‘No eye contact’ signs on city hiking trails mock ‘Belmont tradition’

The official-looking signs on Belmont’s trails look normal at a glance, but on closer inspection they appear to be the work of a local prankster. “No eye contact” and “No running with sticks” read some of the signs that have popped up recently.

The signs were located between the Rock Meadow Conservation Area and the North Beaver Brook Preserve and had a seemingly short lifespan – a week after the photos were posted on the Reddit website, city officials had taken them down, according The Boston Globe.

“The signs were not sanctioned by Belmont and they have been removed,” a city employee said in an email to The Globe.

The “No Eye Contact” sign warned of a $10,000 fine due to “Belmont tradition”. The sign warning not to run with poles added: ‘Do it in Waltham – they don’t care if you gouge your eyes out’ quoting ‘Per Belmont Bylaw… (forgot which number)’.

These fake signs were posted alongside official city-sanctioned signs reminding walkers to keep dogs on leashes and pick up dog feces, which were apparently first installed in 2020, according to the Globe. The panels were clearly newer with a cleaner, shinier finish than those installed in town.

This image shows official signs posted by municipal authorities in Belmont near Beaver Brook. (Google Maps)

“I think [the fake signs were] making fun of something that’s probably somewhat realistic, namely that Belmont might be a little too restrictive with some of its rules, and also how some people in Belmont feel about strangers,” Venya Knyavez, 27, of Belmont, told The Globe.

He posted a photo of the signage on the Reddit website after seeing ones posted earlier last week.

Knyavez told the Globe he thinks the signs poke fun at some sort of unspoken tension between Waltham and Belmont, which sit on either side of the Beaver Brook trails. He noted that while some policies seemed to be more strictly enforced in the Belmont section of trails, the Waltham side always felt “a little looser with the rules.”