Why Street Signs Make Traffic More Dangerous

This is an interesting article which outlines how the proliferation of street furniture, signs, and attempts to separate pedestrians and traffic do not actually result in safer streets. Removing the barriers between pedestrian and motorist can help. I’ve experienced this in Belgium and the Netherlands and it definitely has merit. I believe that such measures to remove the clutter and distractions from city streets needs to take place, particularly in countries like the UK which have ridiculous amounts of signage and “safety” barriers. See this article.

Not only are barriers, cones, signs, and road markings ugly, but they unduly increase the motorists’ feeling of security so that they pay less attention to their actual surroundings and focus solely on “following the rules”. In situations where there are no clearly defined rules, such as denuded streets without roadmarkings or signs, motorists feel less secure and are naturally inclined to drive more cautiously.

Read the full article. It gives a compelling argument for clutter-free shared spaces for motorists and pedestrians.


  1. Belgium is currently a reigning champion when it comes to (often conflicting) traffic signs overkill, although efforts are being made to cut down on the clutter.

    When driving through urbanized Belgium it’s often totally unclear whether I’m in a 50 or 70 km/h zone, whether I’m on a priority road or whether I need to yield way to traffic from the right. Local traffic rules & signs are complex and change continuously.

    I do agree that on streets with no signs, drivers are naturally inclined to drive more cautiously.

  2. i agree with your point that traffic & safety signs if not used properly can make traffic more dangerous. Thank you so much for this post.

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