A 72-year old holiday maker needed emergency surgery after falling into a barrier on the Twin Sails Bridge in the south coast town

Poole's groundbreaking Twin Sails Bridge has been dubbed "not fit for purpose" by a cyclist whose arm was "ripped apart" by the bridge's barrier at the beginning of July.

Andrew Gay, 72, who lives in the Thames Valley, was on a sailing holiday with his wife when he fell of his bike and collided with the unique bridge's sculptural barriers.

The impact left the Thames Valley resident needing 40 stitches to his right arm.

He told the Bournemouth Echo that he was on his way to the gym when the bike's rear wheel slipped on an on-road cat's eye catapulting the 72-year old into the barrier, which he describes as "razor sharp... and not fit for purpose."

He said that two cones were blocking the cycle path, forcing him to briefly ride into the road.

"When I pulled back into the cycle lane," he said. "My back wheel hit one of the cat’s eyes and this small ridge between the cycle lane and the main carriageway.

“My back wheel hit that ridge, kicked out and I shot straight out into the bridge barrier.

“When I hit the bottom of the barrier it catapulted me and the bike right over the top into it and ripped my arm apart.”

He went on to say that the sight of his arm immediately after the incident almost made him faint.

The £37million bridge has been a distinct feature of Poole's skyline since it was opened in April 2012. 

Designed by architecture firm Wilkinson Eyre, which also designed Gateshead's iconic Millenium Bridge and the Media City Footbridge in Salford, the Twin Sails Bridge is the first of its kind in the world.

It gets its name from the shape the two halves of the folding bridge make when they stand upright to let marine traffic through.

The beauty of the bridge isn't lost on Mr Gay, who told the Echo that he thinks the bridge is beautiful, but that he doesn't want anyone else to end up injured like him.

"I love the Twin Sails Bridge, it is a beautiful bridge - all I want to do is protect anyone else from hitting that barrier. What if a kid is roller-skating, or maybe riding a scooter, and hits that barrier.

"They could be ripped apart because the edges are razor sharp. It is not fit for purpose.

"A motorcyclist hitting this barrier would be in serious trouble. I cannot believe it is in place."

The Bournemouth Echo contacted the borough of Poole's engineering manager John Rice, who told them that the department are aware of the complaint, and are looking into the matter.

Elliot joined team road.cc bright eyed, bushy tailed, and straight out of university.

Raised in front of cathode ray tube screens bearing the images of Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, Elliot's always had cycling in his veins.
His balance was found on a Y-framed mountain bike around South London suburbs in the 90s, while his first taste of freedom came when he claimed his father's Giant hybrid as his own at age 16.

When Elliot's not writing for road.cc about two-wheeled sustainable transportation, he's focussing on business sustainability and the challenges facing our planet in the years to come.