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Dim-witted idiots and traffic cones

February 20th, 2008 at 06:54am

I was coming home along Coranderrk Street at about 5:15 this morning and noticed something which I can only describe as an act of stupidity. Next to the National Convention Centre a new building is being constructed and there have been some minor roadworks in the area (see the green mark on the map below)…as such there are traffic cones. Some dim-witted idiots (or probably the plural thereof, even if it is a partially redundant description) decided that it would be a good idea to move them on to the road in a haphazard manner, effectively blocking one lane, and turning the other into an obstacle course. The road was not in this state (and there were no construction or roadwork staff on-site) when I went past at 7:45pm yesterday, so these dimwits obviously did it during the night.

Map of where the traffic cones were scattered on Coranderrk Street
Map copyright: Google 2008. Map data copyright: MapDataSciences Pty Ltd. Green marker added by Samuel

Just so we’re clear about this, I am not talking about the “witches hat” type of traffic cone, I’m talking about the tall skinny ones which are about a metre high, so you can’t really negate the obstacle course by running over the cones.

The area was still navigable, but at a lower speed, and only for one car at any given time. If left in this state, this “generally busy during the day” road would undoubtedly have an accident before long. I live short distance away, so I stopped at home, then made my way back and called the police. A friendly lady answered the phone and I explained the situation to her, and she let out a sort of “some people are really dumb” moan when she heard that traffic cones had been spread across the road. I mentioned to her that I would have fixed it myself, but it most probably would not be safe for me to move the cones at night (especially as I was wearing fairly dark clothing), and if somebody saw me moving the cones and called the police about it, I would be the one getting in trouble.

I wasn’t quite sure if the lady on the phone wanted me to wait around for the police to arrive, and as I generally don’t like to leave the scene until they arrive when I call an emergency service, I decided to wait. A few minutes later a police car arrived, “the police officers activated their vehicle’s warning lights” as one of their press releases would say, and got out to assess the situation. I walked over and explained who I was and why I was there, and then assisted the police with the cleanup (which was now much safer thanks to the flashing lights on the police car). A security guard who was just leaving the nearby CIT campus also assisted.

I must say that the two police officers, who must surely have been wondering what was going through the minds of the people who moved the traffic cones, did not seem phased by the sheer stupidity of the situation. They were very professional and friendly, and I think the response of the police to this incident was absolutely fantastic.

It’s just a pity that, in all likelyhood, the chances of catching the dimwits who moved the traffic cones is almost zero. With that in mind, if you saw anything suspicious in the area during the night, I would urge you to give crimestoppers a call on 1800 333 000.


Entry Filed under: Canberra Stories,Lunacy/Idiots,Samuel's Editorials

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  • 1. Pen 15  |  February 20th, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    You called the police to move some traffic cones?

    Thats good use of police resources. Nice job, Sam. I’ll be keeping a lookout for anyone loitering near traffic cones from now on. What penalty would you suggest if they eventually catch these dimwits, Sam?

    You imply that youve had to call emergency services before. Nothing as serious as this incident, I hope?

  • 2. Samuel  |  February 21st, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Pen, it was quarter past five in the morning, it was dark and there was no way for me to know if the police had already been called. The police have those flashing lights for many reasons, one being so that they can block a lane of the road and alert people motorists to pedestrians on the road.

    Involving police was not only the safest thing to do, it also meant that they couldn’t charge me with creating a public nuisance if I hadn’t called them and they saw me moving the cones.

    And in case you’re wondering, the police did not rush to the scene, they did not use their flashing lights until after they arrived. There was nothing inapprpriate about this use of police resources.

  • 3. Samuel  |  February 21st, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Oh, and the other times I’ve had to call emergency services were for things such as car fires, people needing urgent ambulance assistance…and a bloke carrying a large plank of wood down the street whilst screaming at the bloke in front of him about some money the aforementioned “man in front” owed him.

  • 4. Pen 15  |  February 22nd, 2008 at 12:28 am

    I’d say there would be no chance of someone already calling the police. Most people wouldnt call the police, Sam. They would show a bit of initiative and clear the cones themselves. And if youre fixing a problem, youre hardly going to be charged with creating a public nuisance, are you? Or do you mistrust the police force so much that you think they will book you for doing the right thing?

    It was dark – yes, but your car has headlights, and if you went home first you could have got a torch. If youre worried about other cars hitting you, the road appears to be quite straight, with little chance of any cars sneaking up on you without you seeing them first.

    And I would bet my bottom dollar the policewoman who anwered your call wasnt groaning about the idiots who moved to cones…more than likely at a young, well-meaning man making a mountain out of a molehill!

    Sorry to ramble, Sam. I just find this astounding. Maybe you should run a poll on your blog on the subject!

    Anyway, on a lighter note…did you end up repaying the guy with the plank?

  • 5. Samuel  |  February 22nd, 2008 at 1:14 am

    We definitely disagree on this one Pen, but I’ll take up your suggestion and run a poll on the subject next week.

    To answer your question, I did not pay the other man’s debt, but I did provide a witness statement to the Police.

  • 6. pedro1959  |  March 19th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I think Pen is being a bit harsh. There are so many variables and is it worth getting hit by a car trying to be a good citizen.

    You’ve done the right thing Samuel. Besides, the police aren’t chasing crims 24/7 and they wouldn’t despatch a patrol for something like this unless they had resources nearby that could be used.

    Personally, I’d have driven past and not bothered, however if you are going to do a good act you may as well do it properly.




February 2008

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