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Monday, 24 November 2014

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We get the message, enough with the signs

LAST week on this page I made passing reference to the proliferation of street signs which litter our roads and towns.

Louise Allonby
Louise Allonby

Like many people, I have become increasingly fed up with having my eyes and brain offended by the ludicrous amount of road signs which bossily tell us what we can and cannot do; what we must beware of; or which, in many cases, simply clutter up the landscape, insulting our intelligence by pointing out the blinking obvious, such as “Road may get wet in rain” (you don’t say).

In a timely intervention this week, a sensible government minister has suggested that pointless road signs should be banned. Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, announced yesterday during a speech to the Campaign to Protect Rural England that revised traffic sign regulations are to be introduced next year in a bid to de-clutter our roads.

Road signs have become such an accepted part of our landscape that people simply don’t notice how many there are; and how superfluous – not to mention downright patronising – they have become.

On the A595 into Askam, for example, there is a cycle lane. No big deal but, boy, does the council feel the need to trumpet it.

At the start of the cycle lane, there are no fewer than four large blue signs to announce it. A couple of hundred yards along, there is another sign, presumably to tell cyclists on the cycle lane that they are, in fact, on a cycle lane.

A few hundred yards further on is an identical sign (for the benefit of any cyclists so thick that they’ve forgotten they’re on a cycle lane); and just before the cycle lane ends, there’s another sign, saying, er, “Cycle lane ends”.

I often wonder how the makers of period dramas ever manage to film on British roads, so cluttered are they with road signs and paint. Never mind the dotcom boom, if I had my time over, I’d take out a patent on yellow paint and make my fortune from all the double yellow lines which seem to be breeding out of control. That or open a business called “Unnecessary Road Signs R Us”.

One easy way of tackling this problem would be to stop the pointless duplication of signs, especially at junctions where it would seem that the majority of drivers are presumed to be either stupid, or visually impaired to a worrying level.

My top prize for the most annoying signs are those finger-wagging “Please drive carefully though our village” exhortations, aimed at roughly one per cent of drivers but inflicted on us all.

All of which makes me glad I don’t live in Wales. Their road signs are written twice, in both Welsh and English.
Heaven help the sign writers living near Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

Have your say

You mention about taking out a patent on yellow paint.

I wrote to Mark Hankin, Highways Engineer at the Nan Tait Centre, complaint that I had received no notification of Double Yellow lines being marked in front of my home. He replied back by saying that all residents who needed to be informed, were informed.

Facetiously I replied 'well the double yellow lines are in front of my house', my wife is disabled so as close as we can get to our house helps me to manage her into our home.

Without going into the boring detail, Hankin conceded that the contractor has wrongly marked the double yellow lines. Answer get the contractor to fix his ERROR. Simple enough, well that scenario I have described to you happened over a year ago, still the lines are there!

I also pointed out that the GIVE WAY sign had been missing from a main junction at the end of my street for several years, also the GIVE WAY road markings have worn so heavily, there are not there anymore.

As the adjoining main road at the junction is on a hill, cars tend to speed down the said hill, sometimes way in excess of forty miles per hour.

I am more concerned at the lack of response from the Highways Department at these issues, I did also write to John Woodcock on this matter.

These days with so many revelations about dishonesty, Bank's fixing LIBOR rates, Police Constables caught out lying, trusting organisations or individuals comes quite difficult from me.

Posted by Terence Coupe on 16 November 2012 at 09:39

Well I was with you until you said this...

'a sensible government minister'.

There is no such thing.
And cue the lefty/righty brigade...

Posted by Tony on 15 November 2012 at 08:22

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