‘Cyclists Dismount’ Signs

by Dave Sutton

Cyclists Dismount: Newhaven Railway Crossing

Occasionally when cycling you may come across signs like this. Do you know the differing legal status between them? Conflict with other users of the path can arise, due to lack of understanding of the legal status of such signs.

Although The Highway Code shows many of the signs commonly in use, a comprehensive explanation of our roads signing system is given in the Department of Transport’s booklet “Know Your Traffic Signs”, which is available to view online and on sale at booksellers. The booklet also illustrates and explains the vast majority of signs the road user is likely to encounter.

Page 9 of the Know Your Signs booklet states;

“Blue circles generally give a mandatory instruction, such as “turn left”, or indicate a route available only to particular classes of traffic, e.g. buses and cycles only.”

“Red rings or circles tell you what you must not do, e.g. you must not exceed 30 mph, no vehicles over the height shown may proceed.”

 “Blue rectangles are used for information signs except on motorways where blue is used for direction signs”  

The “Know your Traffic Signs” booklet, will include the words  “Must or Must Not” if there is a legal requirement to observe a traffic sign.

On page 36 of the Know Your Signs booklet is the Cyclists Dismount sign with the wording Pedal cyclists to dismount at end of, or break in, a cycle lane, track or route”

So by not including the words “Must or Must Not” on the cyclists dismount blue rectangular sign, the implication is that the sign is for information only, unlike the red Circle “Cycling Prohibited” which is mandatory.

The likely legal interpretation  of the Blue Cyclists Dismount signs are clarified on Cycling UK’s website which states; 

No Cycling sign: Martello Tower, Seaford Seafront

The legal status of a ‘cyclists dismount’ sign depends on the type of sign. Where there is a ‘cyclists dismount’ sign with a bicycle in a red circle, the instructions are mandatory under s.36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. If not, the signs are advisory and there is no legal obligation to follow them. They may, however, signal a significant increase in the risk of danger, so this does not mean they can be safely ignored. A failure to dismount could be taken into account if there were a collision. When considering the rights of the police to fine road users, it is also worth remembering that the police can fine a road user for anti-social behaviour. In some situations, this could justify fining a cyclist for riding through a ‘cyclists dismount’ sign”.

Cyclists Dismount: Newhaven Swing Bridge

So why are the signs there on both the bridge and the railway crossing you may well ask? Well, that’s because like all things that are controlled by Government, there is of course a standard to which road signs are placed.

 

The law for traffic sign placement is contained in the Statutory Instrument (SI) “2016 No. 362 ROAD TRAFFIC The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016”

This legislation details the legal status of such signage, page 205 of the SI shows the cyclists dismount sign and the cyclists rejoin carriageway sign in two variants along with the wording “Diagram 966 Pedal cyclists to rejoin main carriageway or dismount at the end of, or at a break in, a cycle track or route”

The Traffic Signs Manual is a UK government publication on traffic signs giving guidance on the above SI to Highway Authorities. Chapter 3 page 155 para 17.37 it states.

“The sign to diagram 966 (CYCLISTS DISMOUNT) may be used together with the sign to diagram 965, or on its own. The sign should be provided only where cyclists are required to use a pedestrian crossing facility that they cannot legally cycle on, at the entrance to a pedestrian area, at a location with a low headroom or width restriction (e.g. a subway or bridge) or at places where visibility is restricted to such an extent that cycling would be unsafe (see also para 5.8)”.

On that basis the Cyclists Dismount signs at the Newhaven Swing Bridge, would appear to be denoting the end of the shared use path where it becomes the bridge.

If the path at the side of the bridge is a footway, and not a cycle route, then of course cycling on it is illegal in contravention of the Section 72 of Highway Act 1835.

The legal status of riding on the pavement across the river bridge is unknown, as the footbridge is not defined as a public right of way on ESCC Rights of Way map. So in conclusion, the signs on Newhaven Swing Bridge are not a mandatory dismount for cyclists, however cycling across the bridge may be depending on the status of the pavement. As such this is very confusing.

