I am delighted to know that I am not the only cyclist that gets irritated by the “Cyclists Dismount” signs that accompany so many road works, when it is assumed that motorists can drive on past the work without any issue. And I am certainly not the only cyclist that has chanted the mantra “legally, bikes are carriages and are allowed on the carriageway” – so the order to dismount is non-sensical. (Do companies who provide these signs for their employees to put up realise just what sort of image they get for their organisation amongst cyclists – who are a growing proportion of the population?
So, my initial reaction was positive when I saw signs at some road works, informing motorists not to attempt to overtake bikes through a restricted roadway past some roadworks – at least they hadn’t put up the awful “Cyclists Dismount” signs!
On reflection though, shouldn’t this sign be superfluous? There is nothing to say motorists shouldn’t attempt to overtake a car, van, truck or bus through the roadworks – because it is so plainly evident and obvious that there is no space to do so. So why the warning about not overtaking bikes?
What we cyclists need to do is to “take the lane“, riding well into the road and not hugging the gutter so it is completely obvious to a motorist that they can’t get past. Hug the gutter, and some motorist no doubt will attempt to get past, putting a cyclist’s health and life at risk, and – far worse in many a motorist’s view – risking the vehicle’s paint job. Make this road sign redundant by cycling confidently well away from the gutter. But be prepared for some verbal abuse and hooting of horns: there are some motorists out there who have long forgotten the highway code and for whom a few seconds of their personal hurry are worth more than a cyclist’s wellbeing – and for whom this type of sign is probably a necessity!
Yesterday I was complaining about signs on vans, today about signs at road works. I promise I’ll get off my soap box in the coming week with more positive cycling stories!