Confusingly signed cycle routes

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mjr
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby mjr » 27 Feb 2019, 8:02pm

mjr wrote:Improved signs are a quick win but only if the infrastructure exists and is used enough that missing/needed signs actually get spotted and reported and fixed. Things like http://www.fixmystreet.com have helped with reporting but getting them fixed is still a problem which is why I'd like people who use bikes to take control. Maybe we can agree some guidelines that are worth following? For example:-
  • route arrow stickers should be placed fairly high so they aren't easily obscured by parked vans
  • a → turn arrow on the last available pole before a turn
  • a ^ confirmation arrow on the first available pole after a turn
  • sideways-facing double arrows ←→ at intervals along the route, both as confirmation and advertising the route to newcomers
  • print the route arrows as circles so the same sticker can do duty for all arrow directions, colour code the arrow backgrounds and print the route endpoint names around the circle border
[...]

Interestingly, I found http://www.randovelo.org/fr/vebalis.php recently which I've translated as http://mjr.towers.org.uk/proj/cyclynn/waymarking.html - it differs from the above list in that confirmation arrows should be after all junctions not only turns, side-facing arrows are a no-no (not worth the cost saving) and it uses simple paint or stickers so the endpoint names aren't gonna happen.

I didn't think the = waymarks would be recognised here, so I looked to see what is already used in the UK and found https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... of-way.pdf which uses blue arrows for bridleways. I guess blue arrows could be used for cycleways without much problem.

Of course, as a government publication, it says it's "essential" to contact the highway authority which "is responsible for the rights of way in its area. Its duties include erecting and maintaining signposts wherever a footpath, bridleway or byway leaves a surfaced road, and waymarking those rights of way where, in the authority’s opinion, it is necessary to help anyone unfamiliar with the locality to follow the route."

That's just not realistic, is it? We've got far too many highway authority opinions that cyclists should get lost rather than have any help following routes. We should have blanket permission allowing some reasonable modest waymarking like the Walloons!
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby mjr » 27 Feb 2019, 8:11pm

iviehoff wrote:
Ron wrote:
iviehoff wrote: - we followed a long distance route for a while and it seemed very thinly signed. But I think there may have been some little paint splashes or something which I never spotted - I did see some such coloured markers here and there but didn't know what they were.

Possibly you were following a long distance walking route?

I'm quite sure I wasn't. The numbered long-distance cycle routes are preceded by the letters LF followed by the number of the route, and are grey-green, and were in the right place according to the map. http://en.nederlandfietsland.nl/en/long ... cle-routes The question is, were there small repeater signs whose nature I did not identify, because the obvious LF signs were not at every junction, nowhere near, on the route. And I followed several of these routes for extended sections at times.

The Walloon page I linked above applied to the RV routes. I wonder whether the LF routes in Flanders (which the RV routes connect to) used to be marked in a similar fashion before Flanders got more serious about cycling?
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 27 Feb 2019, 11:48pm

London's cycle route signage system right now is a horrible mess. You have the Cycle Superhighways (generation 1 with blue paint, generation 2 with no blue paint). You have the Quietways. You have the National Cycle Network which, as Sustrans recognises, was laid out in an era pre-Superhighways and needs to be realigned in places. You have the London Cycle Network and its offspring the LCN+.

The signage for any one of these does not coordinate with any others. Today I rode a fairly unimaginative route following Q2, CS6 and LCN0 - this is the main route from Islington to Marylebone/Paddington, so not exactly obscure. Getting from Q2 onto CS6 was guesswork. CS6 appears to end on LCN0 without warning. LCN0 is apparently becoming Q2 but you wouldn't know. LCN signage has always been terrible and following LCN0 itself, which is the best London route before the 2nd generation cycle superhighways, pretty much requires you to either have an app or prior knowledge of the route. There are several places where different "networks" offer similar but divergent routes from A to a nearby B, and all the original signage is still in place, so you have to think "oh, I'm following a Quietway so I should ignore this other signage".

I think Sadiq Khan appears to have realised this and is talking about removing the separate branding from the different routes, but I fear this will just be used as an excuse to deliver less segregated infrastructure and still claim he's built "cycle routes". The current mess is a boon for bike routing software (ahem) but terrible for finding your way across town. Which is a great shame, because some of the infrastructure is genuinely superb.

