Help Forum

Help requested posted on 20th December 2011:

Roundabout Advertising

Has anyone got experience with issues regarding advertising at roundabouts? The Highway Code states that roundabouts can be hazardous and should be approached with care.
Does advertising constitute a distraction? I would be glad to receive your advice on this point.

Sue Boyeson
Hull City Council

Reply to this request


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Anthony Kirkwood
Oxfordshire County Council
E: anthony.kirkwood@oxfordshire.gov.uk
T: 01865 815704

roundabout advertising

We have had a look at this (not just advertising, which is not so common here, being mainly limited to signs at some roundabouts naming companies that have paid for enhanced planting etc, but also at special feaqtrues such as sculptures / other 'artistic' features) and couldn't find any evidence of an enhanced overall accident risk.

In view of this, while care is neededand will depend to some extent on what is being proposed, we wouldn't on the basis of our own experience flag this as a major risk.

Hope this is of some help

Anthony


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Marilyn Whitelock
South Gloucestershire Council
E: marilyn.whitelock@southglos.gov.uk
T: 01454 863796

Roundabout Advertising

Sue

We have had quite small, fairly understated advertising signs on some of our roundabouts for a number of years. About five years ago we did a comparison of accidents before and after signs and against like roundabouts, and we did not find that there was more of an accident problem at the roundabouts with signs. Unfortunately, I can't find the report we wrote at the time. We have never had an accident report that said the driver was distracted by the advertising on the roundabout - I guess that doesn't mean there hasn't been one just not one that has been recorded as such. I have to say that when I'm driving I personally do not see the signs - it's only when I'm a passenger that I am sometimes aware of them. Hope that helps.


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Mark Gregory
Atkins
E: mark.gregory@atkinsglobal.com
T: 01245 245143

Roundabout Sponsorship

Sue,

I was asked to invesitgiate this by a client before times were hard (in 2006) and sponsorship of a roundabout could bring in useful funds.

In terms of legality it was not a straightforward issue but I did find some GB research regarding distraction which was relevant. I also looked at other issues such as size and location of the signs, their maintenance and visibility.


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Suzanne Coles
Swindon Borough Council
E: scoles@swindon.gov.uk
T: 01793 466394

Roundabout Sponsorship

Sue,

We have a number of roundabouts that are sponsored by local business and signs are erected on the central island to publicise this. Whilst our communications team have recently re-launched this initiative some of our roundabouts have had sponsors signs on them for a number of years.
I have never come across any instances where these signs are recorded as having been a distraction to drivers and the cause of an injury accident so don't imagine from our experience there is a significant risk.
That being said we make sure the signs do not obstruct visibility around/across the circulatory carriageway, do not include any directions to the subject company offices and are designed to require minimal maintenance.
The Council has also recently launched the opportunity to advertise on banners on lamp columns at junctions but this is very new so its uncertain yet what impact these might or might not have on injury accidents.

Hope that helps.

Suzanne


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Andrew Fraser
Falkirk Council
E: andrew.fraser@falkirk.gov.uk
T: 01324 504931

Outdoor advertising

Dear Sue,

Advertising is intended to distract. If it doesn’t, it has failed. Distracting road users while they are engaged in one of the most dangerous tasks in which they are ever likely to become engaged seems, to me, to be unwise.

For a local authority to encourage it, I would say, suggests a lack of understanding of roads and their problems. Will roundabout advertising reduce accidents, especially those involving cyclists? Will roundabout (or any other) advertisements improve the streetscape?

The following may be of assistance to you:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2003/08/17916/24495
http://www.reesjeffreys.co.uk/reports/Roadside%20distractions%20final%20report%20(Brunel).pdf

The planning regulations are of limited usefulness as they have (apparently) been prepared in ignorance of the how we see, and what we may not see while we are distracted.

I hope this helps.

Andrew.


