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More Speed Sign Stuff

Blog Date - 09 May 2017

I hope you recall my last gripe about speed limits (Dodgy Speed Limit Signage Again). It was suggested to me that if you pass a speed limit sign then that is the speed limit until such time as another speed limit sign comes into view. That is what I was taught by my father when I was a young boy sat in the passenger seat. This is how I understood things when I first started to drive and ride for myself. 

Back then (28 years ago) things were a little simpler. Maybe I'm looking back through rose tinted spectacles but I seem to recall it was rarely anything more complicated than if it was a built up area with street lights it was a 30 zone. Otherwise, save for a few special exceptions, it would be national speed limit, 60mph and 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways. You'd pass the 30 sign before you reached the town and then pass the national speed limit sign at the other end of town.

The UK National Speed Limit sign
National Speed Limit signs are becoming a rare sight even at the edge of town.

Today it is commonplace to move from a national speed limit into a 40 zone at the edge of town. Soon it will drop to 30mph and then we'll turn into a side road and be held at 20mph. In any town it is perfectly normal to change speed limit 4, 5 or 6 times in just a few miles. 

So in the following video I move from a 30 zone into a 40 zone. Notice how one sign is neatly tucked in the shade and partially covered by branches while the other sign is covered in moss and tree sap. You can see it quite clearly in the video but on a cold, wet and windswept night a weary driver unfamiliar with the road might be forgiven for missing the change in speed limit.

No matter - we HAVE seen the new speed limit and we're allowed to increase our speed to 40mph taking into account road conditions, visibility and such. We wind our way up the hill and see 2 more reminder signs so we're still happy this is a 40 zone. We cross the new roundabout and continue up the hill. Something's not right. There's more houses here then lo-and-behold a school complete with school crossings.

Having travelled up and down this road many times it is easy to explain what has happened. On the roundabout I cross over you'll see a group of builders. The roundabout is new and there's a new housing estate being built on both sides of the road. At some point during the construction process someone has removed the 30 sign on the approach to the schools. Being a local I know this. 

But once again what about the out-of-town driver or rider? 

So taking the point about speed limits remain rigidly in place until another speed limit sign directs otherwise then we could be approaching a busy school crossing at 40mph. Taking this point that speed limits remain rigidly in place until another speed limit sign directs otherwise then we could pass through the town of Standish complete with shops, more schools, traffic lights, pedestrians and so on thinking all this is still a 40 zone.

I have seen quite a few examples where the change in speed limit is either completely missing or the signs are hidden, dirty or poorly placed. This is why we need considerably more reminder signs. 

The French reminder or repeater signs are large and prominent.

See Also
Clear Speed Signage Please
Dodgy Speed Limit Signage Again
More Speed Limit Confusion

Do you know of any poorly signed speed limits? Perhaps they're confusing, missing, or in the wrong place. Click Here.

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