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Traffic jam

First publishedin World Highways
May 2019
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SkidsBuryPillarofSalt1 (2)650.jpg
The “pillar of salt” road sign in the middle of British cathedral city of Bury St Edmunds is a listed monument and one of the “first internally illuminated road signs” in the world. The unusual, whitewashed concrete and metal road sign resembles a mini lighthouse with a lantern on top, and it stands outside the city's abbey garden on the old A1101. The sign was designed by Basil Oliver in 1935 and was Grade II listed in 1998
Our Skidmarks page is highly rated by readers. Your input could help make this page even more entertaining. If you come across any amusing road-related stories or pictures email me at mwoof@ropl.com

Police in the South African city of Port Elizabeth recently spotted a vehicle they suspected of being overloaded. The minibus was escorted to a police compound, where the occupants were made to get out of the vehicle. In all, the Toyota HiAce bus had been carrying 48 people, most of them children on a school trip with their teacher, as well as the driver and his assistant. The vehicle was licensed to carry just 16 passengers, so the driver was charged with overloading. The vehicle then took the children back to their primary school, requiring three trips to transport them legally.

A disgruntled inhabitant in the UK town of Saffron Walden is taking a rather unusual approach to tackling potholes in the local area. Perhaps tired of the persistent and perennial pothole problem, the person paints genitalia around the offending road defects. This has triggered some comment in the area. However, it is also of note that the local authorities have become rather more effective at patching any potholes so highlighted.

A group of motorcyclists had a very lucky escape while riding at excessive speeds. The riders were on high-performance motorcycles clocking speeds of up to 320km/h when a herd of cows began crossing in front of them. The riders managed to avoid any impacts, which would have doubtless been catastrophic for all concerned.

In the UK, Trams had to stop running in Manchester recently after a Honda Jazz became stuck on the tracks. This particular section of tramline links with the airport and the errant car caused serious delays to many passengers. Quite how the driver managed to confuse the tramlines for a road is unclear.

Police in Devon in the UK were called to the scene of a crash, after receiving reports of a vehicle lying upside down at the side of a road. When the officers arrived at the crash site, they found the car lying on its roof in a ditch. The driver was somewhat shaken up by the incident and explained to officers that he had swerved to avoid an octopus in the roadway, resulting in the crash. Paramedics arrived at the scene quickly and checked him over but he was not seriously injured. Officers meanwhile checked him for drug use and after a positive result, arrested him for driving under the influence. No sign of the octopus was seen by the officers or paramedics.

Meanwhile, police officers were also called to the scene following reports of a damaged vehicle being driven along the busy M42 route near to Birmingham, also in the UK. The police quickly caught up to the vehicle, a BMW X5 model, which was being driven along the road despite the fact that it was missing one front wheel and one rear tyre. The car was trailing sparks as its front brake disc ground into the road surface and then crashed into a section of guardrail. The driver refused to be tested for alcohol, an offence in the UK. He was also found to be driving while already disqualified and not to have insurance.

In Singapore an angry truck driver used his vehicle to try to block the path of a cyclist. The rider moved his bicycle onto the pavement and tried to get away, but the driver got out of his vehicle and attempted to assault the cyclist. However, the rider was rather tougher than the driver had expected, using a single punch to knock the man to the ground. The incident was captured on CCTV and the driver has been charged with risking the safety of others, but the cyclist may also be fined.

A motorcyclist in the US state of Michigan has found to his cost that riding through concrete as it sets is not to be advised. Road workers found the high performance Kawasaki ZX-10 abandoned by the construction site on I-69, plastered in drying concrete. The bike had left a deep rut through the concrete. The bike was impounded by local officers who said they were waiting for it to be recovered, although the owner would have to pay a number of fines.

Police in the UK city of Manchester took action to trace a number of motorcyclists riding non-road legal off-road bikes on the road recently. Of most concern was the rider carrying a young child on the seat in front of him. Neither had helmets. And despite the presence of the child on the bike, the rider seemed happy to pop wheelies on the road. Police were particularly concerned for the safety of the child.

A man in the US has discovered the perils of distracted driving. He was driving his car one evening when he bent down to pick up something from the floor of the vehicle. Unfortunately, this resulted in him veering to one side and driving into cold floodwater with the car quickly becoming entirely immersed. Rescuers were quickly at the scene and helped the man and his passenger out of the water. They were shocked and freezing cold, but otherwise unhurt.

A cyclist in San Francisco found to his cost that towing a piano with his bicycle was perhaps not the smartest thing to do. The German pianist has been towing his piano around by bicycle to play performances and most recently, has been visiting a number of US cities. But he perhaps had not researched the trip sufficiently as he found the hills of San Francisco rather too challenging. Losing control of his bike, the piano crashed into an Uber vehicle before ending up at the roadside. The man was able to borrow another piano for his performance, before his own was repaired. Presumably he would find the flatter mid-western states more to his convenience.

A cyclist in Miami provoked a strongly-worded response from drivers when he was spotted riding his bicycle backwards. Wearing next to nothing, the cyclist was at least shod with bright pink sneakers as he pedalled his single speed bike along the busy I-95 Interstate route, seemingly not caring that this was illegal. Meanwhile, drivers in Liverpool in the UK had a shock recently when a cyclist used the M62 motorway, again illegally. Worse still, the cyclist was towing a child carrier behind his bicycle as he rode in the outside lane of the route. Realising his danger, the man quickly cut across in front of the (fortunately) slow-moving cars to the inside lane. How he managed to get his bicycle and carrier off the elevated section of the motorway is unknown.

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