warning sign warning of warning

Scant Warning

Welcome to Australia, yes there are snakes everywhere though the warning signs are only a recent addition and the warning about warnings was deemed more important. Revisiting the overly detailed and less than useful signs from the Merri Creek Trail (previously covered in Wayfinding) the value of the information provided rapidly goes downhill from this obvious highlight.

path-side map and warning signs

Downhill literally with inclusion of a vague indication of dangerously steep sections of the route, and a prohibition on swimming rounding out the top row of warning signs. Above this is a map showing the alternative route along the road should the creek be in flood and provides some context to the surrounding shared paths (on road routes are not shown). Below, the miscellaneous prohibitions all follow typical council/park rules as do the permissive signs with the curious additional inclusion of “cyclists warn when approaching”.

This has always been a contentious issue with very little from the road rules to provide guidance:

224 Using horns and similar warning devices
A driver must not use, or allow to be used, a horn, or similar warning device, fitted to or in the driver’s vehicle unless—
it is necessary to use the horn, or warning device, to warn other road users or animals of the approach or position of the vehicle

Which leaves far too much room for interpretation. It is understood that a driver of a motor vehicle does not routinely sound their horn as they pass other users, but somehow this same rule is used to suggest that cyclists should? Just using a warning device where other users are obstructing the path often draws objectionable responses despite being a last resort, so indiscriminately attracting the attention of every path user is unlikely to be a comfortable position to be in. One of the inherent advantages of cycling is the minimal noise impact, comparable to walking and quieter than running despite its higher throughput and speeds.

An exercise in shifting blame should an accident occur? smells like it.


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