Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

news

Humber Bridge path closed to cyclists 'indefinitely'

Thousands of people use the bridge to get to work everyday

The Humber Bridge paths have been closed to cyclists and pedestrians 'indefinitely' due to an unspecified 'recent incident'.

The Humber Bridge Board announced the decision on Saturday afternoon on the back of an incident on the bridge, report the Hull Daily Mail.

It is not yet known when - or if - the pathways will be reopened.

A spokesperson for the Humber Bridge Board said: “Due to a recent incident, we have taken the decision to close the footways on both sides of the Humber Bridge for an indefinite period.

"We appreciate this might cause some inconvenience, but we ask that pedestrians and cyclists respect the decision and avoid the Humber Bridge at the present time.”

The decision comes after multiple deaths at the bridge in the month of March.

A petition has since been launched calling for extra measures to help 'secure' the Humber Bridge and prevent or significantly reduce the amount of suicide attempts there.

The paths on either side of the 1.4 mile (2,200m) long bridge carry thousands pedestrians and cyclists to work every day.

The bridge on the outskirts of Hull crosses the Humber estuary linking East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

It opened in 1981 and is the seventh longest suspension bridge in the world.

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.”

Add new comment

92 comments

Avatar
ChrisB200SX | 2 years ago
0 likes

Curious why the carriageway hasn't been closed due to the "recent incident"... can anyone confirm that it's absolutely impossible to drive on the bridge and then jump off of it?

Avatar
4-caster | 2 years ago
5 likes

What is a pedestrian or cyclist expected to do? Go round by Goole? Or not commute to work?
The Humber Bridge Board should provide a shuttle service to carry people who are banned from crossing the bridge through no fault of their own.
It says on their website "The Humber Bridge is currently open to all traffic, except for abnormal loads wider than 4 metres (13.1ft) or heavier than 44 tons."

Some people say that cyclists should catch a bus, but that doesn't help those who need the bike to reach their final destination.

Avatar
brooksby replied to 4-caster | 2 years ago
4 likes
4-caster wrote:

What is a pedestrian or cyclist expected to do? Go round by Goole? Or not commute to work?

Clearly they are expected to NOT be a pedestrian or cyclist. Remember, "If It Saves One Life" (TM) 

Avatar
Biking_Bob | 2 years ago
4 likes

The Erskine Bridge over the Clyde had a similar problem which was resolved by a clever design of barrier which prevents climbing over

Avatar
brooksby replied to Biking_Bob | 2 years ago
1 like

They have a special fence on the Clifton suspension bridge too.

I suspect that putting it along both sides of a two mile suspension bridge is quite a big (and expensive) task, though...

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

They have a special fence on the Clifton suspension bridge too.

I suspect that putting it along both sides of a two mile suspension bridge is quite a big (and expensive) task, though...

only needs to be installed on one side, leaving the other side closed.

Avatar
Captain Badger replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

They have a special fence on the Clifton suspension bridge too.

I suspect that putting it along both sides of a two mile suspension bridge is quite a big (and expensive) task, though...

It's a key part of the entire project. It's not expensive to ensure that an essential right of way is safe to use, especially when measured against the overall budget.

This was clearly a miss in the original project and needs correcting. 

Avatar
Awavey replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
2 likes

40 years ago such things werent considered a necessary part of bridge design,thankfully weve moved on abit since then.

And I imagine it will be expensive to fix,purely because of the high winds factor and that's it a grade 1 listed structure which means you wont get permission to put any old barrier up.

Avatar
Captain Badger replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
3 likes
Awavey wrote:

40 years ago such things werent considered a necessary part of bridge design,thankfully weve moved on abit since then.

Folk have chosen this method of suicide ever since suspension bridges were built - it was a well known issue 40 years ago, not considering it was definitely a miss. 

AS you point out though we have moved on, and we know from bitter experience that the risk is there. The miss needs correcting.

Awavey wrote:

And I imagine it will be expensive to fix,purely because of the high winds factor and that's it a grade 1 listed structure which means you wont get permission to put any old barrier up.

This correction has been made to Clifton, Tower Bridge etc. Using listing as an excuse would be a cop-out. 

The "expense" issue is also a red herring. It is necessary. It was missed. It needs fixing. The root of the cost is not the fence itself, it is the failure to put it up in the first place. A country that can spend 1b on a roundabout is perfectly capable of finding the money to update a right of way with an essential safety feature.

Avatar
JimTheGlawsFan | 2 years ago
0 likes

How many cyclists have taken their own lives? I bet the answer is incredibly small compared to pedestrians (that parked cars at the end).
Close it to pedestrians, not cyclists, if that's your answer to solve mental health issues.

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to JimTheGlawsFan | 2 years ago
0 likes

I thought they decided to ban everyone as it is easier to put a structure block on the path to stop anyone encroaching but so far it just seems to be coned and a securityguard. Surely have them chat to everyone crossing and looking for warning signs? Or just put higher fences along the sides. 

