Existing metric road signs

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PeterA5145
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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by PeterA5145 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 17:19

I've reported this one to Tameside MBC today :twisted:

I won't hold my breath for it being fixed :tumbleweed:
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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by M5Lenzar » Sat Jul 02, 2011 20:18

PeterA5145 wrote:I've reported this one to Tameside MBC today :twisted:

I won't hold my breath for it being fixed :tumbleweed:
That example is particularly bad in that it reads that there is a width restriction a whopping 500 miles away. The 'm' may not be officially used for 'miles', but as it is on many signs, the use for metres on this sign is just misleading.

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by orudge » Sun Jul 03, 2011 03:55

Personally, I find the apostrophe in "HGVs" more offensive!

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by Mattsignmaker » Sun Jul 03, 2011 09:03

PeterA5145 wrote:A817 Glen Fruin road above Garelochhead

(This, although classified, is I believe not actually a public road)

If there are any others around, I suspect these people will take a close interest :twisted:

Just had a look in the gallery on that website and that has really hacked me off. I don't spend my days making top notch road signs for some idiot who has trouble understanding more than one unit of measurement to come along and stick a dodgy patch over it making it look crap.

99% of the signs there are badly patched and one even has brown tape over it!!

Leave my signs alone.
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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by Helvellyn » Sun Jul 03, 2011 15:54

PeterA5145 wrote:I've reported this one to Tameside MBC today :twisted:

I won't hold my breath for it being fixed :tumbleweed:
Urgh, that's offensive for so many reasons.

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by Chris Bertram » Sun Jul 03, 2011 18:24

M5Lenzar wrote:
PeterA5145 wrote:I've reported this one to Tameside MBC today :twisted:

I won't hold my breath for it being fixed :tumbleweed:
That example is particularly bad in that it reads that there is a width restriction a whopping 500 miles away. The 'm' may not be officially used for 'miles', but as it is on many signs, the use for metres on this sign is just misleading.
Actually, it's the motorway advance direction signs that are misleading, as they suggest a junction in 1 metre, and somehow they're always about 1600m out.
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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by Viator » Sun Jul 03, 2011 21:34

PeterA5145 wrote:I've reported this one to Tameside MBC today
Quite right too. "HGV's" should be "HGVs"!

But not just that: "2.0m" should, of course, be "2.0 m" and "500m" should clearly be "500 m". When will they ever learn?

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by Vierwielen » Mon Jul 04, 2011 09:09

PeterA5145 wrote: If there are any others around, I suspect these people will take a close interest :twisted:
"These People" are Tony Bennett (an ex-solicitor) and his friends. Tony Bennett's record includes:

Being repremanded by the Law Society for bringing the profession into disrepute (He has since resigned from the Law Society)

Standing for Parliament (and losing his deposit) as a UKIP candidate and then as a Veritas Party candidate

Trying to launch a private prosecution against Maddie McCann's parents for child neglect

Trying to bring a private prosecution against Michael Barrymore

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by Vierwielen » Mon Jul 04, 2011 09:19

M5Lenzar wrote:
PeterA5145 wrote:I've reported this one to Tameside MBC today :twisted:

I won't hold my breath for it being fixed :tumbleweed:
That example is particularly bad in that it reads that there is a width restriction a whopping 500 miles away. The 'm' may not be officially used for 'miles', but as it is on many signs, the use for metres on this sign is just misleading.
I don't expect the authorities to try to force the sign owners to fix it. The government knows that in respect of metrication, the TSRGD is dodgy - EU legislation requires that miles be written out in full as "m" is the symbol reserved for metres, that feet and inches be denoted by "ft" and "in" as single and double primes are reserved for minutes and seconds of arc, that tonnes should be represented by "t" as "T" is reserved for teslas and that the legislation providing for an exemption to use imperial units does not extend to footpaths. The only reason that the governemt have got away with it is that nobody has decided to throw money at a court case. However, if a Spanish lorry driver were cause a naasty accident as a result of a bridge strike and his solicitor were sharp, the government might be causght with their pants down (as they were with the recent 96 hour bail case).

