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Orange County Transportation Agency Offers a New Training Device for Drivers

Goal of the game is NOT to have the car as close to the bicyclist as it is in this image. Image: OCTA

The Orange County Transportation Agency really wants drivers to understand a few important rules when it comes to safe driving behavior around bicyclists and pedestrians. The agency has already released several online videos that showed a couple of bros playing a game--and educating each other about things like the 3-foot passing law.

The video campaign, called “Play It Safe,” showed two young men playing a video game--and now OCTA has released a version of the game for everyone to play. While not quite as elaborate as the 1986 Out Run video game, it has a similar throwback feel. Also, it's very short and to the point.

OCTA's Play It Safe! challenges players to make it to the finish line without hitting any bicyclists or pedestrians. Without mistakes, the game can be finished in under a minute. Upon completion, players can sign up for a chance to win an (unspecified) $100 gift card, with the deadline to register on May 31.

Here's a little background from OCTA spokesperson Eric Carpenter:

In the fall of 2016, OCTA was awarded a grant for $50,000 from the state Office of Traffic Safety to increase awareness about the need for motorists to safely share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians. As part of that effort, OCTA produced two online videos that were shared via www.octa.net/safe and through social media to increase awareness about those safety messages and, specifically, about the state law requiring motorists to give cyclists at least three feet for safety when passing.

gameplay

The game was developed through a contractor for approximately $10,000. The money for developing and marketing the game comes from federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funds. OCTA’s goal is to get motorists thinking more about sharing the road with pedestrians and cyclists and making traveling on Orange County roads safer for everybody.

The game, says Carpenter, “reinforces the safety message by putting people behind the wheel and allowing them to make the smart, safe choices.”

While the game is not complicated, the throwback style is endearing, as is the idea of using a car racing game to teach traffic safety (instead of instilling a disregard for it). It makes one wonder whether a Paperboy-styled game could be made to teach bicycling safety, but without the feeling of dread and death at every turn? One can dream.

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