I've always been confused by signs lie 'No timewasters'. Are there really gangs of people roaming the streets looking for opportunities to waste your time? I think we should be told. And how about all those 'Baby on board' signs in the rear windows of cars? What are they for? Are they meant to make the driver behind think to themselves ... 'Oh, I was going to ram that car but now I'll keep my distance'?
I was driving back from Oxford on Friday when I hit roadworks on the M40. A host of speed camera signs then informed me that 'average speed cameras' were in force.
Like me, you must see these signs all the time. But has it ever struck you, as it struck me on Friday, that it's a really odd choice of image? I mean, the icon is a very old style of bellows camera with a film winding spool. Speed cameras came along way after normal SLR type cameras had been invented so why on Earth did the Department of Transport choose such an ancient model of camera? It made me wonder if the younger generation would even identify it as a camera, rather than just recognise the symbol. Here's another oddity:
It's the sign meaning 'Danger! Wild animals!' of course. But why a deer I wonder? It's hardly the most common wild animal you're likely to come across (although we do see a lot of muntjac around these parts). If the sign is warning you about a creature that may lumber onto the highway, surely a more likely candidate would be a fox, rabbit, hedgehog or maybe badger? Deer just seems to be the most unlikely animal you could hit other than something like a mink or an otter.
The ubiquitous 'Men at work' or 'man struggling with umbrella' sign would, I feel, have benefitted from the depiction of a shovel. But, let's be honest, a more realistic symbol would be a JCB style digger. Or maybe a traffic cone.
This one could be seen as just plain insulting:
So, maybe it's time to 'rip it up and start again' as 80's art rockers Orange Juice exorted us. If we were to take British road signage and redesign it from scratch for the 21st century ... what symbols would you use and why?