Today I’d like to talk about Belgian road signs. And although I did indeed experience driving around Brussels for over an hour trying to figure out where the exit to “Bergen” disappeared to, before finally figuring out that “Bergen” was no longer indicated and had turned into “Mons”, I do not wish to dedicate this blog post to the idiosyncrasies of Belgian sign posts. Not today at least.

Instead, I’d like to talk to you about those road signs which make you feel like you are in the middle of some kind of practical joke.  Except you’re not. Specifically, the scarecrows which the Belgians are putting along the highways, dressed up in yellow or orange workers clothes.

Whenever I see these, I wonder whether anybody has ever looked into the effectiveness of these dolls?

They always scare me to death, especially those which, without prior warning, suddenly move an arm or a leg, which could probably qualify as a dangerous situation. Could they be mistaken for somebody in distress?

Chabal, off to model for the Belgian Transport Ministry (Source: Wikipedia)

Moreover, given that most of these scarecrows are made out of old shop mannequins, how does that work? Does the Belgian Transport Ministry buy up mannequins from shops which have gone bankrupt and then give them a second life as a car scarecrow?

And could that same doll which I saw wearing that great outfit last week on Rue Neuve soon be giving drivers a fright on the E40 to Liège?

Finally, there are also some mannequins which seem to have the same haircut as French Rugby player Sébastien Chabal a.k.a. “the caveman”. Does the Belgian Transport Ministry ask scary looking people to model for them so that they can scare innocent (or guilty!) drivers?

You can say many things about the Belgians, but they definitely have a sense of humour!

– Lieneke

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