“Can you see it coming?” That’s what the sign read just beside the massive banana peel on display in front of the London Drugs on Georgia and Granville St. We ventured from our office earlier in the week to grab a photo and learn more about the peculiar giant fruit.
We had seen people posting about the supersized peel on Instagram and were (obviously) compelled to go check it out for ourselves. It was an odd sight for sure and the typical lunchtime rush of tourists, students and business people certainly seemed caught off guard by what they were seeing. Lots of people staring, taking photos, laughing and discussing whether or not this was the latest addition to Vancouver’s iconic public art initiative or a prank in the vein of the city’s infamous naked devil statue.
As we were taking a photo, a young woman approached us and asked if we wanted to know more about the installation. It turns out that the installation was part of a new initiative from Preventable, The Community Against Preventable Injuries, a province-wide organization that’s made it their mission to reduce the number and severity of preventable injuries in BC. The banana was not so much an art pop-up (or ode to Mario Kart) as it was an important reminder that 90% of serious injuries aren’t random, unconnected, unpredictable events. They happen because we close our eyes to the risks that are right in front of us.
While the banana was a bit on the quirky side, the message it sent and the work Preventable does is seriously important. We reached out to them to find out more about their cause:
“This campaign challenges the assumption that ‘bad stuff might happen to others, but not to me,’” says Dr. Ian Pike, Co-Executive Director of Preventable and Director of the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit. “Every day, we take risks that we know can lead to injury—we speed on our way to work, we text while crossing the street. The banana is an exaggeration of the risk that is right in front of us. Because we can see it coming, we can prevent it from happening.”
In 2013 alone, over 550 kids were admitted to BC Children’s Hospital with a serious injury, and more than 9,500 injured children visited the Emergency Department. In fact, injury is the leading cause of death of British Columbians aged 1-44. Every year in BC, there are approximately 2000 deaths due to injury—that’s 1 death every 4 hours and 24 minutes.
The colossal fruit is no longer on display on Georgia, but more installations will be popping up this summer, so keep your eyes peeled. And while the banana is gone for now, its reminder is still clear; there’s no such thing as an accident. Most injuries are both predictable and preventable, so stay alert and stay safe.