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Grahame Pinder
Essex County Council
E: grahame.pinder@essex.gov.uk
T: 01245 431298

Signing on roundabouts

Essex County Council is currently reviewing its Highway Practice notes for signing on roundabouts.
Many roundabouts are maintained through sponsorship and the sponsors allowed to have small signs displayed.
the following is an extract from the current signing policy, although the signing practice is under review as above:
13.2 Sponsorship

Where bodies are prepared to undertake planting on roundabouts (which is appropriate to their location and enhances their appearance), by providing either plants, labour or finance, this will be encouraged. In recognition of the sponsorship, appropriate signs may be placed on the planted area in accordance with the criteria detailed in “Signing Practice”


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Peter Whitfield
Atkins
E: peter.whitfield@atkinsglobal.com
T: 0161 245 3577

Signing on Roundabouts

My advice would be for any LHA to create a policy and accompanying detailed design criteria - this is relatively straightforward and allows an audit trail to be created.

Atkins has produced such guidance for Flintshire Council. This allows their officers to compare an application against a list of criteria and will significantly ease the process of site specific planning agreement. The guidance extends beyond sponsor signs into statues/planting etc.


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Michael Elliott
Stirling Council
E: elliottm@stirling.gov.uk
T: 01786 442441

Roundabout Advertising

Advertisements are designed specifically to attract attention. Why else would any organisation pay for them. If they succeed they must be distracting from other tasks.
Just because there are few road traffic accidents where external distraction is quoted as a contributory factor does not mean they are not happening. Indeed, drivers may not be consciously aware that they were distracted momentarily (2 seconds is enough) just before the accident occurs.


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Miguel Cooksey
North East Lincolnshire Council
E: miguel.cooksey@nelincs.gov.uk
T: 01472 324487

Roundabout Sponsorship

We produced a series of reports in the early days which unfortunately are no longer available. These have however resulted in agreements on the design of the signs/notices and what deems unacceptable sponsorship. I believe Gary Horth at Hull has dealt with highway sponsorship with Hull City Council.


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Christine James
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council
E: christineJames@weymouth.gov.uk
T: n/a

Roundabout advertising

Personally as an instructor, I would say that yes they could cause a distraction, but as a roundabout is classed as a junction does that mean that we should have nothing of a distracting nature at any other type of junction? I can think of junctions where I have seen estate agents signs, and such things as A boards.

I would actually go as far as to say that on some roundabout the amount of DFt signage and road markings can be just as distracting, though not meant to be. If you have been driving for a considerable number of years and you come across such a roundabout, well I've seen many drivers who end up in the wrong lane and potentially could cause an accident.

So it may not be the signage, but the level of competency and awareness of the driver.

Regards.


Response posted on 21st December 2011 by:
Andrew Fraser
Falkirk Council
E: andrew.fraser@falkirk.gov.uk
T: 01324 504931

Roundabout advertising

It has been said that lack of evidence is not evidence of lack.

We do not know precisely to what extent the deliberate distraction of drivers from their task contributes to accidents for, at least two reasons:

1. Few drivers would wish to incriminate themselves by admitting they had been distracted - certainly not in the current climate, and

2. Drivers may not even be conscious that they have been distracted, even if they have been.

I can think of no reason, acceptable in the road safety context, for allowing sponsors to endanger road users in the manner in question. Every sign is an obstruction as well as a distraction. There is no place in a road system for unnecessary signs.

What happened to the clamour about sign clutter? Why add to it with unnecessary potentially dangerous "sponsorship" signs?

Cannot sponsorship be acknowledged in some other way, which does not involve distracting road users?

Answers, please!


Response posted on 22nd December 2011 by:
Richard Burton
Bristol City Council
E: burtthebike@blueyonder.co.uk
T: 01454616212

Roundabout advertising

Looking at it from a H&S perspective, attempting to gain the attention of an operator of dangerous machinery while they are engaged in a task demanding all of their attention would be a likely cause for a prosecution.

