Those Damn Traffic Cones

Graphic Vivien Leung

Quebec is addicted to traffic cones.

In the rest of the world, cones are six feet apart and two feet tall. In Quebec, they are a foot apart and five feet tall.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Construction workers pile them up and around construction sites so tightly that at night, the effect is trippy–almost psychedelic. The swashes of orange, reflective tape make me want to crash like a moth to light.

Is the Minister of Transportation so afraid of someone driving between cones that the department has been directed to out-cone drivers? You can’t defeat drivers. Cars will always crush cones. That’s just the way it is and always will be.

So why then has this cone arms race been declared? My theory is that the Cone Industrial Complex and the Ministry of Transportation are in cahoots, the one creating demand for the other.

The true victims are the thousands of cones battered and bumpers bruised for no good reason.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 05, published September 14, 2010.