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Hercules 20MPH - Unenforceable?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Hercules 20MPH - Unenforceable?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
September 11, 2007

At last night's Coffee with the Chief the 20MPH speed limit on Hercules eastbound from Dean St. to the new schools was discussed. One Woodstock police officer regularly monitors traffic speeds there and stops many speeders.

This afternoon I drove on Hercules east from Dean St. My first observation was, where is the 20MPH speed limit sign? And then I came to it. Just before Braeburn there is one 20MPH speed limit sign, eastbound. And it is orange, not a white sign with black lettering. How strange!

According to the Illinois Rules of the Road, speed limit signs are black lettering on white background. We're all familiar with these. All the speed limit signs that we see - all over Woodstock (except on Hercules and Bloomfield Dr.), McHenry County, the State of Illinois, the U.S.A. - are black on white. It's called a "standard".

Now, why is this sign orange? Does anyone know? Is it to get attention?

Again according to the Illinois Rules of the Road (page 61 in the version that has the sports car with the license plate "Donate" on the front cover; Jesse White has figured out yet that there ought to be a Print Date in each version) "Orange signs alert you to construction and maintenance areas ahead."

There is no construction or maintenance on Hercules (is it Street? - I forgot to look). The roadway is finished. It does end about 1/4-mile farther, at the turn-in for the schools.

The orange signs are Warning signs; they are not regulatory speed limit signs. Orange signs "warn" you to slow down, but you don't have to. Just like the little speed signs under warning signs preceding curves. The speed is suggested or recommended, but the law doesn't require you to slow down to that speed through a curve.

Should police officers be stopping drivers who exceed the 20MPH speed limit on the orange sign? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Should a driver be ticketed for driving in excess of 20MPH. NO. The speed limit on Hercules in the state unposted speed limit in residential areas of 30MPH.

By the way, there is NO speed limit sign posted anywhere on westbound Hercules between the schools and Dean Street.

Same on Bloomfield Drive! The 20MPH orange signs are unenforceable as a posted speed limit. At least there is a 20MPH sign in both directions on Bloomfield Drive, but they are both the wrong signs.

If attention to a speed limit sign is wanted, then the method followed in the City of McHenry should be followed. McHenry "flags" speed limit signs that are new or changed. To help the public recognize a change in speed limit, orange flags are affixed to speed limit signs for a period of time. This ia great time!

If the Woodstock City Council has approved a 20MPH speed limit on Hercules and on Bloomfield, then the correct signs need to be posted and frequently enough that drivers know the speed limit.

Does anyone agree with this?

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