11 February 2011

'Road Lines'

What is the secret of the British ‘road lines’?

Across Britain, narrow lines can be observed at the edges of many roads. They occur close against the kerbside and parallel to it, on both major and minor highways. They occur singly or in pairs, appearing to be marked out in something similar to yellow paint. They range from two or three metres to many kilometres in length.

Where do the ‘road lines’ come from? Who makes them? What is their significance? Do they have a meaning -- and if so who, is intended to understand?

Millions of British motorists pass the ‘road lines’ in their cars each day, parking on them to visit the shops or pick their children up from school. None of them has the slightest clue as to the meaning of the mystery beneath their tyres.

1 comment:

  1. The built environment in many of our cities has changed very little since their great expansion in the late Victorian era, or elsewhere since the estate-building booms of the thirties and sixties. However urban social mores have changed very fast, and a disoriented time-traveller landing in the late twentieth or early twenty-first risks profound discomfort or even breaking his cover.

    Motor vehicles are almost everywhere during this difficult period, and ought to provide a clue through their rapid evolution of styles. However it is (admittedly rarely) possible to find somewhere where there is briefly no motorcar in sight, and for this purpose the ICOTT have maintained a system of universal indication through varying street furniture, indexed by a discreet volume easily obtained in all eras and entitled the "Highway Code". Locals are aware of this guide but ICOTT has no evidence that any of them have ever opened it.

    So the "road lines" are there for your protection and benefit, and to let you know you have not landed in the 1950s or the set of a period drama (it's happened to us all, hasn't it?). For belt-and-braces coverage, and your further convenience, motor vehicles are where possible stationed on top of the road lines.


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