Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => On The Road => Topic started by: Wowbagger on June 08, 2014, 07:20:29 pm

Title: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Wowbagger on June 08, 2014, 07:20:29 pm
I used it one-way today, north to south.

I left Grays station at about 8.30 and turned up at the crossing at about 8.50. Three men were sitting roun a table in the southbound control. I asked them for a lit across. They advised me to use the phone outside, which I had overlooked, but did. I dialled the number and was told that I was too late to cross an would have to wait until 10.30.

I then noticed a notice which I previously hadn't which listed the times when cyclists can't cross. 9.00 am to 10.30 am. I pointed out that it was 8.50 and therefore I wasn't too late.

"I'm on the south side and you're on the north side" came the reply. "By the time I've got to you and brought you over I will be into my break, so you'll have to wait until 10.30."

I wasn't happy with this and told the three men who were siting round the table that I wasn't. One of them picked up the phone. "He'll be here in a minute" came the reply, and sure enough a large pickup trick with bike rack soon appeared. I was taken across and took my bike off at 9.05.

This whole episode strikes me as being firstly pathetic and secondly insidious. Imagine the outcry if the bridge were to be closed to motorised traffic for a total of 5 hours a day just so that a small group of workers could have a break.

There is no mention of these restrictions that I have been able to find on the crossing's website (http://www.highways.gov.uk/our-road-network/managing-our-roads/improving-our-network/the-dartford-thurrock-river-crossing/). It seems to me to be an arbitrary decision taken by someone who may well not have the authority to take that decision. When the crossing was introduced in the 1960s safeguards were put in place to ensure that cyclists could cross.

Quote
Cyclists

Cyclists are prohib­ited from rid­ing across the bridge or through the tun­nels. How­ever the Cross­ing staff will arrange for you to be trans­ported from one side to the other free of charge.

North­bound cyclists should head to the Kent Con­trol Point. South­bound cyclists should dis­mount at the Essex con­trol point — a free call tele­phone is pro­vided should this point be unat­tended. The trans­fer should take 15 to 30 minutes.

If you are rid­ing a tan­dem or trav­el­ling as a group it is advis­able to make prior arrange­ments by con­tact­ing the Crossing.

https://twitter.com/WowbaggerHT/status/475568761777709056

The notice reads:
Quote
For the benefit of cyclists and the efficiency of the service a timetable has been introduced for teh Dartford Thurrock River Crossing.

All users of this service are still invited to comment and make suggestions.

There will be no service from

9am to 10.30 am
2pm to 3pm
9pm to 10.30pm
2am to 3 am
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: contango on June 08, 2014, 08:31:38 pm
The notice reads:
Quote
For the benefit of cyclists and the efficiency of the service a timetable has been introduced for teh Dartford Thurrock River Crossing.

All users of this service are still invited to comment and make suggestions.

There will be no service from

9am to 10.30 am
2pm to 3pm
9pm to 10.30pm
2am to 3 am

So the service is being improved by creating windows when you can't use it. Bit of a blow for the cyclist who gets a little delayed and ends up with no way across the river for nearly 90 minutes.

Seems par for the course these days, like when the Royal Mail improved the postal deliveries by making them less predictable and improved Special Delivery by guaranteeing it before 1pm rather than before 11am.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: clarion on June 08, 2014, 08:42:26 pm
That's totally crap.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: ianrauk on June 08, 2014, 10:22:06 pm
I first saw this notice a couple of months ago. It's pretty much crap isn't it.

Speaking to someone in the know... the powers that be want to axe the free service. The only way they can axe it is if the amount of cyclists using the service fall below a certain level. This 'break' system is one of the snidey ways they are using to try to dissuade cyclists from using the service.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: loadsabikes on June 08, 2014, 10:22:49 pm
Bloody French, they probably want a two hour lunch as well!
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Gattopardo on June 09, 2014, 01:13:49 am
They scrapped it for the blackwall tunnel.

