Street advertising deserves its own corner

Driving down U.S. 1 is quite a test of your attention span. It is remarkably easy to get distracted, taking in all the visual stimulation that is hurtling past your vehicle at 30 mph. There are big tall buildings to look at, street signs to pay attention to, and traffic to worry about. But a new distracting sidewalk phenomenon has the streets of Hallandale Beach spinning in controversy.

Human directionals. Sign flippers. Sign twirlers. Walking signs. Persons dressed like the Statue of Liberty. All these figures are now banned from appearing along the side of the road thanks to the city of Hallandale Beach ordinance that was passed on Jan. 20.

The ordinance bans the use of a human as a form of off-site advertisement. The reason for the ban is to make the roads safer for motorists. A city staff report that accompanied the ordinance reasoned its existence saying, “Not only can this type of attention-seeking signage be unsightly, it can also be extremely dangerous as the intent is to distract driver’s attention.”

Hey! Distracted drivers, listen up, you are too distracted. Put down the cell phone and put on the horse blinders because you will likely crash if you see someone twirling a sign for cheap pizza. This preposterous ordinance has sign enthusiasts and business owners up in arms around the state of Florida, and the police are listening. The advertising style may be banned in many cities but, as of yet, no enforcement has taken place.

I agree with the law enforcement agencies for not enforcing this ordinance. To do so would be a complete waste of time and tax payers’ money. Jobs are at all time low. If you have a job right now, chances are you are holding on to it for dear life, so why should we be taking them away from these people?

Obviously spinning a sign isn’t exactly an entry-level spot on a fast-track towards a glamorous career, but it pays, and for some that is more than enough.

The Palm Beach City officials may have a good point though. Sign spinners, at an extreme, would be a nuisance. Imagine 12 people all spinning signs on a street corner — that’s pure madness. People are bound to rubber neck such a spectacle, which equates to accidents. So in that respect it makes sense.

However, I think because sign spinners have become enough of a common place on our streets, most people already just ignore them. Concern should be taken with this issue but an all out ban is not the answer.

Americans need jobs and small businesses need cheap advertising. Drivers getting distracted isn’t a good enough reason to take that away.

If you have trouble with driving because you’re easily distracted, you probably should be in the backseat with a Game Boy, not behind the wheel. If city officials have a problem with sign spinners they should regulate, not obliterate.

So, show your support. Honk if you want to save taxes and turn right for fresh pizza. Sign spinners are here to stay and deserve to annoy motorists; it makes up for being dressed so ridiculously.

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