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by FosseWay » Mon Jul 04, 2011 13:11

Vierwielen wrote:EU legislation requires that miles be written out in full as "m" is the symbol reserved for metres, that feet and inches be denoted by "ft" and "in" as single and double primes are reserved for minutes and seconds of arc, that tonnes should be represented by "t" as "T" is reserved for teslas...
The EU may be able to mandate that in official use of SI units, the correct SI symbol be used. You may therefore be right about t/T, as both tonnes and teslas are bona fide SI units. However, the rules for the use of SI symbols do not apply to non-SI units. I would argue that the m used on ADSs etc. is an abbreviation (not a symbol) of 'miles' and as such is no more misleading or illegal than the common abbreviation 'Lt.' for 'Little', which is probably most commonly used in general life as an abbreviation of 'Lieutenant'.

What the EU emphatically cannot do -- and indeed neither can any legislative body within the UK -- is be the arbiter of what constitutes correct English. The English language does not have an equivalent of the Académie française or the Accademia della Crusca that can make binding pronouncements on the correct form or word to use in a given circumstance. English usage is governed by custom and consensus.

In any case, there is plenty of variation with unit use on road signs within the metric countries of the EU. With speed limits, some use no unit at all, others put km, still others km/h and yet others use a local replacement for h (especially in Scandinavia). I've never been to Bulgaria to verify this, but if it's anything like other (non-EU) Cyrillic-using countries, it will have км in lower-case Cyrillic, which again is not the official SI symbol.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: Ignorance of the law is no defence. If a Spanish (or whoever) lorry driver demolishes a bridge because he doesn't understand feet and inches, he is 100% to blame (presuming the signage was physically present and gave the correct height of the bridge), just as a British lorry driver would be if he demolished a Spanish bridge because he didn't understand metres. If you drive in another country, it's entirely up to you to familiarise yourself with the local driving laws and customs, including the signs. In any case, especially in urban areas, there are likely to be far more signs that are of uncertain meaning to someone who doesn't speak the language they're written in than just ones that are predominantly numerical. No-one seriously suggests that all text-based signs should be eliminated, yet they are far more likely to be a source of confusion than an ADS that says 1 m.
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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by Vierwielen » Mon Jul 04, 2011 15:22

FosseWay wrote: I've said this before and I'll say it again: Ignorance of the law is no defence.
I agree that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

The European Communities Act 1972 states that EU directives are automatically part of UK law. The EU have explicitly incorporated ISO 31 into directive on units of measure, so deviations from the EU directive puts the member state at fault, not the individual. Moreover, there is a precedent in the European Court of Justice that if a member state fails to carry out an EU directive, an individual is is harmed by that failure can claim damages from the state concerend - thus our Spanish driver (any anybody else who was injured) could get damages from the UK government.

If the argument went to court, it woudl be up to the court to decide whether the UK should be using symbols or abbreviations on road signs, the bottom line being that if the Government lost, they woudl have a major problem on their hands.

Yes, ignorance of the law is no excuse, not for a Spanish driver and not for HMG - in the final instance it would be up to the courts to decide who was in ignorance of the law.

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by GC_NEMan1 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 18:12

Here's a thought on metrication -- would it have been more likely that metrication would have been completed in Britain, had we never joined the EEC (as it was then)?

After all, the anti-metric lobby sells itself as a patriotic resistance to EU meddling...

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by M5Lenzar » Mon Jul 04, 2011 18:46

GC_NEMan1 wrote:Here's a thought on metrication -- would it have been more likely that metrication would have been completed in Britain, had we never joined the EEC (as it was then)?

After all, the anti-metric lobby sells itself as a patriotic resistance to EU meddling...
I disagree. If we hadn't joined the EEC, the argument that there was no need to change due to not being members would probably have been used.

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by GC_NEMan1 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 19:37

M5Lenzar wrote:I disagree. If we hadn't joined the EEC, the argument that there was no need to change due to not being members would probably have been used.
Why did Australia, New Zealand and Canada go metric then?

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by kc1 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 21:11

GC_NEMan1 wrote:
M5Lenzar wrote:I disagree. If we hadn't joined the EEC, the argument that there was no need to change due to not being members would probably have been used.
Why did Australia, New Zealand and Canada go metric then?
So they weren't left behind when we did. The irony! :lol:

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by Vierwielen » Mon Jul 04, 2011 21:19

GC_NEMan1 wrote:Here's a thought on metrication -- would it have been more likely that metrication would have been completed in Britain, had we never joined the EEC (as it was then)?

