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  1. #1
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    Scary moment riding across wet steel grate drawbridge (Fort Lauderdale)

    My morning ride consists of crossing two drawbridges that span the intra-coastal waterway. I have been doing this route for about three months and have not had any issues until today. Apparently a rain shower passed over the Commercial Blvd bridge before I arrived since the ground was wet but it was not raining anymore. When my tires hit the steel grating the entire bike started to slide sideways with the rear wheel slipping out to the right more and more as I progressed. Scared the heck out of me. I made it across to the pavement on the other side without falling but it took me completely by surprise.

    Another bridge I ride across has a solid surface within the gating, presumably for providing a more stable ride. I cannot believe there is no warning sign, etc. on the bridge(s) that do not have this accommodation. I will either switch over to the sidewalk next time I sense any moisture on the road or just walk my bike across the span in the future.

  2. #2
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Out here on the frontier crossing cattleguards and railroad tracks on a bike in wet conditions can be hazardous.

    Last year a frind of mine took a spill crossing over railroad tracks in the rain. Bike went right out from underneath her.

    On Stage 2 of the USA Pro Challenge race several riders fell at a cattleguard on Cottonwood Pass.
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  3. #3
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    You're lucky you didn't fall. At speed those bridge grates are like human cheese graters, not pretty.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
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  4. #4
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    I used to ride over one of those on my trips to my folks' house from college. They're not a lot of fun on a bike and no better on a motorcycle.

  5. #5
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    My last wreck was coused by a trolly track as i was makeing a turn my wet tire hit the track slid into the groove and threw me off my bike......lucky i was goen slow! metal and wet tires arnt a good combination iv learned,lol

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    Those metal grate drawbridges give me the willies. I always walk across them.

  7. #7
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I'm usually okay if they're dry. But ANY moisture at all makes them super scary.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  8. #8
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Well done!
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  9. #9
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    Steel Grate Hurts

    There's a steel grate bridge in Boston on Morrisey Blvd that I've crossed, when dry, dozens of times. I was rolling across it last Saturday morning after a rain shower, and the tires suddenly felt like I was on black ice -- no traction whatsoever left with the road. I tried to keep it gentle and straight, but no way. Went down hard, shredded my hip, helmet, and new rain jacket on the roadway. Miraculously did not get hit by the cars behind me, and got some help from some National Guard kids who pulled over in their SUV, and later state troopers and EMTs. Mild concussion and a terrific bruise and abrasion, but no loss other than the helmet and sunglasses. Helmet damage was pretty impressive, it really broke up. And I had only remembered to click the chin strap back together five minutes earlier.

  10. #10
    zac
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    Careful on those, they are like ice when wet...

    We have one in Lowell (University Avenue Bridge*) that has the added bonus of the steel plates shifting and opening up parallel gaps that can swallow a wheel/tire. I avoid that bridge at all costs, and luckily Lowell has 5 others that can be used to cross.

    * It is currently in the process of being decommissioned, and a new bridge being built in right next to it. So it's infamous nature will soon be history.

    zac

  11. #11
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaybeeboston View Post
    There's a steel grate bridge in Boston on Morrisey Blvd that I've crossed, when dry, dozens of times. I was rolling across it last Saturday morning after a rain shower, and the tires suddenly felt like I was on black ice -- no traction whatsoever left with the road. I tried to keep it gentle and straight, but no way. Went down hard, shredded my hip, helmet, and new rain jacket on the roadway. Miraculously did not get hit by the cars behind me, and got some help from some National Guard kids who pulled over in their SUV, and later state troopers and EMTs. Mild concussion and a terrific bruise and abrasion, but no loss other than the helmet and sunglasses. Helmet damage was pretty impressive, it really broke up. And I had only remembered to click the chin strap back together five minutes earlier.
    This reminded me of something that happened several weeks ago. I had gone to the local convenience store on my bike. I was trying to beat an approaching rain storm. Before I had even started paying for my purchase, it started to rain. As I was waiting for the rain to stop, a guy in his 60's or 70's came into the store. He had something like a dirt bike and said he loved riding in the rain.

    I don't have to ride over any steel, since there are no steel bridges near my house. But I do have to deal with where the asphalt has melted or buckled from the summer heat. The asphalt filler that was used where the road buckled, caused the buckled spots to be even worse. If I were to ride a bike in the rain over those buckled spots in the road, I would definitely crash.

  12. #12
    Psycholist radshark's Avatar
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    I nearly bought it the other day. I was zoned out crossing the ICW when I suddenly realized I was on a wet grate when I could feel my front moving around on me.
    -R.

  13. #13
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    I once turned on a manhole while it was wet. Learned a valuable lesson that day. Avoid metal like plague.

    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...OyA/weight.png



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  14. #14
    ces
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    The best thing to do when confronted with a bridge with steel grate decking is to cross on the sidewalk or bike path (if available). Both due to traction issues and due to potential gaps between the plates these are extremely dangerous to cyclists.

    They suck on a motorcycle or scooter too, though the tires are usually wide enough not to get caught in any gaps.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmen0101 View Post
    ...Apparently a rain shower passed over the Commercial Blvd bridge before I arrived since the ground was wet but it was not raining anymore. When my tires hit the steel grating the entire bike started to slide sideways with the rear wheel slipping out to the right more and more as I progressed. Scared the heck out of me.
    Googled (with one hand) “bicycling drawbridge safety” and found this site and post. Déjà vu when I read your post because Monday I took a spill (and broke a metacarpal plus cuts and abrasions) on the same bridge you mention (Commercial Blvd drawbridge in Fort Lauderdale). I have been biking in the Fort Lauderdale/South Florida/A1A area for about three months. In my prior biking (Cape Cod) I had not encountered drawbridges. A few weeks into my Fort Lauderdale biking, I rode over the Las Olas Blvd bridge with wet tires and started sliding sideways and it scared the heck out of me. Since then, I have used the SE 17th St bridge (which is paved instead of having a grate) and I told myself I would walk across wet drawbridges (on the sidewalk). Rain was not in the forecast on Monday and for most of my ride there was none. But it started raining towards the end of my ride and I guess I was in a hurry to get home and I (consciously) violated my policy. I am lucky I did not get run over by a car. I’m glad to see it’s not just me who finds wet drawbridges scary. I think at least for a while I will walk my bike across dry as well as wet drawbridges (and wet ones forever).

  16. #16
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Glad yer OK. A member of my sister's riding club went down on a wet grate on a bridge across the Thames at Chatham (not that Thames) in 2011. They called an air ambulance. I'm sure whether she is back on the bike yet.
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