Saturday, 16 October 2010

Well at least they got the colour right !

An earlier blog raised the subject of the inappropriate use of a "cyclist dismount" sign on Princess Street in Manchester City Centre.

Unfortunately it would seem that Manchester's highway maintenance contractors are intent on trying to reverse the recent increase in levels of cycling!

This sign was recently spotted on Stretford Road in Hulme (by the newly demolished Arch pub).  As was previously mentioned the Department for Transport (DfT) Traffic Advisory Leaflet 15/99 (Cyclists at Road Works) section on "Cyclist dismount and footway cycling" states that:

"Where access is permitted for motor vehicles, "Cyclist Dismount" signs should not be used. The hazards to cyclists at roadworks are rarely great enough to justify this measure. In any case, cyclists are likely to ignore such instructions. The only situation where cyclists should be advised to dismount is where the carriageway is closed off but the footway remains open."

The carriageway on Stretford Road is not closed off - so why are people cycling being asked to dismount?  As with any situation when faced with a hazard or obstacle in the road the person cycling simply takes the appropriate action to safely avoid the obstacle  and continue on their journey.

But hey, while the use of the sign may be inappropriate - at least these contractors managed to get the colour of the sign right....  as the DfT guidance notes that:

"In such cases a white-on-red temporary sign "CYCLISTS DISMOUNT AND USE FOOTWAY" may be used. Under Regulation 41 of the "Transport Signs Regulations And General Directions 1994" this can be done without special authorisation if the sign is not used for longer than 6 months." (Page 6).

So.... wrong use of signage, right colour and partially correct wording gives them a 1 out of 3 score.

It is not not clear who installed the temporary pedestrian barriers and the "Cyclists Dismount" sign but the only name and logo on the building site fences is Shepherd.

 Anyone have any contacts within this company - or any Hulme residents care to raise this issue with their local councillors?

Meanwhile, the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) has just launched the consultation on the Local Transport Plan (LTP3) which notes that "[C]omparable European cities have much higher levels of cycling than currently found locally and addressing this disparity will enhance Greater Manchester’s reputation as an international destination" and also boldy states that Greater Manchester authorities will ensure "better maintenance in support of road safety, walking and cycling" and will also "ensure that our infrastructure schemes encourage walking and cycling through their design".  Perhaps someone should tell the Greater Manchester highway contractors about these priorities.

It would seem that several other local authorities have struggled with working out when (and when not) to use "Cyclist Dismount" signs... but at least the meaning of the Mancunian road signs (incorrect, inappropriate  or otherwise) was not "lost in translation" as happened with these Welsh signs!

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