February 12, 2008

The Bridge in Tocil Woods

It’s been discovered that the bridge on the track between main campus and Gibbet Hill needs replacing. As it’s feared that the bridge would collapse under the weight of a motor vehicle, their entry has been blocked by placing obstructions on either side of the bridge.

Tocil Woods Bridge view towards Gibbet Hill

There’s no problem in seeing the barriers. But what would happen if two cyclists approached the bridge at the same time in opposing directions?

The speed at which two cyclists approached the bridge would be the sum of their individual speeds, perhaps 20 to 40 mph. Cyclists would have to leave a gap of at least 40cm between their wheels and the barriers/railing as the latter are quite tall.


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  1. Steve Rumsby

    But what would happen if two cyclists approached the bridge at the same time in opposing directions?

    I don’t want to state the obvious, but if the barriers make the bridge too narrow for two cyclists to cross at the same time, then the obvious answer is that they don’t. In other words, one of them gives way to the other. I think there’s plenty of time for both parties to anticipate the problem and take appropriate action, isn’t there? Or am I missing something?

    12 Feb 2008, 20:19

  2. Well someone got a shock – I quote:

    “[...] in the dark, I was approaching the bridge at the same time as another rider appeared round the end. Neither of us could reliably judge where we would meet. In fact we were inches from the railings and each other in the middle of the bridge when we passed.”

    I suppose a problem only arises if at least one of the cyclists is unfamiliar with the new arrangement. Those of us who have passed over it several times before we meet another cyclist in the dark perhaps find no difficulties.

    12 Feb 2008, 20:36

  3. They collide and due to conservation of momentum a singularity is formed. The world implodes.

    12 Feb 2008, 20:51

  4. Michael

    If you’re cycling fast with poor visibility, such that your stopping distance is longer than the distance you can see… you deserve what you get.

    12 Feb 2008, 23:49

  5. But what would happen if two cyclists approached the bridge at the same time in opposing directions?

    What happens when you’re driving and come to a narrow bridge? There’s one of mine near my house and I’ve managed to drive over it hundreds of times in the last 6 years without crashing into anyone coming the other way. You use something called common sense – you slow down and anticipate. If it looks like you’re going to crash, you put on the brakes and stop.

    If it was a motorist asking this question – the point of which I’m still yet to work out – I’m sure you’d be saying the same thing in response.

    13 Feb 2008, 02:03

  6. Apologies for typo – delete “of mine” in second sentence. Why do I only spot these things after I post? :-)

    13 Feb 2008, 02:04

  7. Fed-up bike commuter

    I have additional information:

    1. Initially, the barriers stretched across the whole cycle lane, with just a narrow gap for bicycles. I think this was removed when I pointed out to them that it would block my child trailer, and no doubt also wheelchairs.
    2. A man in a yellow coat told me that someone has already had a nasty accident with the barriers (a female student I believe).
    3. A man from Estates (i believe) told me that the damage was done by contractors (i suspect the people who put the new tar on the path). Yes that common Warwick refrain: “blame the contractors”. I asked him what steps they undertake to supervise contractors – blank look in return.
    4. There were no warning signs up until a senior member of the university complained.
    5. If the street lights above the barriers fail, then they may become invisible to fast moving cycles.

    In fact this only adds to the many obstructions placed in my route every day. Can someone please tell Estates, Hospitality etc that cycle lanes are not car parks or roads.

    That in combination with the utterly psychopathic driving of ordinary staff and students!

    13 Feb 2008, 09:04

  8. What happens when you’re driving and come to a narrow bridge? There’s one near my house and I’ve managed to drive over it hundreds of times in the last 6 years without crashing into anyone coming the other way.

    Suppose there was a two way bridge which you had driven over for years, which then had been reduced to a single lane. And it was the first time that you had used it in its single lane state?

    Still with all those barriers and tape anyone unfamiliar with the changes should notice that something is amiss and act accordingly. Perhaps when the rider who complained crossed the bridge that extra decoration had not yet been put up.

    13 Feb 2008, 09:14

  9. They collide and due to conservation of momentum a singularity is formed. The world implodes.

    Obviously that’s a worst case scenario, but I hope someone has done the environmental case paperwork.

    13 Feb 2008, 09:34

  10. If the street lights above the barriers fail, then they may become invisible to fast moving cycles.

    I thought those red and white barriers were meant to be reflective. If you’ve got proper lights on, which of course all cyclists riding in the dark have, then the lights should pick them up.

    13 Feb 2008, 11:32

  11. I hope someone has done the environmental case paperwork.

    Not until it happens.

    13 Feb 2008, 11:40

  12. Fed-up bike commuter

    I thought those red and white barriers were meant to be reflective.

    Look again. The red and white barriers are only temporary. The real barriers are simply white metal. The point is this: the University has a duty of care to reduce risk as far as is reasonable. The question then is: what is reasonable?

    13 Feb 2008, 13:27

  13. Ben Keates

    Interesting. Perhaps a vertical post with red and white reflective material at the top might have been a better solution, like you do get in some places. I’d agree that those white hoops don’t seem like a great solution (indeed it seems to have been done typically on the cheap), particularly if they were obstructing such things as child trailers. Even so, I find it hard to believe it’s completely pitch black down there and that somebody riding at speed wouldn’t be able to see them, and I speak from experience (having cycled back from Gibbet Hill to Westwood in the dark frequently after Maths lectures when Maths used to be up there.) They should be spotted in time to avoid them.

    Anyway, we digress. The original question was this:

    There’s no problem in seeing the barriers. But what would happen if two cyclists approached the bridge at the same time in opposing directions?

    My original point stands – use common sense and slow down!

    13 Feb 2008, 15:05

  14. I think a post in the middle, with enough room on both sides for a cyclist to pass would have been better.
    I suspect it’s more difficult getting past another person than dealing with a motionless object, as the latter’s trajectory is easy to predict.

    13 Feb 2008, 16:45

  15. Fed up bike commuter

    It looks like the white hoops are not new, and have been hastily moved from some other location.

    14 Feb 2008, 07:20

  16. I’ve moved the recent comments which were rather off-topic to a new blog entry

    14 Feb 2008, 11:05

  17. There’s no problem in seeing the barriers. But what would happen if two cyclists approached the bridge at the same time in opposing directions?

    What happens when you’re driving and come to a narrow bridge?...You use something called common sense – you slow down and anticipate. If it looks like you’re going to crash, you put on the brakes and stop.

    Suppose there was a two way bridge which you had driven over for years, which then had been reduced to a single lane. And it was the first time that you had used it in its single lane state?

    again,

    What happens when you’re driving and come to a narrow bridge?...You use something called common sense – you slow down and anticipate. If it looks like you’re going to crash, you put on the brakes and stop.

    What’s the problem?
    One of the bentest posts I’ve seen on Warwick Blogs. Listen to Keates.

    26 Feb 2008, 18:00

  18. Initially, the barriers stretched across the whole cycle lane, with just a narrow gap for bicycles. I think this was removed when I pointed out to them that it would block my child trailer, and no doubt also wheelchairs.

    There were no warning signs up until a senior member of the university complained.

    Before the warnings signs were put up:

    someone [...] had a nasty accident with the barriers (a female student I believe).

    In other words initially it was a lot worse than as shown in the photos above

    27 Feb 2008, 09:39


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