(The unsegregated north end of CS6, on the other hand, really needs fixing. I almost got taken out by a white van on one of the bends and it was not at all surprising given the road design. Heavy-duty filtered permeability would be ok, but the current situation wouldn't be acceptable for a 15-year old NCN route in Barnsley let alone a brand-new Superhighway in London.)
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Bmblbzzz » 1 Mar 2019, 8:19pm

mjr wrote:
mjr wrote:Improved signs are a quick win but only if the infrastructure exists and is used enough that missing/needed signs actually get spotted and reported and fixed. Things like http://www.fixmystreet.com have helped with reporting but getting them fixed is still a problem which is why I'd like people who use bikes to take control. Maybe we can agree some guidelines that are worth following? For example:-
  • route arrow stickers should be placed fairly high so they aren't easily obscured by parked vans
  • a → turn arrow on the last available pole before a turn
  • a ^ confirmation arrow on the first available pole after a turn
  • sideways-facing double arrows ←→ at intervals along the route, both as confirmation and advertising the route to newcomers
  • print the route arrows as circles so the same sticker can do duty for all arrow directions, colour code the arrow backgrounds and print the route endpoint names around the circle border
[...]

Interestingly, I found http://www.randovelo.org/fr/vebalis.php recently which I've translated as http://mjr.towers.org.uk/proj/cyclynn/waymarking.html - it differs from the above list in that confirmation arrows should be after all junctions not only turns, side-facing arrows are a no-no (not worth the cost saving) and it uses simple paint or stickers so the endpoint names aren't gonna happen.

I didn't think the = waymarks would be recognised here, so I looked to see what is already used in the UK and found https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... of-way.pdf which uses blue arrows for bridleways. I guess blue arrows could be used for cycleways without much problem.

Of course, as a government publication, it says it's "essential" to contact the highway authority which "is responsible for the rights of way in its area. Its duties include erecting and maintaining signposts wherever a footpath, bridleway or byway leaves a surfaced road, and waymarking those rights of way where, in the authority’s opinion, it is necessary to help anyone unfamiliar with the locality to follow the route."

That's just not realistic, is it? We've got far too many highway authority opinions that cyclists should get lost rather than have any help following routes. We should have blanket permission allowing some reasonable modest waymarking like the Walloons!

I'm a bit confused as to the context here. Those French markings are intended to be permanent ones on routes such as whatever the French equivalent of NCN is, right? They're not for events such as randonees? To me they look a bit cryptic. The use of multiple lines of differing lengths is unintuitive compared to something pointing in the appropriate direction; that might be an arrow, a line or something like a pointing hand, it might be straight or include an angle to represent the current road and the one you turn on to, it might also show the other roads at the junction, or it might not. But a sign such as:
Image
does not to me indicate obviously a turn. It's surely not just chance that road signs throughout the world use arrows or pointers of some sort to indicate direction, why should cyclists have to use code?

There's also an obvious problem with this scheme in that it doesn't cope with more than one side road on the same side. Fortunately that isn't common, but it does happen (five-way junctions etc). However, having a confirmation (or anti-confirmatory!) sign after the junction is a good idea for reassurance.

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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby mjr » 1 Mar 2019, 10:24pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:It's surely not just chance that road signs throughout the world use arrows or pointers of some sort to indicate direction, why should cyclists have to use code?

It's not just cyclists. The same markings in different colours are used for walking routes abroad (from memory, I think I've seen them in France, Spain and Austria as well as Belgium).

But as I noted, the UK uses arrows for walking and cycling waymarks, so we're not used to the = system.
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby mjr » 1 Mar 2019, 10:53pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:London's cycle route signage system right now is a horrible mess.

Is London the only place in the country suffering too much signage instead of not enough?
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Bmblbzzz » 2 Mar 2019, 5:31pm

mjr wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:It's surely not just chance that road signs throughout the world use arrows or pointers of some sort to indicate direction, why should cyclists have to use code?

It's not just cyclists. The same markings in different colours are used for walking routes abroad (from memory, I think I've seen them in France, Spain and Austria as well as Belgium).

But as I noted, the UK uses arrows for walking and cycling waymarks, so we're not used to the = system.

Okay, but why? Why not arrows or some other form of pointer?

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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby mjr » 2 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:
mjr wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:It's surely not just chance that road signs throughout the world use arrows or pointers of some sort to indicate direction, why should cyclists have to use code?

It's not just cyclists. The same markings in different colours are used for walking routes abroad (from memory, I think I've seen them in France, Spain and Austria as well as Belgium).

