Elk warning signs don't stop accidents
The elk warning signs much prized by tourists in Norway have almost no impact on road accidents, a new study by the Norwegian Public Roads Authority (NPRA) has discovered.
The signs can be found all over Norway, particularly in the picturesque counties of Hedmark and Telemark.
But according to a new report from the NPRA, which examined the 4,700 elk and deer killed in car collisions between 2008 and 2013, there is little evidence that motorists slow down in response to them.
“The signs are supposed to tell road users that they should slow down, but it turns out that in reality nobody does,” Rolf Sevendal, the chief engineer at the NPRA in Norway’s Hedmark County, told NRK.
“You drive down a stretch of road where there are elk warning signs and you don’t see an elk,” he explained. “You drive there ten more times and you don’t see en elk. You drive twenty times and you still do not see an elk. Then the effect goes away.”
The NPRA has long struggled against sign thefts, with Telemark county last year reporting an increase in the number of thefts after a lull earlier in the decade, according to the local Varden newspaper.
The finger has long been pointed at the middle-aged German couples who tour around the country’s lakes and forests in their motorised caravans each summer.
In 2001, VG reported that one German had built a garden table solely out of stolen elk signs.
Sevendal believes that rather than spending money erecting warnings signs, the NPRA would be better off removing tree cover close to roads to give motorists a better chance of seeing elk before they attempt to cross over.