The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 28, 2009

Weird news: Safety czars of Great Britain

-- (1) In November, the Solihull Council in Britain’s West Midlands county ordered a flooring store to remove the festive balloons it had pinned out front to attract business, calling them hazards. One councilor explained that drivers may be distracted by the colors, and another was concerned that if a balloon came loose, it might possibly float into traffic and lure a child to follow it. (2) In October, Britain’s Association of Chief Police Officers prepared a guidebook of instructions for bicycle-duty officers on how to ride a bike. The book was 93 pages long, containing such assistance as a diagram on how to turn left or right (“deployment into a junction”). (Following widespread ridicule, the association decided in November not to release it.)

-- Examiners from Britain’s Health and Safety Executive, inspecting bowling alleys for hazards, considered recommendations (according to a November Daily Mail report) that included erecting barriers over the lanes to prevent bowlers from wandering the alleys and perhaps getting caught in pin-setting machines or, feared one inspector, bowlers injuring themselves trying to knock over pins by hand. The barriers would leave space for the ball to roll under.

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