Maybe time to write to your MP....
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: asterix on June 09, 2014, 07:25:18 am
Bloody French, they probably want a two hour lunch as well!

Was on a bike to cross the Gironde at Royan.  When I turned up with my loaded tourer it appeared that there was some ticket I should have bought.  Instead of sending me away the inspector just waved me across with curt 'Allons y'.  No doubt he wanted to get away for his lunch break or summat!

As for the Dartford crossing, didn't the planners model it on the gateway to hell?  Whichever direction you travel?
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Redlight on June 09, 2014, 11:24:42 am
I've used this service a few times, usually late at night returning from my parents in Essex and not wanting to ride all the way to Woolwich.  I still can't understand why a protected cycle / pedestrian path wasn't included when they built the bridge. After all, it's no higher than, say, the Pont de Normandie, over which you can cycle and walk for free, and there is a precedent with the original Severn Bridge and Humber Bridge.  It would have been pretty simple to make it suicide proof, I imagine. 

If what Ianrauk has been told is true, that's pretty sneaky.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Kim on June 09, 2014, 11:36:57 am
I've used this service a few times, usually late at night returning from my parents in Essex and not wanting to ride all the way to Woolwich.  I still can't understand why a protected cycle / pedestrian path wasn't included when they built the bridge.

Cheaper to drive them across, I think.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Exit Stage Left on June 09, 2014, 11:46:40 am
When the tunnel first opened there was provision for 230 cyclist per hour using specially designed buses. http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/ill-fated-cycle-bus/

That didn't last long, as very few people used the service.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: contango on June 09, 2014, 11:48:27 am
I've used this service a few times, usually late at night returning from my parents in Essex and not wanting to ride all the way to Woolwich.  I still can't understand why a protected cycle / pedestrian path wasn't included when they built the bridge. After all, it's no higher than, say, the Pont de Normandie, over which you can cycle and walk for free, and there is a precedent with the original Severn Bridge and Humber Bridge.  It would have been pretty simple to make it suicide proof, I imagine. 

If what Ianrauk has been told is true, that's pretty sneaky.

Given the costs involved in building a bridge over the Thames probably involve some Quite Big Numbers it can't be beyond the wit of the designers to put pedestrians and cyclists in between the two motor vehicle carriageways, if suicide is such a major concern. Against the total cost of the bridge, an extra six feet or so down the middle, with an appropriate tunnel and steps/ramps to get at it from either end, would seem relatively trivial by comparison.

It's been a while since I cycled over the Severn Bridge and I don't remember anything there that would make it particularly hard for anyone intent on jumping.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: tonyh on June 09, 2014, 11:52:09 am
On the Severn Bridge, there's a bit of a feeling that getting blown off might save the trouble of jumping!
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Oscar's dad on June 09, 2014, 12:00:50 pm
You can just ride across the Humber Bridge with no problem at all.  It's free too.  Just goes to show what is possible.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: mcshroom on June 09, 2014, 12:09:58 pm
Forth Bridge is easy to ride over as well (the routing at the North end can be a bit confusing though)
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: clarion on June 09, 2014, 12:11:38 pm
You can just ride across the Humber Bridge with no problem at all.  It's free too.  Just goes to show what is possible.

That's just compassion for those wanting to escape Lincolnshire.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: bobb on June 09, 2014, 12:12:56 pm
I've never crossed by bicycle before, but feel it is my duty to do so now!

I suppose the lack of ped/cycle lane is indicative of the era in which the bridge was built and the way it was funded. I dare say we could blame Thatcher  :P
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Oscar's dad on June 09, 2014, 12:15:35 pm
You can just ride across the Humber Bridge with no problem at all.  It's free too.  Just goes to show what is possible.

That's just compassion for those wanting to escape Lincolnshire.

 ;D

I am ashamed to say I find it hard to be nice about Lincolnshire.  I'm not overly struck by Kent either.  Both viewpoints are entirely irrational and based on precisely fuck all!
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on June 09, 2014, 01:32:11 pm
You can just ride across the Humber Bridge with no problem at all.  It's free too.  Just goes to show what is possible.

