Highway signs have been pushing a campaign regarding motorcyclists for some time, but it has always been directed at car drivers. This is understandable, as drivers need to be aware of motorcyclists, but there seems to be a general lack of commitment towards ensuring that bikers look after themselves.
You need only go onto YouTube to see a plethora of videos that demonstrate the kinds of crashes that motorcyclists get themselves into. To be fair to them, it isn’t usually their fault, but there are scenarios in which the motorcyclist is being reckless or simply isn’t respecting the road. The latter of these reasons often manifests as a result of poor signage – the thrill of riding a bike should be tempered by informative signs.
Motorbike accidents often occur in what police refer to as “accident hot-spots” – areas in which the crash frequency is already high. These are often a popular target for signage by the Highway Agencies, but there are many people, bikers among that number, that are calling for better signage, and for more than one reason.
There are many, presumably obvious, reasons for employing better safety signage at some of our country’s most frequent crash sites, but the one that tops the list is, and always will be, awareness.
Whilst police may often work alongside the Highways Agency to put deterrents in place in certain areas, the number one reason for signage is not an attempt to make you late but to give you the information necessary to protect both yourselves and others. The more aware you are of your surroundings and potential hazards in the road, the less likely you are to have an accident. No matter how reckless you are as a driver, signage is designed to make you think twice about your actions.
Signage isn’t always there in relation to an actual hazard or potential obstacle, it will also appear on long strips of road just to keep you thinking or to act as a deterrent. Long strips of road can offer themselves up lightly for both car drivers and motorcyclists alike – it beckons the driver to put their foot down and go faster. Some signage is there as a preventative measure. This, we suppose, is a method of awareness in itself.
At the end of the day it all comes down to safety. Whether signs are there to make you aware of potential risks or acting as a deterrent from abusing your vehicle and the roads, everything is about how safe you are and how safe the people around you are.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article – there has been an ongoing campaign directed at car drivers to be more aware of motorcyclists, but, whilst there have been endeavours to ensure motorcyclists are using the road safely, there seems to be a discrepancy between the two.
As fellow road users, everyone has a right to be safe and as such everyone should behave safely when on the road. With that in mind, do you think that more signs are the way forward to creating better road safety for its users? What sort of signs should be implemented and are there any signs in your area that you think work well?
Jill Henderson is a representative for CubeSafety Supplies who specialise in supplying health and safety signs for businesses.