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Old 08-01-02, 10:30 AM   #1
pinerider
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steel grate bridge decks

On my daily commute, I cross a lift bridge over a ship canal. This bridge has an open grated steel deck for a riding/driving surface. At the Burlington end of the bridge a sign says "All cyclists must dismount and use sidewalk" The Hamilton end says nothing. I've never had trouble riding on this bridge, but I do use the sidewalk in the rain.
Anyone ever had trouble riding on these steel bridge decks?? Do any other bridges have similar signs to deter cyclists??
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Old 08-01-02, 11:40 AM   #2
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i just ride over them. it feels a little weird, but it's no bother really
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Old 08-01-02, 12:48 PM   #3
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I dislike even driving over them. The Sunshine Skyway over the mouth of Tampa Bay used to have a large steel grate section. It was squirrelly even on a car. They are no fun on a motorcylce either.
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Old 08-01-02, 05:18 PM   #4
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Some grated bridges are designed badly. I've known riders who have fallen on them bare-handed and got their hand sliced open, requiring trips to the emergency room. The signs that are posted on the bridge in question might be there to discourage liability cases from cyclists.

Other grated bridges are designed better. In some grated bridges, there is concrete between the grates, making for a more graceful fall from your bike.

I'm assuming that this is a bridge that is raised to let boats through. Unfortunately, it's hard to easily improve a grated bridge that's badly designed, due to all of the physics and engineering involved.
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Old 08-01-02, 08:38 PM   #5
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Yes, bridge decks and bridge expansion joints must be assessed on a case-by-case (and bike-by-bike) basis. How about joining a local cycling activist group and lobbying for safety enhancements to the bridge deck in question? Another option is to use a mountain bike or a hybrid on this particular bridge, although doing so does not render you invincible.
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Old 08-02-02, 05:53 AM   #6
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For a long time I wouldn't even tackle vehicle bridges and walked them. Then I would ride only the paved portions and walk the steel grate portions. Now I do the whole thing but even still my heart skips a beat when I'm about to ride the grates, especially on the road bike. In wet conditions, I don't even attempt them. Just imagining a fall on one of those is something I don't want to think about, especially if it's loaded with traffic.

If that sign is there it's probably because there have been incidents there already. I haven't seen a sign on any of the bridges I travel regularly.
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Old 08-02-02, 06:22 AM   #7
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I've had a few bad slides on them (bike and motorbike) so don't like them much.
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Old 08-02-02, 07:00 AM   #8
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I like riding those steel brige, I like the sound that my tire make when I ride those steel grated bridge, we have that kind of bridge here in.T.O. over at cherry Street
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Old 08-02-02, 10:41 AM   #9
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While touring I've had to ride a few. Not only does it seem to be a squirrely riding surface, but it can be windy and I get tempted to look down at the river sometimes hundreds of feet below which is a bit freaky. Also there are no shoulders on these (or most for that matter) bridges and you can get a line of cars behind you. I won't try to squeeze over to a straight line on the right of the road though. I feel better if I do a slight zigzag to cross the grid pattern at an angle rather than stay parallel to the metal. The bridge over the Columbia from the north into Hood River, OR is a particular hazard due to high winds. When I reached the other side I steered clear of the toll booths and was happy to be alive. I found out later that you aren't supposed to ride bikes on the bridge (there was no walkway), but there was no sign posted.
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Old 08-02-02, 02:58 PM   #10
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Yes, your not suppose to ride over the bridge, I got caught by the bridgeman, I was told to get off the bike, , no harm done, just have to walk
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