LOOK Both Ways, Give Way, CCTV In Operation, No Turning, Buses Only, Authorised Vehicles Only, Access Only, 20mph, Speed Bumps Ahead, Crossing Ahead, Lanes Merge, Neighbourhood Watch, No Turning, No Parking, Paid Parking, Authorised Only Parking, Stop When Lights Show, Slow Down, Go...
Who among us hasn’t sometimes wondered if all the road signs cluttering up Sheffield’s streets are strictly necessary?
Becky Fawcett has.
And in a very small, very civilised protest at the authoritarian eyesores she will today put up a few cheeky signs of her own.
The media studies teacher has created a batch of tongue-in-cheek warnings which she hopes will draw attention to the fact South Yorkshire’s streets are losing their character at the expense of rules, rules, rules.
“I do a lot of commuting,” says the 35-year-old who lives in Lincoln but visits Sheffield most weeks. “And I just started to notice everywhere you go there are signs barking instructions at you, and I just think it’s so horrible and humourless and, above all else, just completely pointless.
“So many of them are unnecessary and they serve no real purpose but they’ve been put up by councils so scared they will get sued unless they instruct people on every little detail of their life – it’s awful.
“I especially dislike the CCTV ones – it’s like we are being told that we’re being spied on by people who refuse to interact with us in any other way.”
Certainly anyone who’s ever walked down, for example, The Wicker or Ecclesall Road is likely to understand her point. There, dozens of signs, bollards, posts and adverts compete for attention.
Becky’s laminated A3 signs include warnings about falling leaves, trainspotters and friendly dogs, fees at an eternal parking space and questions about why it’s a green man, not a green woman.
She will put them up today using cable ties – “I’m parking up near The Leadmill and will put them up in different places across the city centre.
“They’re just daft signs and they only took a day or so to make but, hopefully, this will inject a little bit of humour into people’s lives,” says Becky.
“And hopefully they’ll perhaps point out the ridiculousness of the proper signs.”
The only moot point – she’s not sure if it’s strictly legal.
“I’ve already done this in Lincoln and I spoke to a community police officer while I was doing it there. She thought it was really funny and was laughing about it, so I assume it’s OK,” she says.
“Once I’ve put them up, though, I’d like people to take them away if they like them. The protest ends once all the signs are down I suppose.
“Then I’m planning to do it all over again for the Edinburgh Festival.”