Interview: Be A Safe Pedestrian Campaign

Interview with Road Safety Team about Be a Safe Pedestrian.


With the responsibility for safer roads and safer pedestrians always at the front of their minds, the Road Safety Team is spending the next six weeks focusing on the safety of young, and sometimes vulnerable pedestrians with its ‘Be a Safe Pedestrian’ campaign.


Why are you targeting 17-24 year olds and why now?

It’s a new term and the time to party. We knew that we wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we didn’t give them a few things to think about at the time when they are out at night in Sheffield either as a fresher, new college or returning student. We see young people out at night drinking (we do want them to enjoy themselves in this fine city by the way!) and after a few drinks they sometimes spill out into the road, not thinking about their own safety or that of their friends. We’re thinking about drivers too and how they need to be careful in those situations where pedestrians might not be able to think quickly and sensibly.


Did you ask young people how safe they think they are?

We did. We talked with groups of college and university students and many of them were the first to admit that when out partying and socialising they are often not careful pedestrians. So, we asked them to design a campaign with us.


 What did the young people come up with?

They looked at past campaigns with us, both national and local, and told us what would work or not work in the future for them; what would switch them on to the message and what would make them ridicule it and therefore take no notice.  They told us not to bombard them with words and statistics or any patronising ‘youth language’ and made it clear that the campaign should show the perspective of the driver. They said the time when they stop and think when they are out drinking is when they go to the washrooms. And that’s exactly where they told us we should put the campaign.  So we did.


Who designed the poster message?

Our designers came up with two really interesting concepts and they were given to the young people for their opinions. They chose the ‘eyes’ concept, the ones that look out at you and grab your attention. We tweaked the campaign wording with them too and they chose ‘Don’t just walk into the road, will the driver see you in time?’ Simple message really. The hardest bit was coming up with a message about being a safe pedestrian from the perspective of the driver.


Do you think the campaign will work and which venues are involved?

We hope so. We’ve followed what our target group asked us to do and hopefully that will pay off.  24 venues are taking part in the campaign and they have been really keen asking for more posters in the first week of display.  These are Corporation, Plug, Leadmill, DQ, all the Forum group including The Forum café bar, Old House and Common Room, University of Sheffield,  Revolution, Viper Rooms, Crystal, The Harley, The Wick at Both Ends, Frog and Parrott, The Great Gatsby, The Washington, The Hop, The Green Room, Champs, O2 Academy, The Locker Room, SOYO, Bloo 88 and Maida Vale. A big thanks to all of them.  If the campaign works in Sheffield it will be down to them and The South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership will then want us to roll this out across the whole of South Yorkshire.


What would you like 17-24 year pedestrians to do now?

Be safe and look after each other when out drinking. Like Exposed on Facebook and Twitter, and tell us where you have seen the poster – we'd like to hear any views that you have about being a safe pedestrian.


We would like to thank all of the people involved in this campaign, especially the 17-24 year olds, who have given us invaluable feedback.




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