Tour of Britain – Motorcycle Escort Video

Cycle Seahaven member Eon Matthews is also a member of the National Escort Group GB. Eon has escorted all 11 Tour of Britain cycle races, and was amazed when he found out the tour was coming through his home town. Eon has compiled footage of Stage Seven of the ToB which came through his hometown of Seaford, which you can view on YouTube using this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy0rIZEq0Nk

Eon gives us an insight to being part of National Escort Group GB:
” It is honestly a hard week although some would say what is hard about riding a motorcycle on closed roads escorting cyclists,  staying in 5* hotels and getting paid for it?  Well you have got to have your wits about you. Over the years I have had car doors open on me,  pedestrians walking out on me,  being cut up by the team cars and trying to get through the peloton to name a few,  as well as getting to the start up to 1 hour before the race of over 100 miles,  then onto the next hotel which can be over 4 hours it is a long day in the saddle –  but I wouldn’t change it.

How we get picked is done by our regional coordinators. Every weekend during the season we are the safety bikes for local road race leagues and we have to do x amount to be in line for being picked. You also need to be a level one rider (level 3 being trainee) or possibly level 2 depending on how experienced you are.

The other good thing was that I could pick up the cakes for the Escort team as I was passing through.  This has become a sort of tradition that whenever we go through one of the members towns they supply the cakes for the rest of the team. Normally we have Welsh cake as one of our member’s wife normally bakes them, but we were not going no near his town so it was my turn.

I believe that the tour is looking to come back into sussex again which would be good.”

 

 

 

Tour of Britain – Seaford Video

If any of you missed the Tour of Britain as it passed through, or you need a reminder, then check out this video by Christopher Conil. It gives you a marvellous taste of the atmosphere and excitement surrounding this event.

Helmet cams and police evidence

With the reduction in price and weight of helmet cameras we are seeing more and more evidence of ‘questionable’ road use being posted to such sites as YouTube and Vimeo. At Cycle Seahaven’s meeting with our Police and Crime Commissioner (Katy Bourne) we were advised that cyclists DO NOT publish video evidence of aggressive and dangerous behaviour. Instead, such evidence should be reported to your local policing team. Online publishing of such video evidence makes it very hard for police to pursue a case.

Be polite and be safe.

The Avenue Verte: An Update

The Avenue Verte, a route between London and Paris for cyclists and walkers was signposted along it’s entire length just over 12 months ago. Ideally, you should now be able to jump on your bike in London or Seaford/Newhaven and just follow the signs to Paris but the signposting seems patchy so you could well get lost. However, help is now available in the form of the official guide to the Avenue Verte which has recently been published by Sustrans. It’s a good little book and has a wealth of useful information including maps, directions and accommodation addresses so would be an essential purchase if you’re going to cycle to Paris, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

Avenue Verte signpost on National Cycle Route 2

Avenue Verte signpost on National Cycle Route 2

The route is still being developed and, at present, only about 40% is traffic-free although this proportion should increase over the next few years, albeit gradually. Some of the route is on quiet country roads which is fine but, some is on of bridle paths which are not suitable for road bikes, especially if loaded with panniers. I haven’t yet read the book cover to cover but is seems that alternatives to these bridle paths aren’t always suggested which is a shame as cyclists may either have to walk or spend time trying to devise detours.

The start/end points in the capital cities are the London Eye and Notre Dame Cathedral. The route from London to Newhaven makes use of National Cycle Routes 4, 20, 21 and 2 and includes the Wandle Trail, Worth Way, Forest Way and the Cuckoo Trail. The total distance is 99 miles. Then it’s a ferry across the English Channel from Newhaven to Dieppe and a further 148 or 188 miles to Paris depending on which way you go.

The route from Dieppe to Paris is in three sections. The first, from Dieppe to Gournay is 51 miles and includes the superb 27 mile traffic-free stretch between Arques-la-Bataille and Forges-les-Eaux. The second starts just south of Gournay where the Avenue Verte splits into two. There is a 74 mile option which takes a westerly approach to Paris or a 114 mile option which goes eastwards for quite a long way before turning south westerly towards Paris. The two routes join at St Germain on the outskirts of Paris. The third section, from St Germain to Notre Dame Cathedral is 23 miles.

Having the choice of two routes could be an advantage in that you can cycle to Paris on one route and return using the alternative. This could appeal to those of us living in the Seahaven area who just want to cycle from Dieppe to Paris and back.

You can buy the Avenue Verte guide book from Sustrans. The link is: http://shop.sustrans.org.uk/products/6353-avenue-verte–london-to-paris-by-bike

Bonne chance!

Clive Aberdour