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Pedestrians on a green ball? A traffic sign confuses a reader

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Q. Hi Honk! For several weeks an electronic message board, at Serrano Road and Toledo Way in Lake Forest, has flashed, “YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS ON GREEN BALL.” Have many areas been having trouble with such a thing? That message seems humorous. I honestly have no idea what it means!

– Roger Gregston, Lake Forest

A. What, you didn’t see any pedestrians out there rolling along on a green ball, Roger?

In traffic-industry parlance, a green ball is the standard green light on a traffic signal as opposed to, say, a green arrow.

“The message on the electronic board did include some traffic engineering lingo, and we’re sorry for any confusion that caused,” said Jonathan Volzke, a spokesperson for the city. “We appreciate the resident — and Honk — for keeping us on the ball.”

See, even a city official can have a little fun.

Now, let’s get down to the serious side of the sign.

Someone in the public was concerned about pedestrian safety at that spot so the city placed the temporary electronic message board near the T-shaped intersection until permanent reminders — “Yield to Pedestrian” signs — could be planted.

“The city of Lake Forest uses the three E’s — engineering, education and enforcement — to promote traffic safety, and the message board was fulfilling the education component,” Volzke said. The new signs are in place now.”

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Q. Recently, my wife and I were making a trip from the Bay Area (seeing grandkids) back to SoCal. Cruising down the 5 Freeway, behind a tractor-trailer with bold signs on the back of it. I am wondering if the signs are legal. One said, “Stay 200′ behind this trailer.” The sign next to it said, “Warning!! Not responsible for broken windshields.” It seems the truckers should be responsible for a proper tie-down of their load. What’s the law?

– Larry and Julie Voelz, Irvine

A. This question hits Honk’s electronic mailbag now and then, and those signs irritate or humor him when he sees them out there in the asphalt jungle, depending on his mood.

Total hogwash, they are.

“A truck is responsible for their load,” said Sergio Rivera, an officer and spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol out of the station house in Santa Ana. “We see those accidents (from debris falling out of the truck) all of the time.”

If a truck’s debris damages your ride, CHP officers have told Honk the victim should try to — safely — get the license plate number. And, if the offender is in a commercial truck, see if you can snag the company name off of a side door. Then, when parked, call 911 and tell the dispatcher what happened. Also, pass the info along to your insurance carrier.

HONKIN’ PET PEEVES: Do you have a pet peeve as a driver, a pedestrian, a bicycle or motorcycle rider or a boat skipper? Roger (see above) and Honk were chatting the other day, and Roger suggested Honk offer readers a chance to air their pet peeves. Honk did the same thing a few years ago. Please also send along (the email address is below) your first and last names and city of residence, which could be used in the column and make you a neighborhood star.

To ask Honk questions, reach him at [email protected]. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk. Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

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