Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

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jervi
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Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by jervi » Wed May 29, 2019 18:17

Sooo, I think I just found a little loophole which means that you can drive along the main road along Brighton and Hove's seafront at 50MPH (supposed to be 30MPH).
If you are heading westbound along the A259 from Roedean, it is a dual carriageway at 50MPH, then you enter these 30MPH signs https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.81397 ... 312!8i6656 but wait, those are 450mm diameter, don't they have to be 900mm (or 750mm if 85% percentile is less than 40MPH).
So the question is, are these legally enforceable? At what point is it no longer exploitable? There are no repeater signs (due to it being a 30).

And yes, I am reporting it to the city council, however since they are green they will likely replace the sign with a cycle path.
^that one was a joke (but kinda true)

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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by Conekicker » Wed May 29, 2019 19:08

Yes, they are legally enforceable. Although you are quite free to drive at any speed you wish and discuss this with the police should they decide to have words with you.

Guidance regarding the sizes of terminal signs (other than at junctions) is shown in the Traffic Signs Manual, Chapter 3, Table 8-1.

Can you spot the critical word in the preceding sentence?

Whilst the use of such signs as are present at this location might be unwise, it isn't unlawful.
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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by jervi » Thu May 30, 2019 12:03

Conekicker wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 19:08
Can you spot the critical word in the preceding sentence?
In Chapter 3, 1.2.2 It says
Care should be taken to ensure that traffic signs are used only as prescribed in the
Regulations, and in accordance with any relevant directions, and that no non‑prescribed sign is
used unless it has been formally authorised in writing. Failure to do so may leave an authority
open to litigation, or make a traffic regulation order (TRO) unenforceable.
and then 1.2.3 and 1.2.5 have parts that reinforce that.
In Chapter 3, 8.1.1
Signs that do not strictly follow TSRGD (see 1.1.4 in respect of Northern Ireland), or have not been specially authorised are
not lawfully placed and the speed limit might be unenforceable
Which like most of the TSM, is saying its a grey area if it can be enforceable or not.

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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by Chris5156 » Thu May 30, 2019 12:37

The quotes you took from Chapter 3 are telling you that a limit may be unenforceable if it's not indicated with the prescribed signs. The sizes of those signs, as set out in table 8-1, are guidance. In other words the type of sign must be correct but the size of that sign is up to the designer.

The Road Traffic Regulation Act leaves no grey areas when it states that a 30mph limit applies to any road with a system of street lighting. The road in question has a system of street lighting. No local limit has been applied to vary the default, and no signs exist within the system of street lighting to indicate another limit.

I think you'd have trouble convincing a court that anything other than a 30mph limit existed there.

(If you want to be really on the ball, the right-hand of those two "30" signs is non-prescribed, because like many backlit signs installed a decade or so back, it was bought from some cowboy firm who didn't use the right lettering on speed limit roundels and it's not in Transport Heavy. But the sign on the left is the correct sign face so it's immaterial.)

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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by Bryn666 » Fri May 31, 2019 13:14

Chris5156 wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 12:37
The quotes you took from Chapter 3 are telling you that a limit may be unenforceable if it's not indicated with the prescribed signs. The sizes of those signs, as set out in table 8-1, are guidance. In other words the type of sign must be correct but the size of that sign is up to the designer.

The Road Traffic Regulation Act leaves no grey areas when it states that a 30mph limit applies to any road with a system of street lighting. The road in question has a system of street lighting. No local limit has been applied to vary the default, and no signs exist within the system of street lighting to indicate another limit.

I think you'd have trouble convincing a court that anything other than a 30mph limit existed there.

(If you want to be really on the ball, the right-hand of those two "30" signs is non-prescribed, because like many backlit signs installed a decade or so back, it was bought from some cowboy firm who didn't use the right lettering on speed limit roundels and it's not in Transport Heavy. But the sign on the left is the correct sign face so it's immaterial.)
Nor does it have a retro reflective sign face, which whilst not 100% legally required does cause problems if the electrical supply fails.
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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by nodnirG kraM » Sun Jun 02, 2019 00:25

Interesting that you should use Brighton as this example as it was an ex copper from Sussex who successfully had his multiple tickets nullified after a 40 limit was signed with terminal signs of the correct size, with a yellow backing board, but with a black border on this yellow background. At the time this meant the sign was technically non-prescribed and therefore unenforceable.
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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by Conekicker » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:06

nodnirG kraM wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 00:25
Interesting that you should use Brighton as this example as it was an ex copper from Sussex who successfully had his multiple tickets nullified after a 40 limit was signed with terminal signs of the correct size, with a yellow backing board, but with a black border on this yellow background. At the time this meant the sign was technically non-prescribed and therefore unenforceable.
Such signs are still non-prescribed.
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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by nowster » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:15

What about speed limit signs with 15 on them? I couldn't find anything to say they were illegal.

