Protective bicycle helmets are just not on the radar in China, particularly in the capital city of Beijing. We decided to raise the awareness of the advantages of wearing helmets with creative curiosity provoking projects in our local community.
Using social media such as Tumblr and Edmodo as a tool for discussion and investigation, we confronted the startling statistic that China currently has an average of 70,000 traffic accident-related deaths per year. As many students are bicycle riders we were struck by the statistic that of all those tragic deaths, 10,000 were bicycle riders.
Beijing was once the world’s greatest, and safest, bicycle city. However, in recent years, China’s love of cars has eclipsed the bicycle’s dominance of the streets. As the statistics show, cars and bicycles are a dangerous combination within a big city road network. Yet, it is a rare site to see a protective helmet being worn by a vulnerable bicycle rider. Our grade 9 class reflected upon this tragic problem, swapping research and thoughts on blogs and during classroom activities such as roleplays and surveys.
Students decided to create an awareness of the advantages of wearing a bicycle helmet. Rather than a didactic campaign we decided to lure people with humour and curiosity-provoking projects. We studied how creative and original campaigns, such as the Australian Rail safety campaign Dumb Ways to Die, effectively used an entertaining and engaging advertising campaign to raise awareness. With a complicated governance system in China, it was going to be difficult to perform actions in public places, therefore we lowered our gaze and focused on raising the awareness of our local community, hoping that from little things big things would grow.
• The creation of a mascot that would represent our campaign
• An advertisement campaign that consisted of videos and posters
• Animations and board games for children
• Comedy shows and plays for elementary students
• Computer Games: games were created using computer software with the theme of encouraging bicycle helmet wearing. A scientific test with elementary students was conducted; students had a set of bikes to ride around the playground with the option of picking up a helmet that lay nearby. Then they played the computer games and were taken back out to the playground to see if they were more responsive to wearing helmets whilst riding. There was also group of students that performed the experiment without exposure to the computer games (the Control group).
• Kids comic
• Helmet bombing: Small helmet pictures were placed on photos that populated the hallways of our school
• Decorated helmet hangings from the roof in our hallways
• Decorate Helmet Day at the sports carnival
• K-pop music and a video clip about helmet wearing
• Helmet Hunt: teams of students followed clues to a hidden helmet full of candy
• Egg head drop: Students created a protective ‘helmet’ for an egg, which was then dropped from the first floor of our school. Surviving eggs were given a prize.
• Website to showcase the creative projects and raise awareness on a broader platform.