Cyclist hits out at ‘steep’ ramp

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An elderly user of the new Richmond to Brightwater suspension bridge has hit out at the difficulty it takes to get off it after he crashed his bike last week.

Sixty-six year old Richmond resident Trevor Higgs was cycling home following a visit to Brightwater. The gradient of the ramp on the southern side was low enough that he could comfortably cycle up it before proceeding across the bridge. When he got to the northern end he decided to cycle down the exit ramp, only to find himself flying head first over the handle bars.

Stuart Hughes, the project manager for the 80 metre long suspension bridge, confirmed that early feedback showed some concern over the steepness of the ramp. But he was adamant that cyclists should be walking their bikes. “Right from the start there has been comment on the steepness of the ramps, etc. If you have it too flat then you’re encouraging them to ride down it,” say Stuart.

Trevor, still recovering from some bruising, says there was no signage to indicate that he should have been walking, especially after the ease of getting onto the bridge from the other end. “I was in agony there for awhile. Luckily for me, being Saturday, there were people around and they came to my aid,” says Trevor.

A fellow cyclist offered Trevor a ride home in his ute, before he booked a visit with the duty doctor on Waimea Rd.

There was also another accident, when a younger boy was “racing” down the ramp, says Stuart.

The bridge costs $265,000 to build and is situated between Pugh Rd and Bryant Rd. Stuart says there was current works being done to improve the safety of getting onto it. “The biggest critics are probably the bridge designers. We’ve had a review and there are a few improvements to do. Our market research tells us that yes it is steep, that people must take it cautiously but that it’s great. The whole thing is brilliant.”

Trevor says the accident has not put him off using the bridge but will walk his bike down next time.