No warning signs on new elk trails

There will be no new or moved warning signs for motorists when elks are forced to change their trails through forest destroyed by the hurricane in the south of Sweden. The signs simply don't work, according to the Swedish Road Administration, which has also said that fences are too costly.

The Road Administration is hoping to establish how the moose have changed their routes, since their previous ones were closed off by trees which had fallen in the storm, as the annual elk hunt in the south of Sweden begins next week.

The hunters in Småland are expecting to be on “elk watch” along entirely different tracks from last year.

“This is a completely new phenomenon which we obviously have to be aware of,” said Björn Jonsson, traffic safety engineer at the Road Administration in Jönköping.

“We’ve had so many other problems after the storm and we don´t really go out counting elks. We don’t have the resources to do that. We are informed by hunters and land owners.”

New information could mean that the placement of warning signs is reconsidered, but so far no signs have been moved.

“At the same time stationary warning signs are not efficient – the motorist don´t notice them. As a principle we don´t really work with warning signs to reduce accidents involving wild animals,” said Björn Jonsson.

What does work is fencing, but that is not prioritised today either. Accidents involving wild animals are behind around 4% of traffic fatalities while individual accidents or collisions account for 75%. Consequently, the Road Administration says it prioritises barriers in the middle of the road along with “softening up” the sides of the road – such as taking away posts and trees.

Ever hit an elk? Discuss!

TT/The Local