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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Irish Department of Transport mis-using International Road Sign

This post is based on discussions with boards.ie Commuting and Transport forum posters and the Galway Cycling campaign.

Minister Donohoe publishes new ‘Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits’ Thursday 19 March 2015

New signage being introduced for minor local roads in rural areas and for new urban ‘Slow Zones’ for residential areas
New Urban ‘Slow Zones’ (30km/h) for housing estates
Local Authorities and community groups are encouraged to consider the implementation of ‘Slow Zones’ in self-contained areas that consist of local roads with low traffic volumes and minimal through traffic. It is envisaged that each such zone should be a self-enforcing, reduced-speed area with speed bumps, markings or other traffic calming treatments as required. They should be developed and implemented as a local authority supported, community based approach to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h and to add safety measures within a select area in order to change driver behaviour. The ultimate goal of a ‘Slow Zone’ is to lower the incidence and severity of crashes and to enhance quality of life. New signage is also being unveiled tomorrow to support Slow Zones.
Councils across the country are bringing in 30kph pilot speed limits and also calling them slow zones and using this symbol.

Home Zones
This is international recognised symbol for Home Zones, shared space areas with 20kph speed limts and pedestrian priority. The Vienna Convention On Road Signs And Signals 2006 (sign E17 on p.145)

No. 17847. European Agreement Supplementing The Convention On Road Traffic Opened For Signature At Vienna On 8 November 1968. Concluded At Geneva On 1 May 197
Article 27 bis
The aim of establishing special rules applicable to "residential areas" is to facilitate the coexistence of drivers and pedestrians on roads where there is little traffic, thus improving social contacts between local residents and improving pedestrian safety by making special arrangements to this effect, notably by eliminating the conventional distinction between carriageway and pavement. Special rules which apply to "residential areas" signposted as such shall be known to drivers in international traffic.
"ARTICLE 27 bis

Special rules applicable to residential areas signposted as such

In residential areas, signposted as such:

(a) Pedestrians may make use of the road over its entire width. Games are allowed;

(b) Drivers shall proceed at very low speed , as specified by national legislation and which in no case should exceed 20 km (12 miles) per hour;

(c) Drivers shall not put pedestrians at risk nor behave in an obstructive manner. If necessary they shall stop;

(d) Pedestrians shall not impede vehicular traffic unnecessarily;

(e) Parking is forbidden except where allowed by parking signs;

(f) At intersections, road users emerging from a residential area shall give way to other road users, except when otherwise provided in domestic legislation

So why are the government/council using the symbol for 30kph zones with no pedestrian priority?

In the Road Safety Authority announcement of these new s Rural Speed Limits launched at the same time it says.

This new sign is a ‘black circle with diagonal which is in use internationally under the Vienna signage convention

isn't it strange that state body cites the UN Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals one minute and ignores it the next. This seems to be idea from the department marketeers rather then road traffic designers.

Up until the recent Rural Speed limit/Slow zone announcement, councils were using the "Children at play" warning sign, which is appropriate because despite children often playing on roads they are not supposed to, hopefully 30kph limits will help everybody's reaction time, and lessen any injury or death.


Sign W 142, Children Crossing

Traffic signs manual 2010 Chapter 6 warning signs
Sign W 142, Children Crossing, may be used to alert drivers to the danger of children crossing roads in residential areas other than at schools and playgrounds. The sign should be provided only in towns and villages, on roads of a primarily residential character with continuous housing frontage. The sign may also be provided at the
entrances to housing estates from main traffic routes.

Galway Cycling explains it, and wrote to the Minister requesting he not misuse the signs. Jake’s Legacy – Update law or drop confusing and contradictory road sign

Links
Minister Donohoe publishes new ‘Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits’ RSA.ie 19 March 2015

Speed Limits Review body publishes report & recommends new appeals system DTTA 2013