TEMPORARY advertising billboards, banners and bunting on the streets are a common sight and while they may look harmless, some of these structures can be dangerous if not properly secured.
Unknown to many, some of these above-the-line advertising paraphernalia can, in fact, pose a threat to life and limb.
One near-accident victim was T. Vijaya, 58, who was nearly crushed by a billboard last month while returning to her office in Lebuh Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, after lunch.
Describing the incident as the most terrifying moment in her life, Vijaya was shocked that a huge steel billboard could topple over so easily.
“The structure missed me by a few inches because I managed to jump out of the way quickly.
“I could have lost my life if it had hit me,” she said.
Luckily for her, several passers-by stopped to help and calmed her nerves after the rude shock.
She said the structure only seemed to be secured to the ground by several small sand bags that could not cope with the weight of the billboard.
“Why was it there? Why was it not secured to the ground? Does someone need to be hurt before action is taken?” Vijaya asked.
A Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) spokesman admitted that the billboard belonged toDBKL.
“Upon receiving the complaint, we checked the structure and found that it had been vandalised. The chains and metal bars securing the billboard were cut, leaving the structure unstable,” he explained.
DBKL took immediate action and secured the billboard to the ground.
Meanwhile, several residents questioned the local authorities’ lack of proactive measures to ensure untoward incidences such as these did not occur.
Bukit Bandaraya Residents’ Association chairman Datuk M. Ali said he had raised the issue with DBKL for several years now but to no avail.
He said advertisements such as temporary advertising boards, banners, bunting and even digital advertising boards should be removed.
The digital boards located by the roadsides, he said, were very distracting and a traffic hazard to drivers.
“The digital boards near traffic light intersections can be misleading.
“The red, green and yellow on the board can confuse drivers with poor vision, especially the elderly,” he said.
He added that there had been several near misses along Jalan Maarof, Jalan Senanduk and Jalan Tenaga in the past few months.
“Recently, an elderly man mistook the green light on the digital board and collided with a car near Bangsar Shopping Centre,” Ali said.
He also said pedestrians have been hit by the low-hanging bunting tied to lamp posts near pedestrian walkways.
Some of the banners have also come loose, brushing into passing cars during strong winds.
“Where does this end? City Hall has to find a permanent solution for these problems.
“Remove all these advertising methods that are an eyesore and a form of vandalism,” he stressed.
Ali said the Local Government and Housing Ministry should work together with the local authorities to remove and bring down the banners and bunting from time to time.
Sharing his sentiment was Pook Li Yoon from Petaling Jaya, who said digital billboards and signboards were distracting.
“It is especially distracting when driving at night and the lights from the LED billboards are blinding.
“I have also walked into low-hanging bunting along pedestrian walkways many times before.”
She said the sharp and heavy edges were very dangerous to unsuspecting pedestrians, especially the visually impaired.
“Even banners that are not properly tied up will hang loose on the ground, making it easy for people to trip over the ropes,” Pook added.
She urged the local councils to form a special taskforce to help enforce strict guidelines to ensure no mishaps occur.
Shah Alam resident Noor Azirah Mahmud, 34, said she had seen road work signs toppling over during a storm.
She said the flimsy stands were no match for the brutal wind during the rainy season in the Klang Valley.
“Shah Alam was recently hit by a terrible storm and it wreaked havoc in places like Bukit Jelutong.
“Roof tiles, zinc hoarding and tree branches were flying all over the place and these road signs were being dragged along with the wind. It was scary,” she added.
Her main concern was the safety of children walking to and from schools, and the consequences if they could not dodge the flying debris.
“There has to be some regulatory body to ensure these little mistakes do not cause major accidents.
“I know people will say why fix something that is not broken but why wait for people to get hurt?
“It is all up to the local councils to make a difference and gain positive feedback. It is all in their hands,” she said.