Avatar
Woldsman | 2 years ago
3 likes

A press release this morning. Nothing has changed, but...

https://www.humberbridge.co.uk/2021/04/06/humber-bridge-statement/

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Woldsman | 2 years ago
5 likes
Woldsman wrote:

A press release this morning. Nothing has changed, but...

https://www.humberbridge.co.uk/2021/04/06/humber-bridge-statement/

That's a good press release that's changed my initial reaction to the news (i.e. not just a cheap thoughtless solution). It's very sad that there's been so much increase in young people with problems.

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to Woldsman | 2 years ago
2 likes
Woldsman wrote:

A press release this morning. Nothing has changed, but...

https://www.humberbridge.co.uk/2021/04/06/humber-bridge-statement/

At least that puts their actions into context, but why didn't they issue this statement immediately instead of waiting so long after closing the paths?  Worth noting that they refer only to the "footway".  Cyclists literally don't exist, and even if they do, they are of no account.

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
0 likes

I think that is just them trying to distinguish that part of the bridge and they do mention still looking at other measures for commuters on foot or by bike. Other bridges like the QE at dartford do Bike crossings for free so why not run something similar?

Avatar
eburtthebike | 2 years ago
4 likes

This is an interesting take on the situation.  A local cyclist tries to ride across the bridge, is told to use the main carriageway, does so, but is stopped by police.  The interesting bit starts at 2:28 and finishes at 3:50.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW4hR51Gilw

Avatar
Prosper0 | 2 years ago
4 likes

It's not fair or appropriate is it? The only reason the bridge board has done this is because of their deep seated bias that the journeys of people that walk or cycle are not important- so closing access is an easy way for them to wash their hands of the issue. 

Sadly the rail network also has a lot of 'incidents', but you don't see them closing the   West Coast mainline 'indefinitely..'

Avatar
Gus T replied to Prosper0 | 2 years ago
3 likes

Actually they have, you can't cycle on the West Coast Mainline and there are notices on all railway lines saying "Private Property - Keep Off"

Avatar
Mybike | 2 years ago
3 likes

Why is it only closed to cycilist and not cars  Can someone just drive park there car and jump off or only cyclist do this.  In Ontario we had the same problem It was sovled by a big fence covering the bridge.

Avatar
Smiffi replied to Mybike | 2 years ago
1 like

I have to agree with this point of view.  Is there any evidence that people only walk or cycle to the bridge to commit suicide?  If there's a need to close the bridge to prevent tragic acts (and the statistics certainly seem to suggest that there are an inordinately large number of incidents there), then close it completely, along with the car-park at the end, to prevent anyone accessing it.  This would also solve the problems of paying for upkeep!

Avatar
swldxer replied to Smiffi | 2 years ago
5 likes

I live there and many people have parked up in the car parks, walked across and jumped.

Avatar
Gus T replied to Mybike | 2 years ago
1 like

I'm another local and as swldxer says people do drive to the bridge but they do not park their cars on the bridge, they park elsewhere and walk up to the pathways to end their lives.

Avatar
massive4x4 replied to Mybike | 2 years ago
1 like
Mybike wrote:

Why is it only closed to cycilist and not cars  Can someone just drive park there car and jump off or only cyclist do this.  In Ontario we had the same problem It was sovled by a big fence covering the bridge.

The bridge is more than a mile long with a dual carriageway on it. You can't stop and park your car on it, if you did the emergency services would be over very quickly.

Plus there is a very strong physcological barrier to just stopping your car in traffic on a high speed road. Most suicides decisions are short term states of mind which that reaction not to stop and be the odd one out recieving public scorn would overide.

Ergo people who drive to the bridge park at either end and jump off are pedestrians who would be blocked by said barrier.

Avatar
Captain Badger replied to massive4x4 | 2 years ago
1 like
massive4x4 wrote:
Mybike wrote:

Why is it only closed to cycilist and not cars  Can someone just drive park there car and jump off or only cyclist do this.  In Ontario we had the same problem It was sovled by a big fence covering the bridge.

The bridge is more than a mile long with a dual carriageway on it. You can't stop and park your car on it, if you did the emergency services would be over very quickly.

Plus there is a very strong physcological barrier to just stopping your car in traffic on a high speed road. Most suicides decisions are short term states of mind which that reaction not to stop and be the odd one out recieving public scorn would overide.

Ergo people who drive to the bridge park at either end and jump off are pedestrians who would be blocked by said barrier.

And so to return to Mybike's question. Why are cyclists being prevented from using the bridge?

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
0 likes

Because they are only allowed on the same section they have closed for use by anyone. I suspect they have also stopped roller skaters and scooter riders and all sorts of other mobility options that would use the "footpath" section and not allowed to use the vehicular section. 

Avatar
Captain Badger replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
1 like
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Because they are only allowed on the same section they have closed for use by anyone....

