14 MPH

In Orlando recently, out at a resort complex in the Disney-sphere, I saw a sign that caused me to do a bit of a double-take: 14 MPH.

I couldn’t recall ever having seen one of these before, though as the photo above — not the sign I saw — indicates, it’s not the only one.

Anyone know the origins of this peculiar sign? The 14 MPH seems like a weird translation from KPH, or is it intended to gain attention by sheer novelty? Does 14 represent some benchmark of safety above and beyond 15?

Also strange is that the sign was a rather normal suburban office-park/hotel complex like environment, with fairly wide, smooth streets — certainly not the kind that seemingly beg for a speed that’s actually hard to consistently track on a speedometer. In other words, if the powers that be wanted people going that speed, they’re going to need more than just that sign, however eye-catching. Needless to say, the taxi I was in was going more than that.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 10th, 2010 at 12:12 pm and is filed under Traffic Signs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Responses to “14 MPH”

  1. Erik Says:

    There are several of these in Sacramento, California as part of a traffic calming strategy that traffic engineers have told me are posted with an uncommon number to get drivers’ attention.

  2. fred_dot_u Says:

    I’ve seen a similar photo, a sign reading, “Speed Limit 12 1/2″ for the same purported purpose. Make it unusual, perhaps it will be noticed. Perhaps it will be noticed, then ignored.

  3. Jim PE Says:

    Both signs are actually in violation of the MUTCD. Speed limits must be multiples of 5 mph, and the children at play sign is non-compliant.

  4. Alvin C. Says:

    That’s the idea for these kinds of signs; get noticed and hopeably stick in the driver’s mind.
    These novelty speed limits are often posted away from major public roadways, such as in commercial parking lots/driveways or in subdivisions or other residential communities. Also seen in small towns where someone in local gov’t has a sense of humor.
    (click “Unusual Speed Limits” to see LOTS more from all over)

  5. Branden Says:

    New Urban planned neighborhoods use similar tactics to slow speed. I asked the developers of one in Louisville and, like was mentioned above, they said a higher percentage of drivers notice an irregular number.

    Anyone know the longterm effectiveness of such a strategy?

  6. 2fs Says:

    Yep – here’s another:

  7. 2fs Says:

    Apparently there’s a speed limit here, too: when I tried to post the link that didn’t show up last time, the site told me to “slow down”… Trying again, plain text:

  8. Yokota Fritz Says:

    14½ mph sign on a county maintained road near my home. The speed limit and the sign are non-compliant with California state law so the speed limit is not enforceable, but I think the idea is to get people’s attention.

  9. Matt Says:

    and then there are the slow children signs …
    My friend made his kids pose for a photo underneath such a sign when they once misbehaved.

  10. Jason Says:

    There’s a trend in discount retailing to choose unusual numbers for prices. $8.64 instead of $8.50. Apparently it makes consumers believe the price has been chosen for a reason, as though that’s the cheapest this item could be sold for.

    These signs could have a similar effect, making people believe that the speed limit has been carefully tested and chosen specifically for this area.

    I lived in Nauru for a while, where the speed limit was 48 km/h (translated from 30mph). There was no need for any enforcement though – people went very slow. Pacific time.

  11. Graham Hill Says:

    In reality 15-20 mph seems to work for many neighborhoods. If you go with 25 they will do 30 and so on. So, getting a sign out in front of people with human activity people will get the idea that this is a slow street and it is busy so I can’t cruise through so easily. Make it 14 or 19 and people will know that might be the ultimate SPEED LIMIT!

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

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