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Cyclists and pedestrians “still in the dark” on Humber Bridge closure says Cycling UK

Charity repeats call for clarification on process behind closure and when footways may reopen

Cycling UK says that cyclists and pedestrians are “still being kept in the dark” about how the owners and operators of the Humber Bridge took the decision to close the structures footways earlier this month, as well as when access to the route is likely to be restored for commuting and leisure.

The Humber Bridge Board closed the footways on 3 April following a number of recent suicides, and earlier this month Cycling UK last week wrote to ask how the decision had been reached, and what alternative arrangements were being made for people on foot or on bike.

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

Currently, cyclists and pedestrians looking to cross the Humber Estuary, including to get to and from work, have to use a car, assuming they have one, or get a lift from someone else or take a bus, with the alternative being a 60-mile detour via bridges over the Trent and Ouse.

Cycling UK received a reply dated 13 April to its letter from Sean Chaytor, the chair of the Humber Bridge Board.

He said that the closure had been “made under the emergency powers the Humber Bridge Board has under the Humber Bridge Act 1959 and therefore, does not involve any form of Traffic Regulation Order.”

“We are currently working on plans to reopen the footways so the general public can enjoy the bridge again.

“However, as you can imagine, we have to be satisfied that if we do reopen, we do not see more tragic incidents, which affect all users of the bridge.

“This plan will be in conjunction with our multi-agency partners and local authorities with responsibility for mental health.”

He added: “We have now allowed commuters to cross the bridge in a safe and controlled manner and we are monitoring the situation. We see this as the first step back to enable everyone to use the bridge again.”

However, Cycling UK notes that it is not clear how that system works, nor is there any mention of it on the bridge’s website, and a local MP has asked for clarification on whether people need to register to use such a service.

“If such a system is in place, it is not being communicated clearly to those who might wish to use it," commented Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK.

“The letter we have received from the Humber Bridge Board is little more than a boilerplate response which fails to address many of the questions we asked, and the same is true of its response to a Freedom of Information request about provision for disabled pedestrians or cyclists under the Board's public-sector equality duty,” he added.

Replying to the Humber Bridge Board’s letter, Dollimore, wrote: “Each and every suicide is a horrific and appalling tragedy for the individual and their family and friends. Yet I am not aware of any other authority or body responsible for the management of highways across major bridges that has decided to close the bridge to pedestrians and cyclists in response.

He cited the case of the Erskine Bridge, which spans the River Clyde between West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire.

He wrote: “Following increased suicides from the Erskine Bridge, for example, steps were taken to install new safety barriers; yet, for the Humber Bridge, the Board’s response to a serious and chronic problem that has been raised repeatedly over many years seems to be to restrict access rather than invest in structural and other intervention measures to try and manage and mitigate the risk.”

The Humber Bridge Board’s response to Cycling UK’s previous letter can be found here, and the full text of the national cyclists’ charity can be read here.

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] "> jo [at] 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 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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A V Lowe | 2 years ago

There is an immediate 'fix' available, pending a longer term solution. There are 3 buses per hour each way, between Barton on Humber station and Hull, through the day, with some early and late journeys, operated jointly by Go Ahead EYMS, and Stagecoach E Midlands.

Both groups operate bus services that carry bikes (EYMS runs the X63 Hull-York - pic)

The services stop near to the Lidl - at the A15 roundabout at the South end of the bridge, and just North of the Toll Plaza at the North end, from where paths and minor roads link to Hessle and Ferriby.  A simple delivery of cycle (and pedestrian) bridge crossings, between thes 2 stops gets the immediate problem sorted, in the same way that cyclists and pedestrians were carried across the Forth Road Bridge in 1963, until the outer paths were completed 

Last week I e-mailed the operations managers for Stagecoach & Go Ahead, plus the local MP and the Bridge Board,  prior to the scheduled Board meeting on Friday 16th, but as yet only a rather disappointing "Don't bother us, we're sorting it out our way" response

There is a further possible option, linked in with the Bridge Visitor Centre, and the fine views from the bridge, but the long walk to see them, along with the fact that the nearest Lidl store for Hessle & the Northern shore is in Goole. An open top bus with bike spaces on the lower deck (like the 599 service that Stagecoach runs between Ambleside and Bowness) with bus stops outside the visitor centre on the service road loop, and at the Lidl bus stop (in the car park at the store), providing a visitor 'experience' of crossing the bridge and a local cross-river shuttle

Do consider endorsing this quick-fix to maintain a link across the river, until a longer term solition can be delivered

Jetmans Dad replied to A V Lowe | 2 years ago
A V Lowe wrote:


... along with the fact that the nearest Lidl store for Hessle & the Northern shore is in Goole.

Not sure what you are getting at here ... there are a number of Lidl stores in Hull and Willerby (just the other end of the Northern Approach Road no less. 

Am I missing something?

CarlosFerreiro | 2 years ago

Might be worth a look at the acts by somebody that know's what they are doing.
A quick skim looks like the 1959 act and 2013 update only give them equivalent powers to local authorities to make traffic orders under the RTA 1984, and doesn't remove the need to actually make one..... -

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