Safety rail for high-rise cycle track?

Cyclists on the Rochdale Canal aquaduct over the River Calder at Hebden Bridge.
Cyclists on the Rochdale Canal aquaduct over the River Calder at Hebden Bridge.
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Experts have recommended a railing be attached to a 200-year-old wall to protect cyclists from falling 20ft into the River Calder.

But critics say it is another example of health and safety madness.

They want signs put up warning of the danger and advising people to push their bikes along the 50-yard stretch of the Rochdale Canal towpath at Blackpit Lock, Hebden Bridge.

Town councillors have objected to the railing on the aqueduct, there have been at least 10 formal letters of objection and a petition.

But Calderdale Council planners say it should be installed as part of a scheme to improve the badly worn path, which is part of the National Cycleway Network.

“The railing will affect the appearance of the aqueduct, forming a slight visual interuption to the clean line of the top of the stone parapet,” according to head of planning Geoff Willerton. “Failing to fit a railing because of the heritage status of the parapet would not be valid under health and safety law and could not be defended in court,” he told today’s planning committee meeting.

l Have you or, any one you know, fallen head first off the bridge at any time since 1798? E-mail us: yoursay@halifax courier.co.uk

l Comment: See page 12.