A headache on the road to Pickering

Our contributor has encountered a low bridge sign that has left him guessing. [Contributed by Seares and edited by Derek Pollard]How low is this low bridge?

low bridge signÂ

It is disappointing, but not surprising, to find that the designer of the sign, the firm that made the casting, and then the people who erected it did not realise that 11ft 3in is not the same as 5.3 m (or if they did realise this, they did not question it). So when someone at last identified the error, the simple solution was to paint out both the measurements, and now lorry drivers will just have to guess which of the two heights is the correct one. Surely, this can only happen in Britain!

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4 Responses to A headache on the road to Pickering

  1. Alex Bailey says:

    There is a sign in North West Cambs which reads: "Weight limits 7.5 tonnes & 2 tons in Wansford village" (http://metric.myemailaddress.net/IMG_1819.JPG). I've queried this several times with the local authorities but they don't seem to think it is important as they've never responded to my emails! Interestingly since first seeing this I've noticed several weight limit signs in Cambs which still use "tons". I was under the impression that this was no longer even legal!

  2. martinw says:

    Given that on Britain's road signs "m" can mean "mile" or "metre", there is also the possibility that the sign could be read as there being a low bridge 11'3" high 5.3 miles along the road to Pickering.

  3. Alex Bailey says:

    Ah, but isn't it currently illegal to show distances in metres on road signs?

    That's ignoring the fact that "x yards" to roadworks these days is atually x metres, particulary on motorways where they often use the marker posts to place the signs!

  4. Han Maenen says:

    Yes, it is true: it could be read as a low bridge 11'3'' 5.3 miles further on; however this mistake would be made especially by Americans. 'Decimal' non-metric units are especially American usage, the British usually stick to traditional subdivisions of such units.


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