That's just compassion for those wanting to escape Lincolnshire.
Dunno, I visited Lincoln in 1999 and thought it was rather a pleasant town. But the last time I went to Hull they hadn't even built the bridge! And I was so small I found it hard to believe the Humber was not the sea, especially as they were building a ship there ("You can look at the orange sparks but not the blue ones, they're bad for your eyes")
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: clarion on June 09, 2014, 01:45:51 pm
I've never crossed by bicycle before, but feel it is my duty to do so now!

I suppose the lack of ped/cycle lane is indicative of the era in which the bridge was built and the way it was funded. I dare say we could blame Thatcher  :P

Sound attitude, bobb!  The determination to cross to spite the nobbers, I mean, though blaming stuff on Thatcher's good, too. ;)
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Regulator on June 09, 2014, 02:37:49 pm
You can just ride across the Humber Bridge with no problem at all.  It's free too.  Just goes to show what is possible.

That's just compassion for those wanting to escape Lincolnshire.

 ;D

I am ashamed to say I find it hard to be nice about Lincolnshire.  I'm not overly struck by Kent either.  Both viewpoints are entirely irrational and based on precisely fuck all!

I may be moving to Lincolnshore for work...
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: David Martin on June 09, 2014, 02:39:43 pm
Why else would you move there except at HMP
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Oscar's dad on June 09, 2014, 02:42:08 pm
You can just ride across the Humber Bridge with no problem at all.  It's free too.  Just goes to show what is possible.

That's just compassion for those wanting to escape Lincolnshire.

 ;D

I am ashamed to say I find it hard to be nice about Lincolnshire.  I'm not overly struck by Kent either.  Both viewpoints are entirely irrational and based on precisely fuck all!

I may be moving to Lincolnshire for work...

A development which can only improve Lincolnshire's prospects!  I hope you like the smell of onions which is one of my abiding memories of the place!
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Andrew on June 09, 2014, 03:24:37 pm
I crossed via the Woolwich ferry a few weeks back. It was so cool. Couldn't believe it was still free!
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: asterix on June 09, 2014, 05:56:05 pm
You can just ride across the Humber Bridge with no problem at all.  It's free too.  Just goes to show what is possible.

That's just compassion for those wanting to escape Lincolnshire.

 ;D

I am ashamed to say I find it hard to be nice about Lincolnshire.  I'm not overly struck by Kent either.  Both viewpoints are entirely irrational and based on precisely fuck all!

I may be moving to Lincolnshore for work...

Lincolnshire is quite not too bad, really.

Apparently Hull is one of the happiest places in Britain.  Because it is not in Lincolnshire?
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on June 09, 2014, 06:25:12 pm
Nah, it's because they're all larkin' about.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Wowbagger on June 09, 2014, 11:07:30 pm
I'd like to defend Lincolnshire.

It has a very good brewery (Batemans, in Wainfleet).

It has lots of hills (if you don't believe me, try riding from Brigg to Horncastle along the B whatever it is).

It is largely deserted.

When my brother lived there in the 1970s he presided over a very fine population of natterjack toads in the sand dunes at Saltfleetby St. Clement.

Lincoln itself is a fine town with a splendid cathedral, some very good pubs and a blue plaque commemorating William Byrd.

On the down side, Grantham is in Lincolnshire and we know what's wrong with that.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Tim Hall on June 09, 2014, 11:12:59 pm

On the down side, Grantham is in Lincolnshire and we know what's wrong with that.

<guess type =wild>Isaac Newton went to school there?</guess type>
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Wowbagger on June 09, 2014, 11:22:21 pm

On the down side, Grantham is in Lincolnshire and we know what's wrong with that.

