City Deploys Mimes to Tame Traffic

Apparently, odd method has worked before
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2011 2:03 PM CDT
City Deploys Mimes to Tame Traffic
Mimes gesture as they stand in a crosswalk in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday Oct. 7, 2011.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

(Newser) – In Venezuela’s capital, motorcyclists have been known to drive down sidewalks, and cars frequently speed through red lights. So the mayor is dealing with the problem by deploying … mimes. About 120 of them hit the streets last week in an attempt to shame drivers and pedestrians alike into behaving. “Some people get angry when we reprimand them,” one mime told the AP as she put her hands forward to signify “stop,” then pointed to a red light as a motorcyclist approached.

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The mimes wear brightly colored clown-like outfits and, of course, white gloves. The mayor came up with the idea after a similar plan in Bogota, Colombia, proved to be a success. But Caracas’ streets, where it’s not uncommon to see people driving in reverse or the wrong way through oncoming traffic, may be even more dangerous. “Many times, the mimes can achieve what traffic police cannot achieve using warning and sanctions in their efforts to maintain control,” says the president of a cultural organization. “Mimes, on the contrary, often achieve the same objective by employing artistic and peaceful actions.” (Read more Venezuela stories.)

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