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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by AndyB » Mon Jun 03, 2019 13:08

Not a prescribed variation, all of which are in tens of units (20/30/40/50/60)

EDIT: oh good point. Nor is there a restriction in RTRA on what speed limits may be authorised.

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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by nowster » Mon Jun 03, 2019 13:27

AndyB wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 13:08
Nor is there a restriction in RTRA on what speed limits may be authorised.
Indeed. Just a note to say that it must be one of the allowed limits set by the national authority (eg. DfT).

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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by Conekicker » Mon Jun 03, 2019 14:37

nowster wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 13:27
AndyB wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 13:08
Nor is there a restriction in RTRA on what speed limits may be authorised.
Indeed. Just a note to say that it must be one of the allowed limits set by the national authority (eg. DfT).
...and as the allowed limits are in 10s then something with a 5 in it wouldn't be correct:

https://www.gov.uk/speed-limits
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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by nowster » Mon Jun 03, 2019 14:41

Conekicker wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 14:37
nowster wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 13:27
AndyB wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 13:08
Nor is there a restriction in RTRA on what speed limits may be authorised.
Indeed. Just a note to say that it must be one of the allowed limits set by the national authority (eg. DfT).
...and as the allowed limits are in 10s then something with a 5 in it wouldn't be correct:
https://www.gov.uk/speed-limits
That doesn't list allowable speed limits on signs, only default classes for vehicle/type of road.

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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by orudge » Mon Jun 03, 2019 16:43

Whether they're legal or not, Orkney Islands Council has a substantial number of 15mph limits in Kirkwall and Stromness in particular.

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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by Bryn666 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 17:37

orudge wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 16:43
Whether they're legal or not, Orkney Islands Council has a substantial number of 15mph limits in Kirkwall and Stromness in particular.
Probably authorised by the Scottish government though. There's a divergence on views regarding traffic signs - see the bypass signs and speed limit countdowns for examples.
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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by orudge » Tue Jun 04, 2019 17:55

I think they predate devolution, but presumably the principle remains the same.

Many of them are on very narrow streets and should probably be pedestrianised entirely anyway!

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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by ais523 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 18:42

I vaguely remember the law being changed recently so that a speed limit was enforceable even if signed incorrectly (presumably in an attempt to reduce the number of speeders going free on technicalities; the alternative, of getting councils to put up the correct signs, is probably unattainable). I'm not 100% certain on this, though.

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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by Skye » Mon Jun 10, 2019 18:23

Are speed limit signs enforceable if they use an incorrect font?
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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by Chris Bertram » Mon Jun 10, 2019 18:53

Skye wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 18:23
Are speed limit signs enforceable if they use an incorrect font?
They shouldn't be. The whole point of having legally mandated formats for signs in terms of shapes, graphics fonts and wording is that we should be able to tell official signs from any old crap that might be erected by someone with a bee in their bonnet. If official signs start to look like the other crap then we start getting onto some very unsafe ground and Mr Loophole will be working out how many zeros he can add to his bill.
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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by Bryn666 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:31

Chris Bertram wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 18:53
Skye wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 18:23
Are speed limit signs enforceable if they use an incorrect font?
They shouldn't be. The whole point of having legally mandated formats for signs in terms of shapes, graphics fonts and wording is that we should be able to tell official signs from any old crap that might be erected by someone with a bee in their bonnet. If official signs start to look like the other crap then we start getting onto some very unsafe ground and Mr Loophole will be working out how many zeros he can add to his bill.
It's all down to the "were you given adequate guidance" test. A homemade sign will be very obviously not official, unless someone has a £50,000 plotter in their bedroom capable of printing retro-reflective sign material.

It's telling there are manufacturers producing speed limit signs in the wrong typeface though... lack of caring yet again.
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Re: Legality of incorrect speed limit signs?

Post by AndyB » Wed Jun 12, 2019 15:58

The crazy point there is that speed limit signs are an absolute standard off-the-shelf design. It shouldn't logically be possible for a sign manufacturer to get them wrong.

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