Cardboard Czech Cops Cause Crashes
By Mark Orwoll
Those nutty Czechs are at it again. First it was the Velvet Revolution in the 80s. Then it was Prague as hipster-expat HQ in the 90s. And now it's cardboard cops in miniskirts.
In what must have seemed like a good idea at the time, the Czech Republic recently decided it would be cheaper to place faux traffic wardens at busy intersections than to spring for traffic signals. Theoretically, instead of stopping for (expensive! budget-busting!) red lights, drivers would slow down when they saw a pulp-paper policewoman. The reason this would work—and herein, one can only assume, lies the basic premise behind the project—Czech drivers can't tell the difference between a real human being and an image on a piece of cardboard.
But what an image! Officer Anezhka (See? So realistic I've given her a name) stands tall, her shapely shoulders pulled back proudly, thin as a runway model, boldly wearing a miniskirt in the chill of a winter's eve and, like most traffic cops, sporting high heels. And va-va-voom, legs that go from here to Hradec Kralove and back.
So shapely are those gams that the government plan actually seems to be working: Drivers are slowing down to get a better look. In fact, they're slowing down so much, according to at least one report (where you can also get a glimpse of the pulchritudinous policewoman), that the accident rate at some junctions is on the rise.
Ultimately, though, the project seems doomed. Czechs have apparently fallen in love with Officer Anezhka. The cardboard cut-outs are disappearing from the roadsides as fast as the government can put them up.
Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure.