Problems with Russell's colour blindness come to light on warning signs

NOT SEEING RED: Russell Moor, who experiences colour blindness, has questioned why blue and yellow are not used more often for warning signs. Photo: JUDE KEOGH  0812colour3

NOT SEEING RED: Russell Moor, who experiences colour blindness, has questioned why blue and yellow are not used more often for warning signs. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0812colour3

MOST people take red and green for granted when it comes to traffic lights and warning signs, but for the colour blind, it is not that easy.

Russell Moor recently raised a question with the Orange Access Advisory Community Committee, asking why blue and yellow were not used for warning signs when most colour blind people could identify those colours.

“I’ve always found it amazing that they don’t use blue or yellow and everything is colour-coded in red and green,” he said.

“It’s just strange that the two predominant safety colours are what 8 per cent of males can’t see.”

Mr Moor, like most people with colour blindness, cannot see red or green, but he otherwise has 20-20 vision.

He attributed his perfect driving record at traffic lights to training. 

“I know when the bright one’s on, that means go and when it’s the dull one, that means stop, then you’ve got the yellow one in the middle,” he said.

“I must have trained myself pretty well.”

However, he did not rate his clothing choice skills as highly.

“Everything matches to me,” he said with a laugh.

“I’ve often got to be told when I have to swap something - that’s why I wear a lot of blue, because I can see it.”

While he said expecting world standards on traffic lights to change for 10 per cent of the population was hardly practical, he felt there was room for awareness when it came to signage.

“One thing they could do if they put a sign in red is write it in big letters - that would make it easier for a lot of people, particularly young ones who haven’t lived with it for 80-odd years,” he said.

About 8 per cent of men in Australia are affected by colour blindness, which reduces to 0.4 per cent for women because they have two X chromosomes.

Cone cells in the eye detect different types of light and the condition is caused when cones are faulty or if the path to the brain is disrupted.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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