Handbridge Crossing Issues

Cyclist on Handbridge
Cyclist on Handbridge

Members of the Campaign have highlighted dangers for cyclists pedalling across the old bridge to and from Handbridge. Because of the way the sensors are fitted and the length of the span that has to be crossed there have occasionally been conflicts between cyclists crossing the bridge meeting cars which have set off on green traffic lights from the other direction.

Often this results in angry exchanges of words, horn sounding and occasionally intimidation, despite the fact that the cyclists had started their crossing on green. By the time the bridge was crossed the other set of lights had changed.

Communications with various parts of CWaC Highways dept have brought to light that the nub of the problem is to do with Heritage England not allowing additional sensors to be fitted onto the historic structure. These would detect the passage of cyclists as they cross the bridge and could control/delay the traffic signals.

The Campaign, whilst accepting this may be the current position with Heritage England being inflexible, it is still pressing for improvements to the safety of the route by various means – one wonders what will be the official reaction when a serious injury to a cyclist occurs…!


  1. This issue is replicated at any roadworks lights. Insufficent time to get through on a bike. be careful what you wish for though if you bring it to the councils attention…the cheapest way for the council to deal with this is the ‘cyclist dismount sign’. This is just advisory but means they have no blame if you choose to stay on your bike.

  2. I’ve regularly seen cyclists using the footpath over the bridge to avoid this (or simply to avoid waiting at the lights). Given the width of the footpath in this location, has there been any discussion of designating part of it a cycle path to overcome the problem? Or would additional markings encounter similar issues with Historic England?

    • A couple of months back I was riding over the bridge and had the same experience as you Paul with some nutter overtaking at excessive speed and mounting the pavement scaring the life out of pedestrians – couldn’t believe my eyes when two other cars driven by more elderly folk followed suit ! I wasn’t dawdling btw.
      Despite this crazy behaviour by a few lunatic car drivers, I always use the road and wish every other cyclist would too and not use the pavement.

  3. Quite. It simply needs the lag or timing to be adjusted to cover the bridge’s use by cyclists.
    The traffic engineers should realise that cars are not the only vehicles using the bridge.
    It is probably the main access for cyclists from south of the city, as few are brave enough to negotiate the Grosvenor Bridge at peak times.

  4. Interesting – I also get caught on occasions, and I am by far from the slowest cyclist going over that bridge! The frustration with Historic England is understandable, but I don’t see why CWaC can’t reset their minimum time between light changes to accomodate cyclists properly.

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