As many here have stated, the sole purpose of advertising is to gain attention, and I have to say, I am surprised that no drivers appear to have claimed that distracting advertising was a factor in their collision.

Anyone installing or giving approval for installation should be prepared to be challenged and for possible legal proceedings.


Response posted on 22nd December 2011 by:
Peter Whitfield
Atkins
E: peter.whitfield@atkinsglobal.com
T: 0161 245 3577

Roundabout Sponsorship

I find it surprising that some contributors to this string claim that legal issues may arise - teh "see you in court" argument. If anyone can find me a case where an urban advert (away from a roundabout)such as a hoarding near a T junction or on a bus shelter has been cited in court I'd be glad to hear about it (not including provocative images of under-dressed models which any policy would outlaw). The road based legal aspect is very different than for a H&S scenario and as road safety professionals we must recognise this. Additionally we must recognsie that safety is only part of a decsion making process not THE decision making process . Sign sponsorship gives a very low risk of distraction and needs to be balanced by the benefits of funding and also potentialy a prettier urban scene (planting) paid for by the private sector. As I said in my earlier post above, simple safeguards can be put in place to control the type/size of sign and its location.


Response posted on 23rd December 2011 by:
David Sharp
Midlothian Council
E: david.sharp@midlothian.gov.uk
T: 01312713518

driver distraction etc

Clearly adverts, sponsor's messages, and proper road signs are designed to attract attention. Even if is just a little extra distraction it is extra, and should only be be used where the benefits outweigh the costs. I don't see moving sales or goodwill to one company rather than another as justifying extra distraction and the extra casualties that would result.
If adverts/sponsor's messages are allowed it would be harder to control the type/size of sign. EG see http://m.scotsman.com/edinburgh-evening-news/critics_fear_store_s_steamy_ads_could_distract_motorists_1_2021288 "councillors highlighted the fact that they could only vote on the installation of an advert and not control its content"


Response posted on 23rd December 2011 by:
Ken Wheat
South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership
E: ken.wheat@syltp.org.uk
T: 01142 211442

Advertising

Development Control Officers have been wrestling with this for decades. In the days of the South Yorkshire County Council who were the then highway authority, any advertisement adjacent to a busy highway was opposed on road safety grounds (distraction). The planning authority (which was not SYCC) however ultimately made the decision. It should also be remembered that 'distracting' attention is somewhat subjective and not the same as 'attracting' attention (equally subjective). This approach continued but we were losing appeal after appeal and were advised that officers should take a more considered approach bearing in mind Govt. guidance in PPG 19. This document and Circular 3/2007 are still relevant as far as I'm aware. The issue centres not on whether a sign would attract attention but whether it would distract. There is the usual caveat that road users should be taking care at all times for their safety and the safety of other road users.

With regard to roundabouts, we have accepted relatively small sponsorship signs actually on the roundabout (these now appear to be very common throughout the country) but have also refused (and won on appeal) applications for large advertising hoardings adjacent roundabouts where we could demonstrate there to be a history of accidents.

To add to this can of worms, there are now the next generation digital 'moving' displays which are a significant income stream for revenue strapped Councils and supposedly give a buzz to the night time economy. These are by their nature proposed for the busiest sites which inevitably means the most heavily trafficked (not necessarily vehicular) locations. For an interesting read, please see "Planning Policy Regarding Digital Advertisement Screens" by NJL Consulting for Scottish Widows Investment Partnership which concludes, perhaps not surprisingly, "there is no evidence of digital screens causing traffic accidents........ This is further supported by the traffic studies which have found no correlation between the use of digital screens and traffic accidents."


Response posted on 23rd December 2011 by:
Jeremy Philips
Devon County Council
E: jeremy.phillips@devon.gov.uk
T: 01392 383289

Roundabout Advertising

We haver a policy document that can be emailed. Let me know if you want it - jeremy.phillips@devon.gov.uk

Regards
Jeremy


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