Chances are that you have seen human advertising before. It is hard to ignore a person dancing and twirling a large sign on a street corner during a busy day, wearing a huge billboard around their neck, or dressed up in a ridiculous costume. Use of human advertising is especially common to promote flash sales and seasonal businesses like tax services. Companies have been using human directionals (sign holders) to attract attention to their businesses for centuries.
A business will send a human directional to perform in areas of high pedestrian and automobile traffic to attract the highest number of potential customers. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous. Human directionals walk, twirl, dance, spin, and move their signs in an exaggerated fashion which can be distracting to drivers. A number of cities have banned human directionals that twirl and move signs to prevent automobile accidents. Distracting drivers is a common concern, but negligent sign walking can also pose a threat to pedestrians.
A client of Mastrangelo Law Offices was standing on a sidewalk corner in Pleasant Hill, California. She was waiting for the light to turn green so she could cross the street. A human directional was walking up and down this busy street, turning a 10 foot tall sign to attract attention to a nearby liquidation sale. A strong gust of wind caused the sign walker to lose control of the sign he was holding, which struck our client, causing her to fall and fracture her pelvis. Wind is a known hazard of sign walking. Strong wind makes controlling the sign difficult.
The city’s municipal code controls signage. An outdoor advertising structure sign and/or sign location within a public right of way is prohibited. A public right of way includes public streets, alleys, sidewalks and unpaved areas. The defendants violated the city’s municipal code by having a 10 foot tall sign advertising a sale on a sidewalk, within the public right of way. To get the most exposure and make the most money, the 10 foot sign was being walked and turned on one of the busiest intersections of the city, during one of the busiest times of the year. Pedestrian traffic is high at this location. To have a human directional working this area is dangerous and unsafe. The defendants hired and instructed this sign walker to work this particular street, which resulted in our client’s injuries. The defendants were liable for our client’s damages.
Accidents are not always as simple as rear-end collisions and trip and falls. Call Mastrangelo Law Offices if you have been involved in an accident where you believe you were not at fault.