Nonsense at the lights?

P.S. When I next passed this way, the notice described in this post had gone. I do not necessarily claim that Oxfordshire Highways scuttled out and removed it as soon as I published the photograph – it may well have gone between my photographing it and writing about it. The notice had stood there uselessly for at least two years, so this post remains as a record and an encouragement to readers to report similar nonsense elsewhere.

Can anyone help me as to the purpose of this sign? It stands at the south end of Parks Road, outside Wadham at the beginning of one of those silly little cycle lanes which start and stop at random round Oxford.

Cycle sign at KA

As you see, it precedes a cross-roads and some traffic lights and sternly commands motor vehicles that “When red light shows wait at first signal”.

Well I never – motorists must stop when a red light protects a cross-roads! And at the first red light as well. Just to cover the possibility, perhaps, that we might all move across the junction to the second light before stopping in the middle of the crossing.

What is it there for? It clearly serves no purpose, or every crossing in the UK would have one. Putting up road signs has become an end in itself at Oxfordshire County Council – it uses up budget and gives the officers the feeling that they have done something tangible. Perhaps they put it there to fulfil a quota.

The officers of Oxford City Council seem to have a variety of motives for putting up signs – they are like dogs marking out territory; they resemble a colonial power keen to stamp its authority on the streets; they perhaps fear that an uppity populace might think for itself without notices; or is it that little men working for the council cannot conceive of a view without a sign-board in it?

I suspect that the notice is simply redundant, a relic from some earlier road layout. Both councils frig around endlessly with junctions in Oxford and I think that there may once have been a separate set of lights for cyclists. After all, this was the council which left a sign pointing to the Aristotle Lane Trading Estate for four years after it had been demolished and replaced by houses.

Whilst at this junction, so to speak, another point arises which is common to other contexts in Oxford. There has been a spate of cyclist accidents at this junction, many of them between two cyclists. The councils tend to assume that there is something they ought to do about it, at our expense, and the usual upshot is yet more lines, lights and restrictions. If such an accident occurs, the cause is that one or both of the participants has gone through a red light and is to blame for the collision.

Another notice, the universal remedy of the typical council automaton, will not cure this. Indeed, it is probable that many accidents are caused by people trying to absorb meaningless information.

Like the contents of the notice shown above.




About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
This entry was posted in Broad Street, Oxford, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire Highways, Signs and Notices, Street Clutter. Bookmark the permalink.

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