Signs of the times

May 9, 2016

They may be controversial, but they sure grab your attention

The buck don’t stop here

Did you know that deer are among the deadliest animals in North America? It’s not because of their superior attacking skills—it’s just that they’re really bad at crossing the street.

In fact, deer-vehicle collisions are responsible for around 150 fatalities and 10,000 injuries every year.

With that in mind, officials in Mitchell County, Iowa, felt they needed something more impactful than a traditional “Deer Crossing” sign to warn drivers about deer on Highway 105.

So instead they had new signs created that read “Suicidal Deer, Next 2 Miles.”

The unorthodox approach was intended to draw attention to a very real danger, but the signs have been met with controversy.

While some local residents appreciate the humor, others feel that the signs trivialize tragedy and could be themselves a distraction to drivers.

The county purchased four of the signs but so far has only put up one as a trial.

By the way, if you do encounter a “suicidal” deer, research shows that it’s much safer to just hit the deer rather than try to swerve around it.

That’s because you’re much more likely to survive hitting a deer than you are a head-on collision with oncoming traffic, a tree or a ditch.

This rock don’t roll

In many places, a giant rock in the middle of a street would be considered a nuisance.

But in the English village of Soulbury, Buckinghamshire, it’s considered a landmark.

For centuries, the local residents have treated the 3-ft boulder in the center of town as a beloved feature of their community. That’s because the stone is believed to be millions of years old and has likely called the area home long before any people did.

Respect for the rock is so great that when a road was laid through the area long ago, they didn’t try to move the rock—they just built the road around it.

And so the community lived in harmony with the giant stone in the middle of the street for generations, until this year when a motorist ran into it and demanded $25,000 in compensation.

That led the county council to investigate whether the landmark posed a threat to driver safety and should be moved or demolished.

Villagers were quick to get involved in the debate, starting up a “Save Our Soulbury Stone” Facebook group and even vowing to chain themselves to the rock if necessary.

In the end, the council came around, saying it would be “lunacy” to move the boulder, but that it would look into ways to make the road safer.

So where did the Soulbury Stone come from and why are residents so protective? Legend claims that the rock is actually the petrified foot of the devil, which was cut off during a battle with the villagers.

However, local historians have a more rational explanation: The stone is likely a deposit from a melting glacier that disappeared across the south of England at the end of the last Ice Age, about 11,000 years ago.

What’s in a name?

For the second time in four years, the town of Embden, Maine, is asking residents to change the name of a street called Katie Crotch Road.

No one seems to know who (or what) Katie Crotch is or how the road came to bear the name, but it’s costing the town hundreds of dollars each year to replace its oft-stolen street signs.

“You put it up and in a week’s time it’s down again,” Charles Taylor of the town’s board of selectmen told the Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel. “You would think every dorm room in the state of Maine should have one by now.”

In 2012, residents voted against shortening the name to “Katie Road.” This time around, they’ll vote on whether to rename it “Cadie Road.”

If Embden thinks it has a problem, they should talk to the folks in Fucking, Austria. After an unsuccessful attempt to rename their village, officials resorted to welding their signs to steel posts cemented into the ground.

Shitterton, England, took an even more creative approach to theft-proof signage. After the district council gave up entirely on replacing stolen signs, a group of civic-minded citizens each chipped in $30 to have the hamlet’s name engraved on an unmovable 3,000-lb boulder.

About The Author: Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news since 2000. The stories are all true.

Sponsored Recommendations

The Science Behind Sustainable Concrete Sealing Solutions

Extend the lifespan and durability of any concrete. PoreShield is a USDA BioPreferred product and is approved for residential, commercial, and industrial use. It works great above...

Proven Concrete Protection That’s Safe & Sustainable

Real-life DOT field tests and university researchers have found that PoreShieldTM lasts for 10+ years and extends the life of concrete.

Revolutionizing Concrete Protection - A Sustainable Solution for Lasting Durability

The concrete at the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center is subject to several potential sources of damage including livestock biowaste, food/beverage waste, and freeze/thaw...

The Future of Concrete Preservation

PoreShield is a cost-effective, nontoxic alternative to traditional concrete sealers. It works differently, absorbing deep into the concrete pores to block damage from salt ions...