Driving in Nigeria is an extreme sport, what with the incessant blaring of horns, the danfo drivers in their rickety yellow buses stopping in the middle of the road, causing an instant traffic jam, to motorcycles overtaking on all sides. But what is more extreme is the number of Nigerian drivers who show absolutely no regard for zebra crossings. The O2 Academy, a creative and brand communications school in Lagos, has come up with a solution that will get drivers to stop.
This Is Africa spoke to Uzom Mbanefo, the Provost of O2 Academy, where the design for the 3D zebra crossing was conceptualised. The school has been in existence for the past 11 years. Uzom said, “O2 Academy is the first advertising school in the Middle East and Africa, aside from South Africa, to win Loerie awards at the biggest advertising festival.” The school participated in a Facebook challenge targeting students at advertising schools across the Middle-East and Africa. The students of O2 Academy won bronze for their campaign against cholera.
The 3D zebra crossing was the result of a student project that was done towards graduation. The O2 Academy students sought to solve the hit-and-run problem that many school children experience when they walk to and from school. Uzom told TIA the students painted a real 3D optical illusion zebra crossing in front of a school in the area where O2 Academy is located. “From the driver’s perspective, (the zebra crossing) is an obstacle; from the pedestrian’s perspective it is flat. Within 24 hours, the 3D zebra crossing was able to get drivers to slow down and allow pedestrians to cross,” he said. The hope is to replicate the 3D zebra crossing across Lagos and Nigeria, and to achieve the same change in driver behaviour.
The first 3D Zebra crossing in Nigeria made by @02academylagos is causing a lot of positive feedback!
Lagosians have you come across it yet?
Do you think this is a solution to hit and run accidents ?
— Rhythm FM (@937RhythmFm) April 30, 2019
The tragedy of hit-and-run accidents
TIA spoke to the brains behind the 3D zebra crossing, Adeola Jaiyesimi. He said he wanted to solve the problem of hit-and-runs, which account for 50% of road accidents in Lagos. “When drivers got to the 3D zebra crossing, they were puzzled, trying to decide if those were actual pillars (on the road) – until they saw people crossing. We spent eight to nine hours painting the zebra crossing,” Jaiyesimi told us.
The reaction of residents to the zebra crossing was welcoming, with residents pointing out that many children in that area had been hit by speeding vehicles. O2 Academy is trying to obtain the support of the Lagos government to paint their 3D zebra crossings across the city.