Near misses on Humber Bridge down to drivers reversing away from tollbooth, figures reveal

There have been three accidents and 10 near misses at the Humber Bridge since April, according to official figures for incidents which included reversing drivers.

The Humber Bridge Board heard the three accidents recorded since April brought the total in the last ten months to 16, below the targeted maximum of 20.

The board, which oversees the running of the bridge, heard six of the 10 near misses related to poor driver behaviour.

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Bridge Chief Operating Officer Andrew Arundel told the board accidents and near misses had now returned to pre-coronavirus levels.

Humber Bridge
Humber Bridge

He added incidents which saw drivers reverse in the bridge’s southbound lanes and attempt u-turns were believed to be caused by those from outside and unfamiliar with its roads.

A report submitted to the board stated that of the six driver-related near misses, five were due to motorists reversing on the southbound lane to and from the toll booth.

One incident saw a driver reverse back down the southbound lane towards the A164/A15 roundabout.

Of the four non-driver related near misses, two involved cyclists attempting to cross the bridge’s road.

One was related to a staff member not following site rules and another to ‘minor defects’ to bridge property.

Mr Arundel said the six driver-related incidents which all took place in April came as coronavirus restrictions eased and more motorists took to roads.

The chief operating officer said: “The figures go back to where we were pre-coronavirus. The figures coincided with the relaxation of lockdown and the weekend so they were probably due to drivers not being used to the site.”

Separately, the board also heard 27 bridge staff had been tested for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with eight returning positive results. No staff members were off due to coronavirus since April.

Bridge Board Chair and Hull councillor Sean Chaytor said staff there “deserve a medal” for their work during the pandemic and after a spate of falls from the structure.

Some were fatal and believed to be suicides, with more than 200 people having died at the bridge since it opened in 1981.This year saw six people die at the bridge in March alone, leading to the closure of the bridge’s pedestrian footpath.

The board is still looking at plans to raise the height of barriers on the footpath, with structural stress testing delayed due to coronavirus set to resume.

Coun Chaytor said: “I’m proud of the way staff have worked and with that of partner organisations including Mind, the Samaritans and the Bearded Fishermen. Some of our staff deserve a medal for the work they’ve done in the past couple of years, despite all the issues from emotionally distressed individuals going there.”