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Cycling UK questions Humber Bridge Board on closure of footways to cyclists and pedestrians

National Cycling Charity seeks clarification on issues ncluding when footways may reopen and what alternative arrangements are planned for commuters

Cycling UK has written to the owners of the Humber Bridge following the closure of the structure’s footway to cyclists and pedestrians last weekend, to seek clarification on several issues, including when it might be reopened to people on foot and bikes, and what temporary measures are being drawn up to enable them to cross the estuary in the meantime.

As we reported earlier this week, the footways were closed as an emergency response to a number of recent suicides at the bridge, and while it remains open to vehicle traffic, a 60-mile detour to access alternative crossings via bridges over the Trent and Ouse means people who commute across it by bike or on foot cannot travel to work unless they use other means of crossing, such as their car if they have one, getting a lift from someone else, or taking the bus.

> Humber Bridge staff tell cyclist he can ride across it on main carriageway … police at other end tell him he can’t

Writing to the chairman of the Humber Bridge Board, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore said that the charity “fully understands the concerns raised by members of the public and groups such as the Humber Bridge Suicide Safety Measures campaign group, who have been calling for more safety measures on the bridge for several years.”

Citing a report in the Hull Daily Mail, he said: “As that group’s spokesperson has made clear, however, closing the bridge to the public is not the solution.

“Indeed, the Covid crisis has highlighted the increased mental health and wellbeing risks associated with social isolation. This is why, through Cycling UK’s community cycling clubs, projects and other activities, we try to encourage people to move and travel more actively, make active travel a realistic option for more people, and through that help them break the cycle of social isolation.

“Closing a bridge to pedestrians and cyclists in response to the tragic number of suicides on the bridge is, respectfully, a reaction to symptoms whilst ignoring the cause.”

He continued: “Statutory bodies do of course sometimes need to make emergency decisions, but nothing that I have read about this decision suggests that it is time-limited, or that any temporary mitigation measures are being put in place to provide alternative means for cyclists and pedestrians to cross the bridge.

“I would, for example, have expected news about a Covid-compliant temporary bus / shuttle service or similar to take pedestrians and cyclists across whilst the footway remains closed.

“Instead, it appears that no consideration whatsoever has been given to how those wishing to use or who are reliant upon active travel can continue to cross the Humber in the vicinity of the Humber Bridge. If I am mistaken, perhaps you could clarify what alternative measures are being considered, and if so when any decision might be made and implemented?”

Summarising the detailed questions he put to the Humber Bridge Board in the letter, Dollimore wrote:

1. Has any traffic regulation order (TRO) been consulted upon, advertised or made to authorise the restriction on the footway, and if so, can you provide a copy of any relevant notification and order?

2. If the TRO process has not been used, under what authority or power has this decision has been made?

3. Whether the decision to impose these restrictions was made by the Board or through delegated powers and, if the latter, whether and when the Board intends to revisit this decision?

4. Can you provide the pedestrian and cyclist traffic count data both pre and post covid to confirm the daily number of cyclists and pedestrian trips across the bridge?

5. What, if any, temporary mitigation measures are being put in place to provide alternative means for cyclists and pedestrians to cross the bridge, or to cross the Humber Estuary in the vicinity of the bridge, whilst the footway remains closed, and when might they be implemented?

The Humber Bridge Board said earlier this week that it is “looking at reopening access to commuters as soon as possible, to minimise disruption to those who cycle or walk to work over the Humber Bridge, and we are considering a range of measures to ensure the situation can be effectively managed once the footways fully reopen.”

Cycling UK has said that it will communicate the Board’s response to its letter once it has been received.

The Samaritans website contains advice to people who are struggling with their mental health on how they can obtain help.

The charity’s advisors can be contacted at any time on the free telephone number 116 123, or via email tojo [at] samaritans.org "> jo [at] samaritans.org with a response time of 24 hours.

It has also developed a self-help app that enables users to “Keep track of how you're feeling, and get recommendations for things you can do to help yourself cope, feel better and stay safe in a crisis.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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10 comments

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Woldsman | 2 years ago
5 likes

As a temporary measure it seems those wishing to cross on the "footway" can ring ahead; some sort of system to allow cycle and pedestrian commuters to register in advance of crossing to be set up in the next seven to ten days; open to all users in May when extra cameras are installed and more volunteers in place to patrol the bridge:

https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/humber-bri...

 

Avatar
growingvegtables | 2 years ago
0 likes

The worst of this whole shit-storm?

Look at linked https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/humber-bri... article.  And the photo.

And then tell me how a line of cones is doing ANYTHING to prevent the tragedies?

