Cyclist falls off bridge

Scary downhill

This past weekend, I rode my bike down through Surrey, North Delta and Annacis Island. It was the first time I’d taken my bike across the Alex Fraser bridge, and it had a few scary moments: a narrow sidewalk, and a low railing, plus three danger spots. The freeway signposts block the path at two points, narrowing it to essentially the width of my handlebars. At another point (shown in the photo from behind and front), the path makes a sudden sharp jog. Two of those three danger zones were in downhill sections, where cyclists could easily be riding quite fast. When I see scary bridges like this or the Second Narrows bridge, I always think about what would happen if I made a mistake. Could I tumble over the railing and fall right off the bridge? Optimistically, I assumed the engineers considered these things when they design the bridges.

Apparently not. In the paper yesterday, I saw a report from Mississauga. “From witness reports it is believed the handlebars of Sacawa’s bike may have become caught between two of the bridge’s metal posts. The impact caused him to lurch forward and tumble over the side of the bridge.” (CTV) “The railing he went over stands a bit more than one metre high, roughly the height of a tall man’s waist.” (Globe and Mail). He fell 150 feet to his death. Scary, scary stuff.

3 thoughts on “Cyclist falls off bridge

  1. There are now calls for an inquest (Toronto Star). It sounds like classic bad bridge design: a 96cm railing (the 1980 standard; today’s is still only 137cm), with bicycle lanes at either end but cyclists are supposed to walk their bike across the bridge itself – even though it’s half a kilometer long.

  2. The actual regulated height of the guard rail is unknown:

    “Powell said standards have been raised over the years, but he wouldn’t reveal present minimum height standards. Stehr said he believes it is 137 centimetres.” (The Toronto Star)

    Isn’t it ridiculous that he wouldn’t reveal the minimum height standard? I’ll be extra cautious of riding over bridges now.

  3. It amazes me that transit assumes we can all ride bikes. When you reach your 70’s and in ill health
    and all you get is how you can get anywhere you want by bike, you just shake your head. We need to get to the curling venue and it seems the UBC busses are going to be limited as well as other bus routes. These Olympic games are going to be difficult to get to even if you have tickets.

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