When Mimes Attack!

Or, direct traffic…

Via ABC News:  Mimes Hired to Act Like Traffic Cops in Venezuela.

About 120 mimes were dispatched into the chaotic traffic capital of Caracas to wag their fingers and silently shame lawless drivers, according to the Associated Press.  Newly-trained mimes, dressed in clown-like costumes complete with face paint and white gloves, descended on busy intersections in the city’s eastern district of Sucre starting last week, and urged pedestrians and drivers to obey traffic rules.

Some silently mocked drivers, miming to those behind the wheel to buckle up, or gestured to motorcyclists to stop at the red light in front of them. Others chastised jaywalkers or helped pedestrians cross the street.

The Bogotá, Colombia municipal government tried this back when I lived in the city in 1995.

The amazing thing is:  it worked.

FILED UNDER: Latin America, World Politics, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Moosebreath says:

    It would be a pity if one of the mime traffic cops got run over. A mime is a terrible thing to waste.

  2. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Wait a minute !

    It won’t work here…

    You can’t run a police state without heavily armed swat team that are trained to fire first.

    Mimes? We don nee no stinkin mimes.

  3. Richard Gardner says:

    As one who sometimes follows world traffic/transportation issues, Bogota is well known for their transportation experiments. Former Mayor Enrique Penalosa gets quite a bit of attention internationally for his “New Urbanist” proposals (your mimes predate his tenure 98-01). The Bus Rapid Transit system they have is so much better than the light rail systems being built in the USA (cheaper to build, cheaper to operate, and more flexible), but it doesn’t have the romance of rail (fetish of rail?). And the shutting down of downtown to all non-Emergency vehicles on Sunday.

    Looking up Penalosa, I see he is running on the Green Party ticket this year (Zero idea if the Greens are significant there).

  4. Franklin says:

    I do believe this situation calls for Dodd’s skills.

  5. @Richard Gardner: Apropos of urban renewal in Colombia, including Penalosa, I would recommend the video embedded in this post of mine over at PoliBlog from the 2010 Colombian presidential campaign: click.