May 6, 2021 12.06 pm This story is over 14 months old

Humber Bridge paths back open with mental health measures

Restricted opening hours and new CCTV installed

New CCTV and a well-being hub for people seeking help are among the improvements at the Humber Bridge as the footpaths and cycleways reopened on Thursday.

They had been closed for more than a month in an emergency move after six people, including a teenage girl from Willerby near Hull, lost their lives at the bridge between March 3 and April 3 this year.

New CCTV has been installed and the paths on either side of the bridge will be open between 5am and 9pm every day. Pedestrians and cyclists who intend to cross must also register with the bridge board beforehand, according to Labour MP Emma Hardy.

Specially trained mental health volunteers will patrol the area and the new well-being hub in the country park will provide a place for people to seek help.

Staff from Lincolnshire charity Bearded Fishermen will walk over the bridge to support people during the evenings between 7.30 to 9.30pm.

Hull and East Yorkshire MIND will be working in the hub and also going around the park talking to people.

It is estimated that over 200 people were reported to have jumped or fallen from the bridge, with only five survivors, in the first 26 years since its opening.

The father of a young man who lost his life previously said more needed to be done to prevent suicides in the area, but closing the footpath was not the answer.

Almost 10,000 people signed a petition to improve safety measures at the bridge. Those who backed the campaign called for more physical safety measures such as barriers.

Cycle UK Has also been campaigning for action over the closure of the bridge to pedestrians and cyclists since it was closed in April.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK head of campaigns, said: “For over a month the Humber Bridge has been closed to all pedestrians and anyone cycling save for those commuter cyclists who managed to get through a cumbersome registration process, so a partial reopening tomorrow is welcome progress.

“But the tragic loss of life along the bridge has been a chronic problem for over a decade, requiring investment in long term infrastructure and intervention measures, whilst banning people on foot or a bike from crossing the bridge was only ever a kneejerk reaction which didn’t address the causes or long-term solutions.

“Cycling UK hopes that the Humber Bridge Board will at last recognise the importance of maintaining cycle and pedestrian access while improving suicide prevention measures, and if they must have a registration system for people to cross, make it simple, easily accessible, with registration and other restrictions being time-limited rather than permanent.”

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