Bingo, no good reason..

Of course providing a shuttle bus for peds (they may already be doing this), or permitting riders to use the carriage way whilst imposing a temporary speed limit and segregating lanes may be one way of sorting this out.

Another would be to provide a shuttle bus for riders too....

Avatar
Gus T | 2 years ago
5 likes

Just a few comments from a local, sorry if they appear disjointed as the attitude of some people to this closure is affecting my personal mental health.

The Bridge Board are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't, unfortunately there has been a gradual increase in the numbers of attempted and actual suicides over the past couple of years, a lot of which are never reported. When these occur the bridge is closed to all users.

There has been a bus service over the bridge for some years, surely cyclists could adapt and leave their bikes at the Park & Rides then use the bus to get over the bridge.

I have personal knowledge of 2 of the people who commited suicide, one of them a 17 year old girl who was a close friend of my great neice, neither of them had ever discussed their mental health problems or indicated that they would commit suicide. How can you provide services to people who are not seeking it. It takes a great deal of effort to commit suicide, it's not the easy get out people think it is.

If I remember correctly, when the Humber Bridge was built it was initially designed as a road bridge with pedestrian walkways, the paths were designated as shared use at a later date.

Road traffic is the priority on the bridge because they are the ones literally paying to use it, the bridge was commissioned by Barbera Castle as part of an intended East Coast motorway linking Middlesborough, York, Hull, Lincoln and Cambridge to the M25, this motorway was later scrapped and as a result the bridge has been lossmaking ever since it was built and can only be maintained using the money it raises. Due to the largess of recent Governments, 50% of the debt was written off, this was the debt of the Tory controlled councils around the Humber, the remaining 50% is being paid for by Hull City Council, the only Labour controlled council at the time and they are still paying for the loan, any future loans for work on the bridge will have to be underwritten by Hull CC.

Currently the bridge is undergoing repairs to the east side because wear and tear and as a result the east side walkway is closed to all users and has been for some time so it can not be made into a cycling only lane as suggested by some. 

As far as I know the indeffinate closure is because work will have to be planned and tendered for before it can be undertaken so the Bridge Board can not give any timings at this point.

Prehaps this is a time for the local councils to prove their cycling credentials by providing a low cost cyclist and bike shuttle over the bridge rather than putting all the onus on the Bridge Board.

Final couple of points.

Have a look at the history of the Valley Bridge in Scarborough and see how long it was closed before it could be made as suicide proof as possible then look at the engineering challenges the Humber bridge faces.

and

I'm not a NIMBY, I have been looking forward to lockdown ending so that I can cycle over the bridge to meet friends and enjoy coffee & cake at The Ropery cafe in Barton, this will no longer be possible, but I understand the reasoning behind the closure and if my inconvenience results in the saving of 1 life then I can cope with it.

Happy and safe cycling all.

Gus

 

 

 

 

Avatar
andystow replied to Gus T | 2 years ago
6 likes
Gus T wrote:

Road traffic is the priority on the bridge because they are the ones literally paying to use it, the bridge was commissioned by Barbera Castle as part of an intended East Coast motorway linking Middlesborough, York, Hull, Lincoln and Cambridge to the M25, this motorway was later scrapped and as a result the bridge has been lossmaking ever since it was built and can only be maintained using the money it raises. Due to the largess of recent Governments, 50% of the debt was written off, this was the debt of the Tory controlled councils around the Humber, the remaining 50% is being paid for by Hull City Council, the only Labour controlled council at the time and they are still paying for the loan, any future loans for work on the bridge will have to be underwritten by Hull CC.

The entire remainder of this paragraph contradicts its first sentence.

Avatar
Gus T replied to andystow | 2 years ago
5 likes

Sorry if factual information doesn't fit.

I'll break it down for you to make it easier to read.

1) Motor vehicles pay to use the bridge, that money goes towards the upkeep and interest on the debt along with monies from Hull CC

2) The bridge was originally commisioned by Barbera Castle as part of the proposed East Coast motorway which would have provided the traffic 

3) The building of the bridge was funded by loans taken out from the treasury by Humberside CC and Hull CC

4) A sub sequent Government decided to scrap the East Coast motorway but did not write of the debt created.

5) Humberside CC  was disolved and several new Councils were created including East Riding of Yorkshire Council, North Lincs Council and NE Lincs Councilk.

6) After much politicing to reduce the the cost of the bridge crossing, which was £3.00 for cars at that time, the Government at that time wrote off the debt's of all the newly formed Tory councils but left Hull CC with their share of the debt, this enabled the cost of the crossing to be reduced to £1.50

7) The Bridge Board and Hull CC have to fund the interest payments and repairs from the revenues raised and council tax if there is a shortfall.

Hope this now makes sense to you.

Avatar
Zigster replied to Gus T | 2 years ago
1 like

Motor cycles are free on the Humber Bridge.

Pages

Latest Comments