Bridge paths ‘to reopen ASAP’
NEW EMAIL SYSTEM
CYCLISTS wanting to cross the Humber Bridge will have to email officials beforehand, it has been revealed.
The Bridge Board made a sudden decision on April 3 to close the paths on either side after a number of tragic deaths on the bridge in the previous weeks.
The decision has angered one leading cycling organisation which claims users affected by the sudden closure of the Humber Bridge footways are still being kept in the dark over the issue.
As yet, no date has been given on when the footways will reopen despite Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy reporting a positive meeting with bridge board chairman Councillor Sean Chaytor at the end of last week. Afterwards, she said she had been told cyclists and pedestrians could now email their details to bridge staff in advance of a journey which would then be passed to security guards to allow them to cross. However, there is still no information about this on the bridge’s official website or any indication of when the footways will reopen. Emma Hardy also revealed additional CCTV will be installed. National cycling body Cycling UK said it remained frustrated over the situation after again writing to the bridge board asking for more information on how the decision was made and the powers used to implement it. Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said people needed to know more details about the email system. “If such a system is in place, it is not being communicated clearly to those who might wish to use it,” he said.
Mr Dollimore also dismissed an initial response from Councillor Chaytor, which said the closure had been carried out using emergency powers under the 1959 Humber Bridge Act which meant it had not been necessary to secure a traffic regulation order. “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 said.
The organisation has now written to the board again asking for further clarification on a number of issues.
Mr Dollimore said Cycling UK acknowledged the concerns about loss of life to suicide that led to the closure of the footways.
However, he said it believed that breaking a vital active travel link was not the way to solve a serious issue.
In the latest letter, Mr Dollimore said: “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. “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.”
After last week’s meeting, Ms Hardy said: “The chair wanted me to communicate that they want to open for leisure users ASAP and that the closure is temporary and they will never charge cyclists or pedestrians for using the bridge.”