P!$$-poor "we-gotta-do-summat,-that-costs-nothing" decision.

Utterly disrespectful and casual towards the tragedies, and everybody affected by them.

As well as pretty damned stupid and uncaring of those who use the bridge on foot/bike.

Avatar
Awavey | 2 years ago
2 likes

I dont have a problem with Cycling UK sending a letter to request the bridge authority provide a solution for pedestrians/cyclists thats absolutely something that needs people and organisations to keep pressure on to achieve, though the point by point breakdown of demanded information has got that irascible air of outraged of Tunbridge Wells feel about it.

but thats all the letter needed to say, we note youve done this thing, please provide us with details of how you intend to support cycling/walking over the bridge in the interim and future. nothing else was needed, no need to speculate if the decision was wrong, hasty, not planned properly because none of us have the data to judge that and it is not ours or Cycling UKs place to judge anyway, all thats need to be asked is how do we move forward.

and Im glad Road.cc have highlighted the Samaritans link.

Avatar
eburtthebike | 2 years ago
1 like

Glad to see that CUK are questioning this somewhat draconion closure, with apparently no end date, and no mitigation measures.  Now we finally know why it was closed, as an emergency measure, but they have had enough time to work out how to let cyclists cross safely.

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Gus T replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
2 likes
eburtthebike wrote:

Glad to see that CUK are questioning this somewhat draconion closure, with apparently no end date, and no mitigation measures.  Now we finally know why it was closed, as an emergency measure, but they have had enough time to work out how to let cyclists cross safely.

Myself and other local cyclists explained the reason for the closure in previous posts, glad to see that CUK carry more influence with you then people who have lost friends who ended their lives jumping from the bridge.  2

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to Gus T | 2 years ago
4 likes
Gus T wrote:

Myself and other local cyclists explained the reason for the closure in previous posts, glad to see that CUK carry more influence with you then people who have lost friends who ended their lives jumping from the bridge.  2

It's not a question of who carries more influence, and I have every sympathy for people who have lost their friends and relatives, but this is a situation which should have been resolved years ago, and the action they have taken is causing serious inconvenience to many people; they should sort it.

Avatar
Gus T replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
0 likes
eburtthebike wrote:
Gus T wrote:

Myself and other local cyclists explained the reason for the closure in previous posts, glad to see that CUK carry more influence with you then people who have lost friends who ended their lives jumping from the bridge.  2

It's not a question of who carries more influence, and I have every sympathy for people who have lost their friends and relatives, but this is a situation which should have been resolved years ago, and the action they have taken is causing serious inconvenience to many people; they should sort it.

The number of people ending their lives by jumping from the bridge has increased during lockdown, something no-one could plan for and saying they (the Bridge Board) should fix it is an easy get out.

Locals are aware that there is no easy fix and that it will take an experienced structual engineer who works on bridges to resolve this. The weight of modifications and the effect of the wind on the modifications will need to be calculated before any work can even be put out to tender. A quick fix is no use if it causes the bridge to collapse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XggxeuFDaDU

As I keep saying the Bridge Board are dammed if the do and dammed if they don't.

Avatar
Jetmans Dad replied to Gus T | 2 years ago
3 likes
Gus T wrote:
eburtthebike wrote:

It's not a question of who carries more influence, and I have every sympathy for people who have lost their friends and relatives, but this is a situation which should have been resolved years ago, and the action they have taken is causing serious inconvenience to many people; they should sort it.

...

Locals are aware that there is no easy fix and that it will take an experienced structual engineer who works on bridges to resolve this.

...

 

As I keep saying the Bridge Board are dammed if the do and dammed if they don't.

All of which is true. However, also being a local, I am well aware that this has been an issue on and off for the last two decades or more. It used to be the case that this debate came up every time someone jumped from the bridge, but that has calmed down in recent years thanks to an apparent policy not to go public every time it happened. 

20 years is more than enough time for the HBB to have come up with a better, permanent, solution than a knee-jerk closure of the pedestrian/cycle path while they decide what to do. 

They have had at least two decades to come up with something and, apparently, they have failed to do so until confronted with a crisis situation demanding immediate action. That is piss-poor planning ... especially when they announce a sudden closure without providing any alternatives for those affected. 

Avatar
brooksby | 2 years ago
6 likes
Quote:

people who commute across it by bike or on foot cannot travel to work unless they use other means of crossing, such as their car if they have one, getting a lift from someone else, or taking the bus.

Thinking about that - isn't car sharing prohibited in the current situation?

(IIRC there was a Covid outbreak at a factory near Bristol which got traced back to shift workers sharing a car to get to work...).

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
0 likes

Good point.

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