2017-07-20 / Life in Leelanau

In Benzie, motorist lies down for on-the-road M-22 selfie

Two visitors in search of the perfect northern Michigan selfie caused concern last week on M-22 near Platte Road in Benzie County.

A resident who lives down the road from Riverside Canoe Trips saw someone get out of their car, pull out a selfie stick and lie down in the road by a painted M-22 road marker. The other passenger in the car stood in the street, stopping traffic.

“One car was stopped waiting for them and another came up and almost caused an accident,” said Riverside Canoe Trips owner Kyle Orr. “It almost caused a crash out of stupidity. You can’t be stopping in the road like that.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently started changing several markings along M-22 from road signs to painted road markers to keep people from stealing signs. This has been done near Platte Road and near Fowler Road.

“This is the latest idea in response to chronic theft of the traditional sign markers,” said James Lake, communications representative for MDOT’s “North Region.”

In the past, representatives from MDOT have tried melting signs to taller poles to limit theft or swapping the M-22 logo with a less iconic “22.”

“What people did was cut down the sign and take the entire thing with the pole,” Lake said. “With the modified sign, it worked for a while but then it was broadly reported that those signs were disappearing as well.”

The newest M-22 infraction is a matter of safety, Lake said.

“Laying down on a roadway is foolish and dangerous, no matter where you’re doing it,” he said.

The M-22 road markers will be tested through the upcoming winter.

“Visibility and durability in the winter is something that we are interested in,” Lake said. “We’re looking at whether they can withstand snowplows and still be visible.”

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