Bureaucrats like signs. Signs give them the illusion of doing something about a problem without actually having to go out and confront real people, sparing us the interference in our lives. Signs serve a further useful purpose in giving us some insight into how the bureaucratic mind works, as in this example in front of the new Museum of Bristol on Harbourside.
In the beginning the bureaucrats were well intentioned, with the recognition that this quayside is an important and popular cycle route, despite the obvious hazard of the railway lines. The quayside is normally much wider but work on the new Museum of Bristol has required about half the width to be fenced off , so taking away much of the space cyclists need to manoeuvre around pedestrians and across the rails, which have to be crossed at an angle approaching 90° to avoid the wheel slipping into the groove.
Just to compound the problem the Council have since placed a rubbish bin at a crucial pinch point where the railway points restrict the options for cyclists still further and they are allowing cars to be parked on the narrowed quayside. Not surprisingly all this is causing cyclists some difficulties, so what is the response of our Cycling City fathers? You guessed it, more signs!
The original sign sensibly dedicating the quayside as a shared path was first supplemented by the blue sign saying "cyclists are advised to dismount", but apparently this didn't protect the bureaucratic backsides adequately so we now have the yellow sign saying simply "cyclist (sic) dismount" (presumably to read through and interpret the plethora of conflicting signs).
So when the inevitable accidents happen the bureaucrats can blame the cyclist for being so foolish as to have cycled on a dedicated cycle route when clearly and unambiguously advised not to. Much simpler for them than actually doing something practical like finding a sensible location for the rubbish bin or banning car parking on the narrowed quayside, let alone temporarily filling in the grooves of the rails. It seems that "consider other path users" applies to us but not to them.
But the Council are learning from their past mistakes. The newest sections of Harbourside quayside to be opened to the public on the opposite side of the water have a simple and uncomplicated message for cyclists - NO CYCLING.