But as I noted, the UK uses arrows for walking and cycling waymarks, so we're not used to the = system.

Okay, but why? Why not arrows or some other form of pointer?

Arrows are difficult to cut accurately with an axe. According to https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signalisa ... %A9destres the = way marks started off made that way.

It appears that they are now registered trademarks of the equivalent of the Ramblers Association.
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 2 Mar 2019, 6:19pm

And weirdly, the FFRP (French ramblers) copyright the routes themselves, so they're mostly not shown on OpenStreetMap.
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Bmblbzzz » 2 Mar 2019, 6:46pm

mjr wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:
mjr wrote:It's not just cyclists. The same markings in different colours are used for walking routes abroad (from memory, I think I've seen them in France, Spain and Austria as well as Belgium).

But as I noted, the UK uses arrows for walking and cycling waymarks, so we're not used to the = system.

Okay, but why? Why not arrows or some other form of pointer?

Arrows are difficult to cut accurately with an axe. According to https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signalisa ... %A9destres the = way marks started off made that way.

It appears that they are now registered trademarks of the equivalent of the Ramblers Association.

Ha ha! That's a lovely bit of history, thank you!

Richard Fairhurst wrote:And weirdly, the FFRP (French ramblers) copyright the routes themselves, so they're mostly not shown on OpenStreetMap.

And that's odd and I would imagine rather annoying to hikers in France.

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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby mjr » 6 Mar 2019, 5:08pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:And weirdly, the FFRP (French ramblers) copyright the routes themselves, so they're mostly not shown on OpenStreetMap.

Strangely only true for the walking routes? The Belgian cycling routes seem freely available and included on OSM, marked with RV (Rando-Velo, the network marker). That's different from the government-marked RAVeL system, but both seem to coexist.

Coming back to the UK and wondering again about waymarking routes where councils are failing to do it, I found this from the Ramblers: https://www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/righ ... tices.aspx which points at the law https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/19 ... ection/132 against "unauthorised marks on highways" unless you have "lawful authority or reasonable excuse". Does anyone know if a longstanding failure of the highways department to waymark any cycle routes between some towns (or authorise anyone to do it) would be a "reasonable excuse" for cyclists to do it for themselves? I found no case law on bailii.org
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby mjr » 6 Sep 2019, 12:50pm

Well, someone has been marking the proposed local cycle routes around West Norfolk with blue/white arrow stickers on sign and lamp posts. I do not know who (and direct action is hardly unusual here so there are plenty of suspects, but I don't want to know), but some have been up for a few months now and from observation, five types seem to have been used so far (possibly indicating different people or groups doing it?):

1. paper sticker of a white bike on blue square with small white arrow beneath. I guess these are cheap and fairly environment-friendly but they seem to fall apart after a while, revealing their paper nature;.
2. white bike on blue square with a blue triangle extending the square into an arrow shape - I've not noticed them for long enough for me to know if they are the same short-life construction as the first. They seem closer to the old council walking route stickers (which have been mostly replaced by wooden signs recently);
3. rectangular white chevron on blue foil tape, sometimes with the route number stuck onto the arrow or written on it;
4. rectangular white chevron on blue, flexible plastic hexagon reflector tape, sometimes with route number - these seem to be yellowing quickly, especially on the north sides of posts;
5. small blue arrow - only spotted in town so far, OK on light grey posts but low contrast on dark grey ones, requires you to slow right down to spot them, which I guess people do at junctions in town.

Has this sort of route marking happened anywhere else? Maybe sportive signs being "accidentally" left to form permanent route signs?
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby gaz » 6 Sep 2019, 9:28pm

I've certainly seen what I take to be sportive signs adorning routes, sometimes obscuring NCN signs. Many there weeks, months or years after the event has passed. I can't see how they serve any value to anyone not on the event.

A NCN1 sign recently disappeared after a lamppost was replaced following a RTA, the highway authority advised me that they are not responsible for signing NCN routes on the roads they maintain at public expense :? .

Naturaly I've assured them that they are, although I still don't anticipate that they will :( .
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Vorpal » 8 Sep 2019, 5:39pm

Do Cycling UK still have authority to erect signs?
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby gaz » 8 Sep 2019, 5:48pm

AndyK wrote:The CTC can erect temporary road signs. It still has to get permission from the highway authority to do so, but it's exempt from any charge the authority might usually make for such permission.


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