Tag Archives: signs

Australia has some of the world’s weirdest road signs

Australian motorcyclists don’t find anything weird about signs that warn of kangaroos ahead as they are one of the biggest dangers on our outback roads for riders. 

However, the signs are in the top 10 of the world’s “most baffling, confusing and downright weird road signs”, according to a new study commissioned by car rental company StressFreeCarRental.com.

The kangaroo, wallaby and pademelon (yes, that’s right!) are the biggest enemy of Aussie riders accounting for 70% of all crashes with animals.

Is it any wonder that there are many signs on our roads warning of kangaroos!roadkill horses

However, the signs are rated the fourth-most baffling roadsides in the world in the study which lists other animal warning signs for llamas, oryx and elephants.

The other Aussie mention is roadside quiz signs in Western Australia, although we know they are also present on many highways in Queensland.

A front left view of a Brixton Motorcycles Production design model

They are used to test motorists’ trivia knowledge and keep them mentally active and awake on the long boring stretches of highways,

These are the world’s strangest road signs according to the study:

  1. Darling I like you, India: Hundreds of driving related proverbs are sprinkled across the mountainous areas of India. They are seen as a humorous attempt at warning drivers of the dangers of drunk driving, speeding and recklessness on the roads.
  2. Llama crossing, Bolivia: Many South American countries are home to a significant Llama population. They may appear cute but Llamas are notorious for being quite aggressive and spitting at humans. So it’s always best to know when they’re around.
  3. Oryx crossing, Southern Africa: This type of antelope can commonly be found across southern African countries. Although they don’t pose any major threat to humans, if you hit one you could cause some serious harm.
  4. Kangaroo crossing, Australia: According to insurance claims data, kangaroos account for 60% of motorcyclist crashes involving an animal and wallabies for 10%, followed by dogs at 8%.
  5. Deaf Cat, Holland: This is a sign in a small town in the south of The Netherlands intending to keep their deaf feline friend safe from any oncoming traffic.
  6. Roadside quiz, Western Australia: The study only acknowledges these signs on the 150km straight road between Balladonia and Caiguna, WA, appropriately labelled the Fatigue Zone. However, these quirky trivia questions are also used in Queensland and maybe some other states with long, boring highways. 
  7. No elephants, China: What looks to be a sign to prohibit the loading of elephants is actually just a warning to not load vehicles too heavily. Makes you wonder how you’d even get an elephant into the car!
  8. Beware of thin ice, Finland: To the locals of Rovaniemi in Finland, this sign seems like a perfectly normal warning. However, to unsuspecting drivers from across the world the picture does appear rather ominous and like something out of a horror movie
  9. Secret Nuclear Bunker Next Left, United Kingdom: Now the name does appear to be a slight give away but this nuclear bunker, located in Brentford, was actually decommissioned in 1992. Not much of a secret anymore!
  10. Beware of road surprises, United Arab Emirates: Surprisingly one of the least descriptive signs on the list. These signs can be found across the capital city of Abu Dhabi and certainly leave a lot to the driver’s imagination.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Warnings to help riders corner properly

Future motorcycles might be able to issue warnings to tell you if you have chosen the right apex and speed for a corner, regardless of the posted advisory speed.

Working on the fact that turns taken too quickly or sharply are responsible for nearly a fifth of all motorcycle accidents and 15% of fatalities, researchers have investigated how to alert riders of their errors.

The research is being undertaken by a group from ETH Zurich and KU Leuven who have proposed a solution in their paper “Learning a Curve Guardian for Motorcycles“.

(In case you have heard the name “Leuven” before, they’re the Belgian consultancy to issue the Transport & Mobility study that found if 10% of all private cars were replaced by motorcycles, it would reduce traffic congestion by 40%.)

No roadside signsWarnings sign speed

Researchers Alex Liniger and Simon Hecker say roadside signs with arrows and advisory speeds are not good enough.

In our experience, most advisory speed signs  in Australia, like the one above, are actually wildly conservative!

This system would ignore the speed sign and provide a real-world alert.

“What we designed is a curve warning system for motorbikes which can alert the rider when they are approaching a curve too fast,” they told us.

“The system performs this task by first calculating the roll angle and the position within the lane of the motorcycle, based on a camera mounted on the front of the motorbike.

“Second, the system queries information about the road ahead from so-called HD maps, which are precise maps for navigation with additional information, such as the road geometry (curvature, inclination) and road attributed information (speed limits).

“With this information, we use a motion-planning algorithm to plan the optimal path and consequent manoeuvre of the motorcycle for the next 200m.

“This path can be seen as the ideal manoeuvre to ride the curve and includes safety margins.”

“We now compare the motorcyclists current manoeuvre to this ideal, calculated manoeuvre and warn the rider if they need to brake or turn too rapidly to align with the ideal manoeuvre, as this would indicate that the driver is reaching the physically safe limits of their motorcycle and riding ability through the curve.”

Warning signs

Germany replaces dangerous steel road signs with plastic signs warnings
(Photoshopped sign)

This warning could be conveyed to the rider either visually on the bike’s instruments, through haptic pads (vibrations in the bars or seat) or through a head-up display in the rider’s helmet. That would be up to the motorcycle or helmet manufacturers who apply this research.

Alex and Simon say their system does not use road signs to warn the rider.

“This allows the system to warn the rider even if the speed limits do not change for a curve ahead,” they say.

“This is common in Switzerland and throughout Europe, where the speed limit for the case study curve in the paper is 80km/h, but the rider needs to slow down to 35km/h to safely manoeuvre through the curve.”

They say their technology also uses map-based road geometry which would warn the rider if the curve is blind or has an unexpected changing curvature.

Early warnings

Their early warnings compare with safety systems such as ABS and EBS, which only take action when the rider has already “crossed the limit of handling”.

“Our system is designed to only warn the rider and not intervene, thus it is actually less invasive than current safety systems and helps to keep the riding experience pure,” the say.

Their research paper so far only shows preliminary results and they say further work is necessary to allow this system to run real-time on a motorcycle.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com