Friday 17 July 2009

Signspotting: The belly laugh of travel

Need a break from all the worries of the world with a belly laugh? You've come to the right place. 


Compiled by Doug Lansky 

Finally, the third collection of hilarious signs from the team that brought you Signspotting and Signspotting 2, each of which enjoyed runaway success with worldwide sales of around 100,000 copies. And that was before the GFC gloom descended! 

US national and resident of Sweden, Doug Lansky has been collecting photographs of funny signs for 15 years – ever since he was caught off-guard by his early travels. Now, 40,000 photos later, and with more coming in every day, he is up to his third collection. And it's the best yet. 

This Australian edition of Signspotting 3: Lost in Translation features more than 130 of the most amusing and absurd signs that you will see this year. 

It's hard to imagine a world without signs. No stop signs, no arrows, no speed limits, no warnings. No bright colours screaming for your attention. Take a good look next time you step outside - signs are virtually everywhere. In the county of Kent, England, alone, they discovered they had 140,000 signs. 

But do we really need them – any of them? In 2007, the German town of Bohmte (population 13,000) decided to remove all of their signs and street markings. 

Why? Because they wanted to make their roads safer. They had tried speed traps and cross walks – the usual fixes – but those didn't seem to keep the cars and trucks from racing through their main street, treating pedestrians and cyclists like expendable supporting characters in a video game. 

Taking a page out of the reverse psychology handbook, Bohmte decided drivers were too comfortable with signs – to the point that they ignored them. By removing them, they believed drivers would get nervous and hit the brakes. 

What happened? One eyewitness, Tony Paterson, a newspaper reporter from London's Independent, noted that vehicles that 'pass along this stretch of sign free road seem to be driven by swivel-headed paranoiacs with rubber vertebra. They crawl along at little more than 15 miles per hour (25 km/h), their occupants constantly craning their necks to make double sure that they are not going to hit anything, be it a pedestrian, cyclist, or even another car.'

RRP $16.95

ISBN: 978-1-74211-652-5

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