The signs are better for shopkeepers

PUBLISHED: 12:09 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 06 May 2010

NO DOUBT if you are a trader in Hitchin, before The Comet came out last week, you d have been a bit worried that you were in for a slow time over Easter weekend. Signs had appeared around the town warning people to avoid the area , owing to road closures

NO DOUBT if you are a trader in Hitchin, before The Comet came out last week, you'd have been a bit worried that you were in for a slow time over Easter weekend.

Signs had appeared around the town warning people to "avoid the area", owing to road closures because of the Vaisakhi Festival (the most important event on the Sikh calendar) which is due to take place this Saturday.

After a sluggish start to the year, businesses in the town must have been worried the signs could cause customers to stay away.

But as we revealed on our Hitchin front page, the words "avoid the area" were to be substituted with "congestion expected", a compromise which will warn drivers there could be problems without deterring them visiting the town at all.

So all should be well and good in Hitchin and I hope both those involved in the Vaisakhi procession and shop owners have a good weekend.

We all rely on huge numbers of signs each day to direct us and provide us with information or instructions, from speed limits to warnings.

Of course they are generally meant to be serious, but there are a few out there that bring a smile to people's faces or even maybe get us a bit hot under the collar.

My esteemed news editor, John 'Perspective' Adams, says he can't drive past a sign warning of heavy plant crossing "without imagining a daisy that's had too much Biogrow".

I always have a wry smile to myself when I'm stuck in traffic on the motorway and those temporary signs flash up, declaring we must not go faster than, say, 40mph.

I can't be the only one who mutters "chance would be a fine thing" under her breath.

On a slightly different note, in these politically correct days, I'm not quite sure how the sign which warns that frail pedestrians are likely to be crossing the road ahead is still allowed.

For the uninitiated, it shows a man and a woman hunched over with a stick, and although I'm not old or frail, I find it quite offensive.

Not all people who are frail shuffle along like the hunchback of Notre Dame, and while I admit I've not got a clue what it could be, there surely must be a better way of giving drivers that kind of warning.

I also don't get the "risk of ice" warning sign. I mean, surely if it's cold enough, it's self-evident there's going to be a bit of ice?

Do we really need a special sign to tell us?

I'm sure roads in warmer climes don't have signs warning them it could be a "bit sunny" in that area.


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