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Home Ren's Biking Blog

Too Many Signs Or Not Enough

Blog Date - 21 February 2018

In my humble opinion - not enough. I know I've covered this many times before but this keeps on happening.

Having ridden around Worthing and Littlehampton this week I wish there were a lot more speed limit reminder signs.

A 30mph speed limit sign
They're not easy to miss...?

In a 40 zone I happened upon a roundabout. As I came off the roundabout I was in the left lane and to my right was a large impatient Renault van also exiting the roundabout. My focus was ensuring said van driver was not going to push me off the road.

Continuing at 40 I was overtaken, often. Perhaps this is a 60 zone? Street lights. No speed signs at all. If the highway code is to be understood this is in fact now a 30. Still endless vehicles pass me by. Perhaps they're all impatient round here, but it's more likely I've missed a sign.

After about 2 miles I saw a lonesome solitary dirty and neglected national speed limit sign. Just the one. Luckily being winter there were no leaves on the branch it was hiding behind. I believe there should be a reminder on every lamp post.

The shiny new toll bridge in Runcorn has had some bother regarding poor signage.

Sharon and I have both noted that there are insufficient signs warning of the toll, the toll prices and quite importantly notification of the point of no return or options to avoid the toll.

There's been a case shared on social media where the toll operators have waived the fee and the fine because the driver wrote a letter of complaint stating there were no clear instructions as to how to pay.

It's a farce.

The penmaenpool bridge has a wooden hut where tolls are collected
With a human being in a little shack this toll has no such concerns

I have read that councils have been told to reduce the number of signs on the roads. The idea is too many signs distract motorists from the important things like wayward pedestrians and crazy bikers. Hmmm, yes I can see that, it makes sense.

It's like the adverts on this and many other websites. We see them so often we make a point of becoming blind to them.

Just a few roads signs on a street in the lake District
It's chaos with all these random signs everywhere!!


Knowing that important signs like speed limits and upcoming junctions will be repeated several times means we can keep an eye on that child waiting to cross the road then catch up with another sign later?

Unlike an advert for unwanted PPI claims road signs are important. They're the one time it matters about getting a message across.

So here's my tuppence worth. Even the most observant rider can miss a sign. Having the sign repeated would help ensure the message gets through. It would make travelling in strange places and on unfamiliar roads a lot easier. It *might* re-enforce the speed limit for locals. It may ensure both locals and out of towners can choose the correct lane.

At least tell me what the speed limit is so I can stick to it.

If you'd like to see your advert here so that we can become blind to it then contact

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Reader's Comments

Pocketpete said :-
It's not the road signs that worry me. It's the fact you refer to the highway code.....

Never never use the highway code as a guide....

It is not law. Always refer to the act ie road traffic act. Only the act matters.
22/02/2018 07:48:29 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
They've recently introduced a 20mph limit on many roads in Birmingham. There is signage in white paint on the road surface, but only very few small signs on lamp posts at eye level.

Trying to stick to 20 on these roads is dangerous as you will be constantly overtaken by impatient motorists, quite often at very inappropriate moments. Definitely more signs required in this case, but even then, I seriously doubt they would be obeyed.

As a general principle I agree with you Ren, there should be more signs, particularly speed limit signs.
22/02/2018 08:58:26 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
"Never never use the highway code as a guide...."

You're quite right Pete but in the case of a collision, if someone has contravened advice or instruction in the HC this can be taken as evidence of careless or even dangerous driving.

The HC uses two constructions: "You must (not)" meaning that this is backed up by statute, and "you should (not)" where it isn't.

One problem is people don't actually read signs. I often drive along a road (Pete will know the Pershore Road between Priory Road and Ladywood Middleway) where there is a part time bus lane - effective only from 07:30 to 10:00. So I always drive in it when I'm using the road, almost always after 10:00. Hardly anybody else does. The other day I passed (on the inside) a police car which was rigidly sticking to the the non-bus lane in a queue of traffic. I was vaguely hoping he'd take me to task when I could smugly point at the sign.....
22/02/2018 11:16:05 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Nobody can be prosecuted for failing to comply with the highway code....

It's advice....

It doesn't exist in law...

It only contains references to laws. Ie look at rule 223. Give way to buses there is no law that says you should let a bus out. Only that you shouldn't hit one or a bus driver pull out and hit you.

If you did you would commit an actual offence not a breach of a made up rule.
23/02/2018 17:09:03 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I know the highway code ain't law. I also find if I stick to the highway code I'll be considerably less likely to fall foul of the law. I reckon that's about the best way to think about it.

I just wish there were more speed signs.
24/02/2018 07:35:46 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Copied & pasted from the HC on line:

"Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. Such rules are identified by the use of the words ‘MUST/MUST NOT’. In addition, the rule includes an abbreviated reference to the legislation which creates the offence. See an explanation of the abbreviations.

Although failure to comply with the other rules of the Code will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted, The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts (see The road user and the law) to establish liability. This includes rules which use advisory wording such as ‘should/should not’ or ‘do/do not’."

Similar wording has always been in the HC.
So although pocketpete is strictly correct, it's not the whole story.
24/02/2018 15:48:09 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
I remember being stopped by a police officer who proudly quoted I was breaking the highway code section 47 as it was in those olden days.

Of course after I had rolled about the floor laughing for 10 minutes he got rather cross and then threatened to arrest me. The other 3 police officers in my car had to get out and correct his errors.

We were all on our way to play snooker ing The police championships. It gave us much joy at his total lack of knowledge that you cannot breach the highway only the underlying legislation.

It really cheered us up on the long drag over to great Yarmouth. We never did find out which training school he attended.
25/02/2018 19:33:27 UTC

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