Bad vibrations: Council removes non-slip strips from bridge after Cambridge cyclists complain (+ videos)

Videos uploaded to YouTube and Cyclestreets.org show bumpy ride across ridged surface

by Simon_MacMichael   May 27, 2013  

Stourbridge Common Railway Bridge YouTube still (user Rad Wagon)

Cambridgeshire County Council has ripped up a non-slip surface on a bridge used by cyclists after riders complained of the vibrations it caused as they rode over it.

The bridge in question forms part of the National Cycle Route 51 as it runs alongside the River Cam at Stourbridge Common and beneath a railway bridge that crosses the river.

Cambridge News reports that cyclists highlighted their experiences of riding across the bridge on the website Cyclestreets.net, including the discomfort experienced through those vibrations.

Videos uploaded to Cyclestreets.net and YouTube by user Rad Wagon show the effect the ridged surface – put in place to prevent pedestrians and cyclists from slipping – has when riding a bike across the bridge.

In text accompanying the following video uploaded to YouTube on 25 February, Rad Wagon said: “The bridge under the Stourbridge Common railway bridge has been quite slippy for a while. So it's having it's slip-stop surface replaced. 



“Here's a good before and after clip while it's been half done. You'll notice the rough nature of the new surface. It's actually pretty difficult to ride and must take at least 25% more effort.

“Also, the fixing is a single series of studs along the middle of each strip. This looks like it'll come up pretty easily as it feels like each strip moves around whilst riding over it.”

A further video was uploaded to the video-sharing site last Tuesday 21 May, with Rad Wagon saying: “A second clip about this after it's had time to bed in. It is awful. 



“I felt great pain after finishing riding along the bridge in my forearms. I can't think what this would be like to ride regularly and whether they'd be any longer term effects.



“Just for info, I'm definitely not going too fast (around 8mph), I'm going easily slow enough to be able to stop for others. I'm not sure going any slower would help any more.”

A subsequent video posted on 22 May shows workmen removing the strips.

Twitter user K Holliday (@ImpersK) reacted to the news by saying: "Oh hooorah!!! This path is AWFUL and makes me feel sick and dizzy every time I cycle over it. Good riddance!!"

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council, quoted on Cambridge News, said: “The bridge is below the railway bridge and because of the location the surface is permanently in the shade and can become damp and slippery at times.

“The non-slip plastic strips were put in place to try to improve the surface for walkers and cyclists, but unfortunately they have not proved popular, particularly with cyclists who complained the surface was uneven and caused excessive vibration when they cycled over the bridge.

“As a result of the representations from the cycling groups, the strips are now being removed.”

The council spokesman rejected suggestions that the installation and subsequent removal of the strips represented a waste of money for which taxpayers would have to foot the bill.

“The costs involved are negligible,” he said. “We already had the strips in stock from previous pedestrian bridge improvements, the cost of removing them is very small and the strips will be re-used on other pedestrian only bridges in the county. We are talking a few hundred pounds in total.”

13 user comments

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Rule #5 obviously doesn't apply in Cambridge.

posted by thelimopit [117 posts]
27th May 2013 - 21:32

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Moral of the story: Don't overinflate your tyres Wink

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [164 posts]
27th May 2013 - 21:40

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It's a piece of transport infrastructure, it needs to work properly, it doesn't, so they're fixing it.

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4111 posts]
27th May 2013 - 21:41

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tony_farrelly wrote:
It's a piece of transport infrastructure, it needs to work properly, it doesn't, so they're fixing it.

There is a first time for everything i suppose.

posted by Some Fella [618 posts]
27th May 2013 - 23:21

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bizarelly, I found it was less painful the faster you take it.

However, as it is narrow, with blingd corners, and busy with cyclists and pedestrians, taking it fast is a stupid, stupid idea.

The complaints listed aren't from skinny-tired roadies; it was bad to ride across even with fattish hybrid tires.

posted by Al__S [419 posts]
28th May 2013 - 8:26

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Wow, cue series of court cases following people slipping on wet wood because they removed the anti slip surface. I've cycled across this in both with and without the anti slip surface and in the wet and dry and I can honestly say that I would definitely prefer the antislip combo under all conditions. The wood is absolutely leathal, especially once it gets a bit muddy/wet. Its all of 100 meters long, surely most folk can just manage.

posted by edf242 [36 posts]
28th May 2013 - 10:01

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A cycle bridge surfaced with wood!? That's just madness surely? Bound to be lethally slippy in the wet and with a nice layer of green mould growing on it.

posted by jackh [104 posts]
28th May 2013 - 10:12

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Al__S wrote:
bizarelly, I found it was less painful the faster you take it.

However, as it is narrow, with blingd corners, and busy with cyclists and pedestrians, taking it fast is a stupid, stupid idea.

The complaints listed aren't from skinny-tired roadies; it was bad to ride across even with fattish hybrid tires.

That must be where the money went. Cheap strips on the ground but then they went and blingd up the corners. Wink

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
28th May 2013 - 12:36

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Non-slip paint, problem solved.

The idiots who paved the Lea Valley canal path seem to think that a good solution to slow down cyclists is to make the path danerously slippery for everyone and cause cyclists endless punctures by covering the path with trillions of little bits of flint; 30+ puntures, ultraskins, Armadillos, tuffy tape - nothing works against this $@#%/$ing stuff.

And dont get me started on NCN1 - avoid if you respect your bike / are not looking for a bike assault course.

posted by kie7077 [353 posts]
28th May 2013 - 12:53

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Al__S wrote:
bizarelly, I found it was less painful the faster you take it.

However, as it is narrow, with blingd corners, and busy with cyclists and pedestrians, taking it fast is a stupid, stupid idea.

The complaints listed aren't from skinny-tired roadies; it was bad to ride across even with fattish hybrid tires.


Great practice for le pave then. Hit hard and fast, don't stop pedalling till your done Big Grin but as said. With the added obstacle of slower traffic as well as oncoming it's a no goer. Ah well Sad

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posted by giff77 [958 posts]
28th May 2013 - 14:16

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I thought the point of it was to slow cyclists down when I originally went across it and it certainly had that effect on me. Would be terrible for wheelchair users as well. Non-slip paint does seem a reasonable alternative though I'm not sure how long it would last with the amount of traffic it gets.

Glad it's going though. It's a route I use quite a bit and it was a bit of a nuisance.

posted by Alan Tullett [1293 posts]
28th May 2013 - 17:45

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Nail a roll of chicken wire over the timber. Cheap, simple and widely used on building sites around the country.

posted by monkimark [12 posts]
28th May 2013 - 20:31

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Jesus, I feel SO SO sorry Devil Devil Devil that a cyclist is inconvenienced by this TINY stretch of bridge to make things safer for both cyclist and pedestrians.

What a load of guff. ALL the local walks around here that are shared and could become slippy have these on them. I've never had a problem with it and they've been here for many years.

Put something new infront of a cyclist with a camera and they WILL find issue with it......

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posted by Gkam84 [8140 posts]
28th May 2013 - 23:03

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