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Motorway variable speed limits
Tsst
post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 09:10
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Hi,



Last night I was traveling on M25 and the gantry I was heading to was displaying a restricted speed limit of 50 mph. The next gantry displayed 40 mph. However the following 2 gantries were blank ( no speed restriction limit displayed ) and the 3rd gantry following that displayed the "National Speed Limit" sign.



If there is no speed restriction displayed on a particular gantry following a gantry which displays a speed restriction does it mean that there is no restriction anymore ( which is 70 MPH )? As I understand there should be a derestriction sign displayed specifically to inform the motorists that the speed limit restriction has ended but this does not always seem to be the case.



I have drawn a diagram to better explain the query that I have. When passing under gantries 3 and 4 what should the speed limit be?





GANTRY 1: 50 MPH displayed -----> GANTRY 2: 40 MPH displayed ------> GANTRY 3: BLANK ------> GANTRY 4: BLANK -----> GANTRY 5: NATIONAL SPEED LIMIT displayed



Regards
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post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 09:10
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Jlc
post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 12:43
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If I'm allowed to comment on legal facts (as I was previously tongue.gif)...

(4) is in regards to signs that are changing - i.e. 10 seconds before the vehicle passed. It's the grace period for changing limit?

So if the signs was either blank or NSL and it then changes to another limit the driver has 10 seconds (minimum) before enforcement could commence.

This post has been edited by Jlc: Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 12:45


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666
post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 13:09
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 13:33) *
But (4) specifically says that a blank sign indicates no limit - a positive indication, not a passive one.

Hence it meets the requirements of (i) - a speed limit sign indicating a different limit - in this case no limit.

And then (4) goes on to say that a blank sign has the same meaning as an NSL sign - as not indicating any limit.

The only logical way to read it is that a blank sign indicates (at least) NSL, otherwise NSL signs cannot possibly have any meaning.


(4) actually says that a blank sign "is to be taken as not indicating any speed limit".

That is not the same as "indicates no limit".

A Bus Lane sign does not indicate any speed limit, nor does a Give Way sign, etc. That does not mean that there is no speed limit.
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notmeatloaf
post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 13:24
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No, (4) says that it applies to signs that "indicated no limit".

Thus a blank sign has a meaning in itself. Otherwise the legislation would not specify that they indicate something, and then go on to define what they mean.

Something does not have to be lit to have significance. Street lighting and 30mph as a prime example.
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The Slithy Tove
post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 13:59
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The trouble with that clause (4) is that there is an "or" in it, with no clear indication where the silent/missing "either" is. Leaving out the subclause about the 10 seconds, it could be any of

For the purposes of this regulation
a speed limit sign is to be taken as not indicating any speed limit if the sign had indicated
EITHER no speed limit
or that the national speed limit was in force.

For the purposes of this regulation
a speed limit sign is to be taken
EITHER as not indicating any speed limit if the sign had indicated no speed limit
or that the national speed limit was in force.

For the purposes of this regulation
a speed limit sign is to be taken as not indicating any speed limit
EITHER if the sign had indicated no speed limit
or that the national speed limit was in force.

Each makes varying degrees of sense and subtly different meaning. Whoever drafted this wasn't a mathematician (who would use brackets to clearly indicate what went with what).
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notmeatloaf
post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 14:21
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To be the crucial bit is "not indicating any speed limit".

Which could, without the NSL on the end, indicate that the sign does not amend the speed limit.

However to me, including in a clause with NSL can only mean that a blank sign itself has meaning. It would be careless in the extreme otherwise not to have the reference to NSL in a separate clause.

I think the intention is fairly clear as well, it is fairly common in my experience to have a series of limits end with a blank gantry. Otherwise how many gantries would you wait until concluding the limit is finished? And how, on a motorway like the M25 with frequent junctions, would it make sense for vehicles to have different limits depending on where they joined the motorway? If blank signs had no meaning there would surely be provision.
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666
post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 15:18
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We all seem to be agreed that the regulation is badly drafted.

However, surely the concept that a blank sign has ANY meaning is a nonsense?
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notmeatloaf
post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 16:58
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Not really. The whole design of variable speed limits is that the limit is repeated on every gantry regardless of whether the limit changes. A blank gantry indicates a failure in that system.

Plus anyone who has driven through VSLs knows that presumably because they are dynamically being shortened then there is no guarantee you will pass a NSL gantry, often it ends in blank signs. At that point after what period do you assume the limit ends?

Making blank = end of speed limit is a tidy way of avoiding a convoluted rule. If they had phrased it intelligibly.

This post has been edited by notmeatloaf: Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 17:00
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Ocelot
post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 18:19
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QUOTE (BaggieBoy @ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 10:55) *
QUOTE (Tsst @ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 10:43) *
If a motorist enters the motorway at gantry 3 how will they know that a speed restriction is in place? .

Was there a junction after gantry 2? If not then the question is moot.


Doesn't 'moot' mean debatable?
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Fredd
post Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 18:24
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QUOTE (Ocelot @ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 19:19) *
Doesn't 'moot' mean debatable?

Only in the sense that something's irrelevant or doesn't have a definitive answer.


