Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Efficient fake

I like this trivial news item, which provides us with a fine demonstration of innovative imagination and private enterprise. Down in the city of Fréjus on the French Riviera, a retired gentleman was fed up with motorists disregarding the speed limit on the bend in the road where his house is located. There's a sign stating that the limit is 30 km/hour, but most drivers dash around the corner at more than twice that speed. And there are never any gendarmes at this spot to catch speeders. So, the guy decided to take the matter into his own hands. He did this by building an empty wooden box that he set up on his front fence.

At a glance, it looks a little like the familiar radar machines installed on the edge of highways.

But the rectangular openings are quite different, and the black-and-yellow stripes around the edge of the empty box are not slanted. The fake radar nevertheless had the desired effect. Vehicles now rounded the corner at 20 km/hour. The local gendarmes were impressed by the efficiency of this device, but they could hardly be expected to condone its use, particularly since many tourists were now stopping their cars on the corner to take photos of the fake radar. So, they asked the fellow to remove it.

Meanwhile, the authorities have promised to ask the gendarmes to increase their checks for speeding offenders at this spot. And there's already talk about placing a genuine radar machine on this corner.

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