Help for pedestrians in Calcutta from the Beattles

Rafael Consunji sent me this delightful item:

It describes the Calcutta Traffic Police’s idea of  using the Beatles to teach “unruly Kolkata pedestrians to use zebra crossings” inspired by the iconic cover of their album, Abbey Road. Posters of the Beattles crossingAbbey Road in single-file appear at busy intersections  with the caption “If they can, why can’t you?”  As the first report states, ”

It would have been a total win-win for Mr Cameron. He could have highlighted Britain’s greatest export since the sun went down on the British Empire. At the same time he could have slyly demonstrated that Britannia is still bringing the fruits of civilisation to its old subjects.” More seriously, the report states:

Traffic safety is of course serious business.  Studies by WHO have shown that in countries like India, pedestrians account for almost half of the recorded fatalities every year.

The Beatles poster. Image from Kolkata Traffic Police's Facebook Page.  

The Beatles are not just part of the establishment now. They are now being used by the establishment, not as warnings but as role models, to admonish the young into following rules and regulations.  We have to admit that whether the posters work or not in saving pedestrians from hurtling minibuses, it is a magic feeling indeed watching John, Paul, George and Ringo stride across the zebra crossing while the traffic signal blares out Rabindrasangeet.  Editors comment: I dont want to be a spoil sport and agree this is a novel form of admonishment but, based on the evidence, I am not expecting that this will make much of a difference.  Both pedestrians AND drivers need to be penalized harshly for violations that place lives at risk. And it must be done routinely, not just when the time has come for another ‘safety campaign.” 


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