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Ocelot
post Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 15:55
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QUOTE (Fredd @ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 19:24) *
QUOTE (Ocelot @ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 19:19) *
Doesn't 'moot' mean debatable?

Only in the sense that something's irrelevant or doesn't have a definitive answer.


I thought it meant the opposite of that (ie a good or debatable point), whereas in America it means what you describe.

Good article here https://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your...uage-moot-point

I seem to be taking the thread in a different direction, so feel free to ignore me.
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Fredd
post Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 17:05
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I must admit I was surprised to read that there's such a difference in usage; I've always understood it in the way I described (although perhaps "unimportant" would have been a better description than "irrelevant"), without realising that was a more American English usage!


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cp8759
post Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 17:06
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QUOTE (Ocelot @ Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 16:55) *
QUOTE (Fredd @ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 19:24) *
QUOTE (Ocelot @ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 19:19) *
Doesn't 'moot' mean debatable?

Only in the sense that something's irrelevant or doesn't have a definitive answer.


I thought it meant the opposite of that (ie a good or debatable point), whereas in America it means what you describe.

Good article here https://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your...uage-moot-point

I seem to be taking the thread in a different direction, so feel free to ignore me.

That's interesting because I've never been to the US, yes I have only ever heard the word "moot" being used as Fredd has.


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nigelbb
post Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 17:24
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‘Moot’ is a Saxon word meaning place of assembly or debate. Both Maldon in Essex & Aldeburgh.in Suffolk boast a Tudor Moot Hall.

This post has been edited by nigelbb: Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 17:26


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Jump in jim
post Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 06:48
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If the motorway indicator is not lit then it is a big black square with no meaning and is not a road sign.
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The Rookie
post Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 07:09
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I’ll cut you a little slack as a first time poster, but that was never under debate, it was the effect of that blank gantry that was under discussion.


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Jump in jim
post Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 08:25
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QUOTE (The Rookie @ Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 08:09) *
I’ll cut you a little slack as a first time poster, but that was never under debate, it was the effect of that blank gantry that was under discussion.

I will cut you some slack too. How about that.

It makes no difference where the illuminated sign is, upon what it is mounted and in what scheme of traffic management. When the sign is off it forms no traffic sign.

Apologies if I have upset your sense of omniscience that you obviously have, hence the slack being cut. It’s not necessary or justified perhaps.
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Richy320
post Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 17:47
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Feisty.


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notmeatloaf
post Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 18:26
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Of course it is still a sign, and when it is not lit the legislation prescribes it a meaning.

Just as a system of Street lighting is street lighting even when it is unlit during daylight hours.

If it isnt a sign what do you think road users would describe them as when they pass underneath? Mysterious floating black box?
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Churchmouse
post Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 19:05
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QUOTE (Jump in jim @ Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 09:25) *
It makes no difference where the illuminated sign is, upon what it is mounted and in what scheme of traffic management. When the sign is off it forms no traffic sign.

Your interpretation would render Regulation 4(4) potentially meaningless nonsense:

"(4) For the purposes of this regulation a speed limit sign is to be taken as not indicating any speed limit if, ten seconds before the vehicle passed it, the sign had indicated no speed limit or that the national speed limit was in force." Emphasis added.

Although a plain reading of Regulation 4(5) might support your strict interpretation, a court cannot simply ignore (4), which seems to allow for the existence of a "blank" speed limit sign. If "the sign is off" meant a blank sign "forms no traffic sign", it would be logically impossible for there to be a "speed limit sign" which "indicated no speed limit", as discussed in (4), given that the sign diagram (670) requires numerals within a red circle. If a Court of Appeal has indeed has ignored 4(4)'s plain meaning, then the authority for this would be that Court of Appeal's written opinion, but I'm not aware of any binding interpretation of the regulation that would essentially render (4) partially meaningless. A plain reading of Regulation 4(4) supports NML's interpretation--what else could it mean?

As for "moot", the Guardian article doesn't really support this allegedly different UK meaning of the term. They say it "became used more widely to mean one that was open to argument, debatable or uncertain." But the only support for this assertion is a quote from author Gerald Durrell, who wrote: “Whether he could have bitten us successfully ... was rather a moot point, but it was not the sort of experiment I cared to make.” How is that significantly different to the US meaning? It was a "rather moot point" because it hardly mattered if the animal could have bitten anyone after the moment had passed. Perhaps only British people are inclined to argue or debate things of no consequence, whereas Americans just shrug and move on?

--Churchmouse
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The Rookie
post Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 20:10
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QUOTE (Jump in jim @ Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 09:25) *
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Sat, 14 Jul 2018 - 08:09) *
I’ll cut you a little slack as a first time poster, but that was never under debate, it was the effect of that blank gantry that was under discussion.

I will cut you some slack too. How about that.

It makes no difference where the illuminated sign is, upon what it is mounted and in what scheme of traffic management. When the sign is off it forms no traffic sign.

Apologies if I have upset your sense of omniscience that you obviously have, hence the slack being cut. It’s not necessary or justified perhaps.

Agreed it forms no sign, the discussion was over the limit that applies, and you’ve singularly failed to add to that discussion by stating someonething which everyone was already agreed on!


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