Heartbreak in Costa Rica

The roads all over Costa Rica are painted with these yellow haloed hearts.  Sadly they represent pedestrian road fatalities, and are depressingly common in villages.  Whenever someone is run over by a car, the local government paints a heart where it happened.

The campaign was started in 2005 to raise awareness of pedestrian fatalities.  In a country where so many people walk, pedestrians account for over 50% of road deaths.

In Costa Rica, the pedestrian doesn’t have the right of way.  Also, sidewalks and street lighting are rare.

Driving around the country for a week last March, we saw dozens of these heartbreaking road paintings—they’re a somber reminder to be careful.

We’re participating in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday with this post.  Head on over there and check it out.



  1. says

    In Britain, they often, though not routinely, paint the white outline of a person lying on a street.

    It makes me wonder why the Costa Rican government doesn’t change the law to give pedestrians right of way and prosecute reckless drivers. They obviously care enough to paint these hearts.

  2. says

    Authorities here often try to discourage the homemade roadside memorials that go up after a pedestrian fatality. Something like this would probably serve a lot of the purpose the memorials do (remembering the person and warning drivers to be more careful) and answer some of the concerns of authorities (memorials creating distractions, obstructing vision or tattered memorials turning into roadside debris).

  3. says

    I’ve been living in Costa Rica for 6.5 years and it’s so crazy the road system here. They just don’t care about people. PLus, you see these everywhere! it’s so sad when you find out what it is

  4. Andrea says

    We live in Costa Rica since last year. Nature is amazing but cities are busy, poorly designed and dangerous for pedestrians. Those yellow hearts are everywhere. We have seen traffic accidents every day, since we arrived.
    The saddest part of all, it seems that Costa Ricans don’t care. Happiest place on earth? I doubt it…


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