THINGS I DON’T UNDERSTAND #1 – Where The Sidewalk Ends

Author‘s Note: This will be my last blog post until sometime in early July.  I am going on vacation and will be too busy drinking in new cultural experiences to blog.  Be very jealous.

Author’s Second Note: This is the first of a series – hence the #1 in the title. At least that’s the plan.

No, I am not talking about the 1950 Otto Preminger film, or the 1974 Shel Silverstein book of children’s poetry.  I’ve never seen the film, and I understood the book quite well, thank you.  It was one of my daughters’  favorites and I’ve read it many, many times.  Repetition can help foster understanding.

I have looked at this several times now, though, and I still don’t understand:

I first noticed this sign while driving my dog to the chiropractor.   As smart as my dog is (he is a border collie, after all), he isn’t much of a conversationalist, so I was forced to deal with the dilemma of sidewalk-ends signage by myself.

Now, being a lawyer, I think I have a pretty good understanding of ludicrous warnings that the legal establishment has forced upon a public that can’t be trusted to know that hot coffee is actually hot.  Having a background in law enforcement to boot, I also understand that people do really, really stupid things sometimes, and have to be saved from themselves.

So, imagine an extremely drunk person walking – or staggering – down this sidewalk on a moonless night.  The street is devoid of lighting.  The drunk reaches the end of the sidewalk, and then . . . wait . . .S/HE WALKS INTO THE SIGN.  Instead of falling onto a reasonably soft bed of untended grass and wildflowers.  Knocks him or herself out cold and suffers heat stroke (or hypothermia, if a different season).  Isn’t that person suing the subdivision development company that put the sign there?

So I don’t understand “sidewalk ends” signs in general, and I really don’t understand some company lawyers. Can you help me out here?

This sidewalk end is about 50 yards away from the one with the sign.  Different development company. Do you think they build better houses? Or are they less likely to listen to their lawyers and therefor take more risks with their construction? Inquiring minds really want to know. :-)

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2 thoughts on “THINGS I DON’T UNDERSTAND #1 – Where The Sidewalk Ends”

  1. I think the sign is there to avoid any possible notion of “knowing Indifference” to the possibility of injury due to an unexpected change in grade and surface. However, at the end of Lake St. in Arcadia, MI there used to be a sign that simply said “Road Ends”, and beyond, a beautiful view of Lake Michigan. Also, on the internet was a sign that stated ” This sign has sharp edges, please use caution when reading this sign!” and in small print “Bridge is out”. But could it be that someone thought it terribly witty ( and humorously redundant ) to put up a sidewalk ends sign, exactly where the sidewalk ends? I would be willing to bet that the culprit returns to the scene every day, or perhaps watches through binoculars . . .

  2. Well, Harold, I still maintain that the risk of injury from walking into the sign is far greater than the risk of injury from a changed surface. I think this is just lawyers run amok – a not unusual situation.

    Unless the bit about the binoculars is true . . .

    Thanks for reading and commenting, and trying to enlighten me.

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