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Home Ren's Biking Blog

Dodgy Speed Limit Signage Again

Blog Date - 02 May 2017

There's a road near Sharon's place which has for the last umpteen years I've been dating her has always been a "National Speed Limit" zone. It is but a short stretch, approximately 650 metres if Google Maps are to be believed. It joins a housing estate with speed bumps and a 30 limit to a busy country lane with a 40 limit. It's a forgotten lane that only the locals know and use. 

Recently though this road has become the primary means of access to a new housing development. As such the road that once saw locals making a shortcut towards the motorway is now frequented by white vans and large trucks. It is a problem and one that saw Sharon almost run off the road into the ditch due to the tipper that was on her side of the narrow twisting lane.

This bank holiday Monday we were surprised to see this once 60 zone has become a 20 zone. This is quite a considerable contrast but if I am honest it is quite understandable given the large vehicles that are currently present. The council has taken the simple measure of drastically dropping the speed limit and while this won't help large lorries navigate narrow bends it may turn what could been a tragic fatal accident into a bent bumpers and insurance claim annoyance. That is if everyone keeps to the limits but that's another matter.

The 20mph sign on the corner turning into cartbridge lane halewood
Shiny new 20mph sign

So I understand why the council has taken this action. In fact this action may only be temporary and the speed limit could be raised to 30 or 40 when the site is complete and the trucks are no longer required. 

What is frustrating is once on the lane there are no further repeater or reminder signs. Regular readers will know I have a "thing" about speed limits and how confusing they can be, especially for out-of-towners who don't know an area. 

It is easy to imagine George and Sandra on their way to visit friends in their new home, they are travelling along the 40 zone. Their sat-nav tells them to turn right into the side road. If you watch the video you'll see the junction is on a bend and needs to be approached with caution as the oncoming traffic cannot be seen until just before the turn. Whoever is driving is focused on getting a view around the bend and avoiding oncoming traffic. As such when the turn is made they may not have seen the 20 sign.

A map showing speed limits on the road and surrounding roads
Speed limits
(map via openstreetmap)

George and Sandra now find themselves on a country lane with no street lights. Hence is it not fair for them to presume they have come upon a 60mph zone? They continue cautiously for 50 metres and find no repeater signs or anything else to suggest this is anything but "National Speed Limit". They gather a little speed and are soon breaking the law unintentionally.

Often times Sharon and I are out-of-towners because we enjoy exploring our country's delightful countryside and rural towns. It is never our intention to tear through anywhere, particularly if the local authority has deemed a road problematic enough to require a low speed limit. I'll happily toddle along at 20 be that in a housing estate or a remote country lane. All I ask is the courtesy of repeater signs just in case the primary sign is awkwardly placed, covered by trees, vandalised or just plain missing.

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Reader's Comments

John Almond said :-
Interesting and valid point Ren. My take on this is simple...........If you see a 20, 30, 40, or whatever sign, keep to that speed until a sign saying otherwise pops up. That whole stretch in my mind will be 20mph then 30 at the 30 sign.
03/05/2017 07:14:39 UTC
John Almond said :-
When I said "keep to that speed" what I meant was up to or below the indicated speed depending on conditions and circumstance.

If the primary sign is awkwardly placed, covered by trees, vandalised or just plain missing and you get caught out,surely you could use that fact to defend yourself.


03/05/2017 07:19:43 UTC
Tom McQ said :-
Watching the video, I see a 20-Zone on entering that stretch of road, and nothing to make me think otherwise until the 30 sign. It's only a short stretch after all - about the same length as the street I live on.

I agree 100%!!!! that the initial 20 sign is very poorly located and should be set a few metres further back into the road so that it is clearly visible to drivers when they have COMPLETED their turn and are ready to make progress along the road they've joined.
03/05/2017 08:24:34 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Presently 20 zones do not legally require repeater signs. I find this totally ridiculous. While my example in the video is but a short stretch of quiet road I have experienced examples where I have passed a 20 sign so I've dropped to 20. Several miles and many minutes later I've not passed any other signs so theoretically it's still 20.

But then cars are overtaking me. But then the road seems fine and open. Have I missed a 30 sign hidden behind a traffic light or a bush? I start to doubt myself.

Why is it too much to ask to have repeater signs? If the council is serious about a road needing to be a 20 zone because there's schools, playgrounds, awkward bends or old folks crossing then make it clear it's a 20 zone.
03/05/2017 09:33:05 UTC
 

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