Because there are no urgent questions to be answered anymore, the world has plunged itself into a fierce debate over what they hear in an audio clip. Answers are still pouring in on social media, colleagues are fighting in workplaces, and late night hosts are mocking this new craze. But ultimately what everyone wants to know is – is it Laurel or Yanny?
This audio clip (below), posted by Cloe Feldman, which seems to have first appeared on Reddit, has a computer generated voice saying a word, giving two options to choose from, “Laurel” or “Yanny”. Some people hear Yanny, while others hear Laurel, and a few go back and forth between the two. It’s a truly bipolar world, thanks to this audio version of blue dress or gold.
The explanation, though, lies in the frequency at which each of us hears sounds. The video above explains the details, and even lets you hear both “Yanni” and “Laurel”.
News channels across the US discussed it in great detail on their shows, including late night hosts such as Trevor Noah and Jimmy Kimmel. In this video (above), Noah jokes, “I hear idiots,” as he plunges into the debate himself, and then comes up with a solution. “You know what we really need? We just need President Trump to tell us what he heard, and then everyone will immediately know what they think”.
Jimmy Kimmel in the video (below) swears he first heard Yanny and then later heard Laurel. But, as he points out, “Nothing has ever mattered less than this”.
People who fall through the gaps in road safety campaigns
Helmet and road safety campaigns might have been neglecting a sizeable chunk of the public at risk.
City police, across the country, have been running a long-drawn campaign on helmet safety. In a recent initiative by the Bengaluru Police, a cop dressed-up as ‘Lord Ganesha’ offered helmets and roses to two-wheeler riders. Earlier this year, a 12ft high and 9ft wide helmet was installed in Kota as a memorial to the victims of road accidents. As for the social media leg of the campaign, the Mumbai Police made a pop-culture reference to drive the message of road safety through their Twitter handle.
But, just for the sake of conversation, how much safety do helmets provide anyway?
Lack of physical protections put two-wheeler riders at high risk on the road. According to a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. Nearly half of those dying on the world’s roads are ‘vulnerable road users’ – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. According to the Indian transport ministry, about 28 two-wheeler riders died daily on Indian roads in 2016 for not wearing helmets.
The WHO states that wearing a motorcycle helmet correctly can reduce the risk of death by almost 40% and the risk of severe injury by over 70%. The components of a helmet are designed to reduce impact of a force collision to the head. A rigid outer shell distributes the impact over a large surface area, while the soft lining absorbs the impact.
However, getting two-wheeler riders to wear protective headgear has always been an uphill battle, one that has intensified through the years owing to the lives lost due on the road. Communication tactics are generating awareness about the consequences of riding without a helmet and changing behaviour that the law couldn’t on its own. But amidst all the tag-lines, slogans and get-ups that reach out to the rider, the safety of the one on the passenger seat is being ignored.
Pillion rider safety has always been second in priority. While several state governments are making helmets for pillion riders mandatory, the lack of awareness about its importance runs deep. In Mumbai itself, only 1% of the 20 lakh pillion riders wear helmets. There seems to be this perception that while two-wheeler riders are safer wearing a helmet, their passengers don’t necessarily need one. Statistics prove otherwise. For instance, in Hyderabad, the Cyberabad traffic police reported that 1 of every 3 two-wheeler deaths was that of a pillion rider. DGP Chander, Goa, stressed that 71% of fatalities in road accidents in 2017 were of two-wheeler rider and pillion riders of which 66% deaths were due to head injury.
Despite the alarming statistics, pillion riders, who are as vulnerable as front riders to head-injuries, have never been the focus of helmet awareness and safety drives. To fill-up that communication gap, Reliance General Insurance has engineered a campaign, titled #FaceThePace, that focusses solely on pillion rider safety. The campaign film tells a relatable story of a father taking his son for cricket practice on a motorbike. It then uses cricket to bring our attention to a simple flaw in the way we think about pillion rider safety – using a helmet to play a sport makes sense, but somehow, protecting your head while riding on a two-wheeler isn’t considered.
This road safety initiative by Reliance General Insurance has taken the lead in addressing the helmet issue as a whole — pillion or front, helmets are crucial for two-wheeler riders. The film ensures that we realise how selective our worry about head injury is by comparing the statistics of children deaths due to road accidents to fatal accidents on a cricket ground. Message delivered. Watch the video to see how the story pans out.
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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Reliance General Insurance and not by the Scroll editorial team.