After all, the anti-metric lobby sells itself as a patriotic resistance to EU meddling...
That is quite possible, the real reason for the metrication slowdown was the sterling crisis towards the end of Wilson's premiership, so metrication of road signs was put on hold (Wilson's majorioty was in single figures and he had to placate every one of his back-benchers). When Callaghan became PM, he had a majority of zero (and falling), so he could only just hold the fort. Then Maggie (in spite of her iniital training as a scientist) siezed on metrication as a weapon with which to take a high-profile anti-EEC stance when she came back after an EEC summit saying "We [royal?] have saved the pint and the mile for Britain".

In my view, we are still paying for Maggie's ego-trip of thirty years ago by a deteriorating level of numeracy amongst not only our young people, but by our not so young under-50s who never learnt the imperial system at school and who do not had much exposure to the metric system since leaving school.

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by PeterA5145 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 19:01

GC_NEMan1 wrote:
M5Lenzar wrote:I disagree. If we hadn't joined the EEC, the argument that there was no need to change due to not being members would probably have been used.
Why did Australia, New Zealand and Canada go metric then?
Was it perhaps a symbolic way of cutting the apron strings with the mother country?
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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by Vierwielen » Tue Jul 05, 2011 21:02

PeterA5145 wrote:
GC_NEMan1 wrote:
M5Lenzar wrote:I disagree. If we hadn't joined the EEC, the argument that there was no need to change due to not being members would probably have been used.
Why did Australia, New Zealand and Canada go metric then?
Was it perhaps a symbolic way of cutting the apron strings with the mother country?
Not so much as cutting the strings, but getting on with the job without giving in to whingers. The metrication program was announced in the UK in 1965. South Africa, which, formal Commonwealth membership aside, had very similar links to the UK as did Australia, New Zealand and Canada announced her program in 1968. The South African Metrication Board was dissolved in 1978, job done. The UK Metrication Board was dissolved in 1981, ostensibly as a cost-cutting exercise, but with the by-product of the Prime Minister scoring a few points at the expense of the EEC Commission. I certainly saw saw some dual-unit height warning signs in about 1980 in the Guildford area (A3?) which subsequently disappeared.

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by M5Lenzar » Tue Jul 05, 2011 22:08

Vierwielen wrote: In my view, we are still paying for Maggie's ego-trip of thirty years ago by a deteriorating level of numeracy amongst not only our young people, but by our not so young under-50s who never learnt the imperial system at school and who do not had much exposure to the metric system since leaving school.
Hmm..simple, just teach Imperial measures alongside metric. I was taught in both (and have since discarded the metric), and certainly do not consider myself to be at all ill-numerate. It is, after all, easier to teach children that there's 20 fluid ounces in a pint than to expect every pub to change all their glasses etc.

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Re: Existing metric road signs

Post by hughster » Tue Jul 05, 2011 23:06

FosseWay wrote:I've said this before and I'll say it again: Ignorance of the law is no defence. If a Spanish (or whoever) lorry driver demolishes a bridge because he doesn't understand feet and inches, he is 100% to blame (presuming the signage was physically present and gave the correct height of the bridge), just as a British lorry driver would be if he demolished a Spanish bridge because he didn't understand metres. If you drive in another country, it's entirely up to you to familiarise yourself with the local driving laws and customs, including the signs.
Except that in in the UK, it's not just a case of familiarising yourself with signs, which are mostly much the same as those elsewhere in Europe, but with a completely alien system of measurement liberally and confusingly mixed with the familiar.

While these two identical signs mean the same thing:

ImageD ImageGB

These two do not:

ImageD ImageGB

While these two important safety signs are mutually intelligible:

ImageD ImageGB

These two are not:

ImageD ImageGB

And while these two signs refer to the same type of road:

ImageD ImageGB

These two do not refer to the same distances on that road:

ImageF ImageGB

It's not unreasonable to assume that the Worboys Committee opted for pictographic "Vienna Convention" sign designs matching those of most other European and world nations with the aim that everyone, regardless of nationality, could derive the same meaning from them. If they had not appreciated the value of doing so, we would still be like the USA and have proprietary and verbose signs that look like this:

Image Image

However, we're left with the baffling situation where we have standard sign designs that all visiting drivers will understand but with non-standard measurements on them that virtually no visiting drivers will understand. One would be forgiven for concluding that this has a lot to do with foreign drivers routinely speeding and demolishing bridges.

It strikes me that it's not so much that our signs should be "metric"; it's that if we appreciate the value of standardised sign appearance, we should appreciate the value of standardised sign units.

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