kimberly May (@ugottabekiddin) November 6, 2014
And these kindred spirits? They came to the very same, very disturbing, solution:
@metrocalgary How about arming pedestrians to shoot out tires of texting drivers?
— Tom Gillespie (@pcrtomgillespie) November 6, 2014
— Westgate, Calgary (@CalgaryWestgate) November 6, 2014
Churchill defended his idea, adding other North American cities have had success with similar programs.
But if Twitter's reaction is any indication, we don't think Calgarians will be keen to fly these flags any time soon.