Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The zebras of La paz

High up in the andes in the city of La Paz, is probably the one place you would least expect to see Zebras walking about, and yet here we have quite a large population, gathering in the plazas, and on the street corners, either in herds of about 20, or just in ones or twos
Of course I am not talking about the live 4 legged creatures from Africa, but rather people dressed up as Zebras and even the occasional donkey. They are all a part of a campaign that has now been running for a number of years, that involves educating people as to how to safely cross a busy road, as well as educating and encouraging drivers to actually stop at red lights. In England we have the green cross code man, and the lollipop men and ladies, here in La Paz we have Zebras.

They normally position themselves at busy junction and animatedly wave the traffic on through until the lights turn to red. They then halt the traffic and wave the pedestrians across the road until the lights change again.

The role of the donkey is a little different as they seek to highlight to stupidity of some peoples efforts to cross the road when traffic is moving, they do so by running after them and grabbing hold of them and explaining how the person is acting just like themselves, a donkey!

It is a surprisingly effective campaign, with the number of accidents being significantly reduced since their introduction. They have also become local celebrities, and a tourist attraction as both locals and visitors like to have their photos taken with them. However, I don't think its an idea that would catch on very quickly in the streets of London!

1 comment:

John.f said...

They certainly are a surprising sight causing many visitors to Crain their necks to see. Yes we do have lollypop ladies and men but sadly due to the financial situation they are fast disappearing. Only time will tell if this was a wise thing or did it cause lives to be lost by pedestrians and those in cars showing how selfish we are. John Moulding