18 June 2012

Culture of Fear Sale!

It's amazing the stuff you find at the supermarket. Lookie here. Found this an hour ago at my local Netto.

The profiteering inherent in a Culture of Fear in one cheap and cheesy reflective triangle. 25 kroner. 5 bucks.

The text in the middle of the warning triangle reads "children in the street"

As an added bonus I also got a "child's birthday in the area" warning sign, as well. You could just leave that one out permanently - there must be a birthday going on every day of the week.

I'm sure we'll all agree that children should be able to play in the street in residential areas. As they have done for the entire 7000 year history of cities - oh, except for the past 80 years since traffic engineers starting bowing at the alter of the automobile.

And I'm sure that many of you would love to slap a whole forest of these signs up on your local street. Great if you did.

My point about the Culture of Fear is that we are seeing all manner of products appearing out of the blue. Capitalising on all this constructed fear that society is experiencing.

Products like this sign are perhaps also a reaction to the inability - and unwillingness - of traffic engineers and planners in our cities to curb the pestilence of the automobile. Citizens have to do it for themselves. Which we are seeing all over the world over the past few years. Citizens painting bicycle lanes, closing off blocks for liveable streets days, etc.

On the other hand, organisations like the Danish Road Safety Council - Rodet for Sikker Panik must hate signs like these. They go against their immoveable doctrine that cars must rule our streets. They are busy recommending - among other nonsensical ideas - that traffic calming trees along country roads be cut down. Cars must go faster and trees will only get people to slow down.

So... goofy sign bought cheap at Copenhagen supermarket... loads of interpretations.


Miles Bader said...

Why do they want trees to be cut down ...? I mean, car drivers generally like pretty roads too...

[I have seem some obnoxious over-trimming because overhanging limbs "interfered with traffic", and some car owners massively complaining about certain types of trees because the seed pods would drop on their parked cars and make a mess, but ...]

Anonymous said...

and those kinds of signs are official policy in the states - someone in an urban neighborhood complains about cars speeding through a neighborhood filled with children, the city slaps one of these up:


and drivers continue speeding while ignoring sign that says there are less than intelligent children in neighborhood.

Anonymous said...


If one leaves the carriageway in ones car, those pesky trees slow you down a bit too efficiently & you end up severely injured or worse.

Maybe a good reason amongst all the others to drive carefully?


Signs are (very) cheap, but since when did any sign cause people to act correctly?

rorowe said...

Like these little plastic guys that are popping up everywhere?
I'm older now, but I still miss being able to play basketball, while on rollerblades, in the middle of our quiet neighborhood street. We'd move out of the way, calmly, for cars or cyclists, then carry on.

Anonymous said...

Ditto with crossing guards. If you need adults in uniforms to help children cross the streets on the way to school, you are tacitly admitting that you have traffic problems. You are also suggesting that children can't safely move about at other times. Strange though, people have a very difficult time seeing this argument.