22 April 2010

Rail cycling: Hull slips in a new bike sign

This is a sign I've never seen before. It's in Hull, on the level crossing on Spring Bank West, five minutes' trundle from Hull City's last remaining premiership matches at the KC Stadium.

Evidently inspired by the banner of this very blog, the council have created a 'slippery for bikes' sign.

Has anyone seen any other examples of this? It doesn't appear on direct.gov.uk's list of official Highway Code warning signs.

Perhaps they could use the sign in Edinburgh, where cyclists have fallen foul of the newly installed tramlines in Princes St.


  1. Sheffield was notorious when the trams started there - now I think cyclists have adapted.
    Is this sign on a public highway? On private roads you can do what you want sign-wise, but on the highway councils are supposed to follow that DafT list. Many don't, and went ahead with No Entry Except Cyclists signs anyway, while Cambridge waited timorously until it was granted permission to use them on a trial basis.

  2. Yes, it's definitely a public highway. If you follow the 'Hull' link in the post, you get Google Street View, in which you can just make out the sign, and see the crossing in all its grandeur.

    The road runs alongside Spring Bank Cemetery, where Philip Larkin and John Betjeman had a rather contrived conversation about death in 1964 for a BBC Monitor programme (you can watch it on YouTube). Larkin was a real cyclist, of course.

  3. And it is, of course, accompanied by the most dispiriting pair of words in the traffic sign-writer's lexicon, "cyclists dismount".

    Until I see a sign with "driver, get out and walk" I will continue to shake my head and tutt whenever I this phrase …

  4. Larkin is also the only great British poet to refer to cycle-clips in a poem.

    "Hatless, I take off / My cycle-clips in awkward reverence." (Churchgoing)

    But then there's not much in the way of cycling poetry out there, is there?

    Which is odd, bearing in mind the sensuous pleasures of cycling and the fresh perspectives it brings.

  5. The same triangular sign can be seen on tram routes in Nottingham, with a rectangular plate "Tram tracks" beneath. But no "Cyclists dismount" plate.

    Example (on Weekday Cross/Middle Hill) here.

  6. Morning Freewheeler,
    have you read anything by Martin Newell? He produced a book of poetry about cycling in Essex called Spoke'n Word.
    Try the below as a taster...

    Epic Essex, best for bike-rides
    Liberally laced with lanes
    Pubs to punctuate the pedalling
    Flower-baskets hung on chains
    Coastal Essex - secret rivers
    Heron-haunted waterland
    Where the silver light in autumn
    Lingers for a saraband
    On the shingle and the sand.


  7. In 2004, we designed and erected two of these sign in Cambridge where there was a particular problem:
    The County Council sent out someone specially to remove them as they were "illegal". They seemed much more concerned about the nature of the sign than addressing the problem, though in the end it did result on a non slip surface being applied to the problem area.

  8. Let's try that again, this time with a clickable link: this sign.

  9. The Google car went both ways down that road in Hull. Here's a closer view of the sign Rob spotted.

  10. Wierd - I'd just seen that very sign in Nottingham on Monday.

  11. Different signs - one's on a two-lane carriageway, one on a three-lane. Oddly enough there's a pair of white vans in each photo - do they drive nothing else in Hull?

  12. The sign in Nigel's link is on the western side of the crossing - my snap (and Google Street View link) is of the eastern side.

    Larkin was quite a keen cyclist when he arrived in Hull in 1955 ("nice and flat for cycling", he noted in one of his letters) and spent his weekends exploring the villages. But in 1964 he finally gave in and took driving lessons and bought a car. He didn't care much for motors though: he thought they were all "ugly" and said he was "terrified of driving".

  13. Does anyone else think that the bike in the sign has just executed a seriously impressive skid?
    He seems to have locked up both wheels, been traveling sideways and then spun round to finish.

    I wish I had that much bike control.

    Either than or they have nicked the car skidmarks off the slippery road sign ;-)

  14. @Chris - Yes, dispiriting, but advisory. You can happily ignore it, even if you have to explain in words of one syllable to non-cyclists (including the police) what the Highway Code says about rectangular blue signs with a white border.

  15. Nottingham have a few; Sheffield and Manchester probably have them; the DfT can authorise signs like this—but most importantly: it's pretty simple to understand. As for the dismount sign, …I'll refrain from swearing here.

  16. > You can happily ignore it, [...] rectangular blue signs with a white border.

    My understanding is that "Cyclists Dismount" can be ignored because there is no law attached to the sign. So no rules about it's placement or use, nor any law that is broken if you cycle past it - unless it is incorrectly used where cycling is not allowed.

  17. Cyclists Dismount Diagram 966 TSRGD Chapter 3 is not for use on the public road (as it spells out in TSRGD detail) - which by definition should be fit for the purpose of all traffic travelling as it is designed to travel (ie cyclists riding bikes). The sign is advisory and primarily intended for use where sightlines are poor on a shared use path. If diagram 951 is used (No Cycling) then a Traffic Regulation Order is required to give it legal status, and again there is a case to insist on provision of an alternative route to cycle along if a road has a ban on cycling imposed.

    Skid sign was part of a suite of signs approved for the NET in Nottingham, and presumably one which can be used by request from other councils to DfT.

    Walton Street LC (also known as Spring Field) has (or had) a notoriety as a skew crossing and one of 2 crossings which are on a dual carriageway road in the UK. At one stage CTC claims had over 18 valid claims for falls at Walton Street and was considering a class action, but a new crossing surface (rubber replacing concrete panels, and with much better registration between panels eliminating gaps and ridges) seems to have reduced the incidence of cyclists falling off.

    One of the major problems is that minor falls and often not so minor injuries are not being reported as RIDDOR incidents (HSAWA) and the pattern of a hazard is being masked by that lack of reporting. For level crossings the reports should be made through Network Rail, or the owner of the line (there are around 400 licensed railways in the UK) for a tramway the road surface extending 18 inches outside the outer rails is their responsibility for repairs and condition.