‘No cycling signs’ placed by Birmingham City Council immediately above National Cycle Network (NCN) route signs have left local cyclists bewildered. Sustrans, which maintains the NCN has asked for them to be removed, but the council insists they will stay in place.
A picture in the Birmingham Mail shows the two signs placed together, with another underneath saying: ‘The cycle route here follows the roadway. Please DO NOT ride on the footway.’ Of the three, the ‘No cycling’ sign is the most prominent.
The signs have been erected along NCN Route 5 and according to the council are intended to remind cyclists that they cannot cycle on the pavement and must use the road instead.
They come shortly after the route emerges from Pebble Mill Playing Fields in Selly Park, where there is a shared use path, and onto Kitchener Road.
One local cyclist, 64-year-old John Pitcock from Stirchley, told the newspaper: “The signs are just wrong and it looks silly having a National Cycle Route sign with a No Cycling sign right next to it.”
“I don’t think it’ll cause an accident, but people will ignore the signs which is bad in itself.”
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has joined Sustrans in asking for the signs to be removed.
“To be effective, signage needs to be clear and consistent,” said Kevin Clinton, the charity’s head of road safety. “These two signs could easily confuse cyclists because they appear to be giving conflicting messages.”
Yvonne Gilligan, director of Sustrans for the West Midlands, added: “It seems clear the signs need replacing to tell legitimate users of National Cycle Network that they are to continue on the road. We would suggest a simple sign saying Cyclist Rejoin Carriageway.”
The council insists however that the signs are not misleading and that they will stay in place, with a spokesman saying: “Although the signs may look contradictory, the reality is that cyclists know what they need to do on this stretch of the route.
“The signs were introduced at the request of the local residents and they also understand how the arrangement works. We have had no reports of cyclists being confused by the signs in this area.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.