May 29 2011
One of my favourite ever local-council stories concerns the city of Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan, Canada, in the 1970s, where there was a major problem of pedestrians bumping into one another. So on January 4 1970, the council passed bylaw 2423 forcing pedestrians to walk only on the right-hand side of the pavement, incorrect walking punishable by a $100 fine or 30 days in jail. One sceptic, Alderman Gordon Pritchard, pointed out that he would have to circumnavigate an entire city block to get a sandwich from the coffee shop next to his office. The law was repealed after 14 years without a single charge laid.
Why Moose Jaw comes to mind because of this, a set of (actually very, very sensible) waterproof wearable indicators for cyclists, may seem a mite obscure, but if I were an anally retentive power-crazed local politician, I think I might have a stab at making pedestrians wear them too.
The ThumbsUp! (now there’s a bad brand name for you) bike signals work wirelessly from a handlebar remote control and also make a beeping noise to warn walkers that you are turning. A bit on the eccentric side, maybe, but excellent, and light enough to pack for a cycling trip abroad.