Ambiguous Visual Controls in the Park

Walking through a park near Frankfurt, Germany I saw this sign. Checking first to make sure I had not slipped back in time to the 1880s, I snapped this photo. What does it mean? Not reading German, the only way this visual control could have been any use to me is if I had seen it while riding my penny-farthing. Alas, it does not fit into my suitcase. A highly situational, and therefore largely ambiguous, visual control.

3 Comments

  1. John Santomer

    July 30, 2011 - 1:27 am

    Ha ha ha ha! Jon, just by looking at the image it may mean “You are not allowed to ride on your Uncle Iggy’s penny-farthing in the area!”. Checked on the German translation – it looks like you’re not allowed to walk on the grass too! Although a great idea would be to pull one of the locals to explain more in detail. Mimicking would probably break down language barriers and still understand what the sign means. Just a thought!

  2. John Hunter

    July 31, 2011 - 4:41 pm

    From @dumontis Rob van Stekelenborg on Twitter:
    @GembaPantaRei It says “smart people don’t ride their bicycle here; for all others it’s forbidden”. I guess it’s a touch of German humor. It is true the odd use of the old bicycle is a bit confusing. When trying to reach the general public (as apposed to your workforce, for example) sometimes humor can help break through to them. You lose something in clarity but may gain more attention.

  3. Willi Isaak

    August 29, 2011 - 12:04 pm

    Sorry John, but the correct translation is “Reasonable” people. And spending a lot of my time in Germany i would not only say it is a try to convince people with humor, but also the arrogance, that if you’re doing it, you cannot be reasonable and therefore you should be punished… 😉 But honestly, a lot of signs in Germany are not even a little bit humorous.