Bignell played his junior hockey with the Belleville Bulls of the OHL from 1986–1990 as a defenceman. He would improve on his point totals each year with the Bulls, as he would register 12 points in 64 games in his rookie season of 1986–87, improve to 15 points in only 48 games in 1987–88, score 6 goals and 33 points in 1988–89, and again score 6 goals, and earn a junior career high 41 points in 1989–90. Bignell was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the tenth round, 200th overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft.
After his junior career was finished, Bignell went on to play with the Hampton Roads Admirals of the ECHL in 1990–91, scoring 7 goals and 28 points, and recording a team high 265 penalty minutes as the Admirals finished in 1st place in the East Division. An injury late in the season had Bignell sidelined for the playoffs, as the Admirals won the Riley Cup.
Bignell started the 1991–92 season with the Toledo Storm in the ECHL, and play only 22 games with the club, earning 5 assists and 167 penalty minutes, before he was traded to the Richmond Renegades. With Richmond, Bignell suited up for 12 regular season games, scoring a goal and 2 assists, along with 42 penalty minutes. Richmond advanced to the playoffs, and Bignell earned an assist in 6 playoff games, as the Renegades would lose to Bignell's former team, the Hampton Roads Admirals, in the second round of the playoffs.
Bignell played the 1992–93 season with the Brantford Smoke of the COHL, scoring 2 goals and 24 points in 57 games, along with 201 penalty minutes, as the Smoke finished on top of the league standings. Bignell scored a goal and added 3 assists in 15 playoff games, as Brantford captured the Colonial Cup, defeating the St. Thomas Wildcats in the finals.
He returned to Brantford for the 1993–94 season, but only appeared in 29 games, scoring 2 goals and adding 7 assists, along with 94 penalty minutes, before retiring from hockey at the age of 24.
As Bignell's playing career was over, he decided to join his hometown team, the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL, as an assistant coach for the 1994–95 season. The Rangers had a poor season, going 18–42–6, and missed the playoffs.
He eventually found himself with the North Bay Centennials, becoming the head coach of the team midway through the 1996–97 season. However, North Bay finished the season with a lousy 14–44–8 record, earning 36 points, and missing the playoffs. Bignell returned as head coach for the 1997–98 season, however, North Bay would once again finish with only 36 points, and miss the playoffs, and the club relieved Bignell from his duties.
Bignell joined the Kingston Frontenacs as an assistant to Larry Mavety in 1999–2000, and remained with the club in that capacity until mid-December, 2002, when Mavety stepped down as head coach, and Bignell took over on an interim basis. The Frontenacs though could not rebound from a poor start, and narrowly miss the playoffs with 56 points, 4 behind the 8th place Mississauga IceDogs. The Frontenacs released Bignell and hired Jim Hulton as their new head coach for the 2003–04 season.
He now coaches the Cambridge Winterhawks of the GOJHL, and has led the club to 2 Sutherland Cup championships, in 2006 and 2007. He was OHA coach of the year 2007 as well as being Mid western coach of the year in 1999, 2004 and 2005. His team fell short for a three peat in the league finals losing to Elmira in 6 games.
Bignell's son Adam spent five seasons in the OHL with the Belleville Bulls. He had one of the league's longest goalless streaks before scoring his first career goal in his overage campaign on February 21, 2015, against the Saginaw Spirit. He had gone 254 games without a goal.