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Aqueduct railing

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Calderdale Council's plan to put railings on the top of the Black Pit aqueduct to stop cyclists falling into the river deserves an award for its outstanding stupidity. The trouble is, that makes it all the more likely to go ahead.

To quote the HBT report

'In the design and access statement which accompanies the application, environmental projects officer Anne Holdsworth said: "A risk assessment has been carried out and whilst the likelihood of a cyclist crashing at the right angle and sufficient speed to go over the wall at this particular point is low, the severity of the incident is very high, with a risk of death or permanent disability."'

Death or permanent disability, eh? Hey Anne, how about spending some time walking the towpath? Then you might discover that a much greater hazard is to walkers from aggressive and inconsiderate cyclists. Risk assess that. I've got nothing against most cyclists - I'm not one but others in my family are, and I'm associated with a company that makes bike saddles - but too many cyclists are extremely dangerous because they demand priority when sharing a route with pedestrians. Children, the elderly, the infirm - no one is shown any mercy as cyclists dressed like samurai warriors weave through them at killing speed. Slow down? That's for wimps. A bell? That's for even bigger wimps. Dismount and walk? Inconceivable.

My message to Anne Holdsworth is: if you're genuinely concerned about eliminating risk, please start with the real hazards before tackling the imaginary ones. We need a ban on idiot canal towpath cylists long before we need railings on the viaduct.

From Ian M

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

While on the subject, any cyclist who has substandard or no lights whilst riding at night should face the same penalties as motorists. I have lost count of the amount of idiots I have narrowly avoided as they have appeared out of the darkness on an unlit cycle whilst wearing stealth gear.

From John Knapp

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

All that is needed is a sign saying 'Cyclists please dismount on this aqueduct'.

If Calderdale is risk assessing the towpath, what about the dangerous edges where all the stones and half the width of the path have fallen into the canal?

The British Waterways charity and Calderdale know of the very dangerous state, particularly approaching Todmorden and in the centre of Todmorden. No one is interested 'we don't have a budget for that'.

Yet they can spend money on spurious risks and ignore real and existing ones. There is also no point in wasting money on the planned resurfacing of the towpath when half of it is in the canal.


From John G

Friday, 7 January 2011

Really good idea. Why not have one on top of the wall on Keighley Road as well to stop people falling into the river below? I may be wrong but I allways thought it was against the law to ride a bike on the towpath

From Andy M

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Cycling is technically illegal without a permit which are freely available from BW websites. BW are, quite rightly, actively encouraging use of their tow-paths. There's also a code of conduct that users should stick to but most probably don't have a permit in the first place... possibly.

From Paul D

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Perhaps some of the towpath has been made part of the national cycle network? But anyway, I've never met a cyclist who hasn't been both courteous and careful on that stretch and this proposal shows how distant those who serve us are from those they are supposed to serve.

The parapet of the aqueduct is quite wide, for example, it's almost impossible to see the carved head overlooking black pit whirlpool without straddling the parapet with your feet off the ground. The possibility of a cyclist colliding with another or with a pedestrian with enough momentum to take them upwards and over this parapet is about nil. As already stated, it's not a risk.

A much greater risk is the railway bridge at Palace House Road, here a small footbridge running aside the structure (as at County Bridge in Mytholmroyd) could improve the lives of many local people. Similarly, investing in repairing the footpaths, steps, handrails and the like beyond the town centre could also improve the lives of many. An inexpensive pelican crossing at the bottom of Church Lane would allow the elderly and young to cross Burnley Road with more confidence ? a real improvement. But such improvements require both local knowledge and a commitment to the needs of local people ? something Calderdale consistently lack. So we may well get these unnecessary girders.

If Calderdale really cared about our heritage they'd have saved the water wheel and its house at Mayroyd, not created some faux industrial streetscape which provides space for caf? owners to clutter the footpaths with their garden furniture. They'd have bought Browns and built low cost high quality housing for local people displaced by inward migration, instead they turn school yards into car parks. They'd have built a swimming pool to replace the one they let rot, an education centre to replace the one they sold, a youth club to serve the children they consistently ignore. But it's all about tourism and 'leisure visitors', real people living their ordinary lives are pretty much ignored. Cyclists are no risk to any of us, Calderdale on the other hand very much is, and it's destroying our culture. Another New Year and we see the same old issues, people doing things on our behalf that don't need doing, whilst studiously ignoring the things that do. Is this what people mean by 'democratic deficit'? Being opposed to the proposed cuts to local government spending I now see that some cuts could never quite be deep enough. The coaltion may well do what the electorate cannot - rid us of these fools.