<guess type =wild>Isaac Newton went to school there?</guess type>

No. A someone who caused much greater gravity.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: pdm on June 09, 2014, 11:22:44 pm
You forget to mention the other good thing about Lincolnshire; it is just next door to God's Own Country - Yorkshire! ;)
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Gattopardo on June 10, 2014, 01:58:56 am
I use it occasionally to get to lakeside to go to Tacobell.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: HTFB on June 10, 2014, 09:49:57 am
I'm not overly struck by Kent either.
Kent is the Garden of England, and every garden has, somewhere, its stinking fly-ridden compost heaps. Like Sittingbourne.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: nicknack on June 10, 2014, 11:04:21 am
Ahem.

Speaking as a native of these parts (born in Sittingbourne), I think you'll find that there are worse shit-holes than Sittingbourne not too far from here . If I mentioned Gillingham I suspect I might annoy some folk, so I won't.

You may also note I'm not actually denying the "fly-ridden compost heap" claim, although, from where I'm sitting (Minster) it doesn't look too bad.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Redlight on June 10, 2014, 12:21:38 pm
Ebbsfleet is pretty rough… and it isn't even built yet  ;)
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Pancho on June 10, 2014, 12:47:57 pm
I first saw this notice a couple of months ago. It's pretty much crap isn't it.

Speaking to someone in the know... the powers that be want to axe the free service. The only way they can axe it is if the amount of cyclists using the service fall below a certain level. This 'break' system is one of the snidey ways they are using to try to dissuade cyclists from using the service.

They can't bin the service (or at least not without Parliamentary legislation) - it's statute:

Quote
27 Services for transporting cycles and cyclists through crossing.

(1)The Secretary of State shall either provide, maintain and operate vehicles for the purpose of carrying pedal cycles and cyclists through the crossing or make such arrangements as he considers appropriate with any other person for securing the provision, maintenance and operation of vehicles for that purpose.

(2)No charge shall be made in respect of the carriage of any cycle or cyclist on any vehicle provided by, or in pursuance of arrangements made by, the Secretary of State under subsection (1) above.

Of course, you can debate forever about the point at which a service is so limited that it becomes a failure to provide.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Kim on June 10, 2014, 01:23:09 pm
So it'll turn into the equivalent of a parliamentary train, with a single service every other Tuesday...
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on June 10, 2014, 01:32:33 pm
The advantage of a cycle path as part of the bridge, in addition to it not being turned parliamentary, is that it allows access for maintenance work. This might help justify the cost of construction (which, as said, is probably rather small as a proportion of the whole).
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Vince on June 10, 2014, 01:41:44 pm
Yep, That's why the Severn Bridge has two of them, and boy did they need them in the first 30 years of its life!
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Regulator on June 10, 2014, 04:57:41 pm
Ahem.

Speaking as a native of these parts (born in Sittingbourne), I think you'll find that there are worse shit-holes than Sittingbourne not too far from here . If I mentioned Gillingham I suspect I might annoy some folk, so I won't.

You may also note I'm not actually denying the "fly-ridden compost heap" claim, although, from where I'm sitting (Minster) it doesn't look too bad.

Isle of Sheppey.... 'nuff said.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: nicknack on June 10, 2014, 05:31:33 pm
Ahem.

Speaking as a native of these parts (born in Sittingbourne), I think you'll find that there are worse shit-holes than Sittingbourne not too far from here . If I mentioned Gillingham I suspect I might annoy some folk, so I won't.

You may also note I'm not actually denying the "fly-ridden compost heap" claim, although, from where I'm sitting (Minster) it doesn't look too bad.

Isle of Sheppey.... 'nuff said.

The nice bit.

Honest.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Regulator on June 11, 2014, 07:01:40 am
Ahem.

Speaking as a native of these parts (born in Sittingbourne), I think you'll find that there are worse shit-holes than Sittingbourne not too far from here . If I mentioned Gillingham I suspect I might annoy some folk, so I won't.

You may also note I'm not actually denying the "fly-ridden compost heap" claim, although, from where I'm sitting (Minster) it doesn't look too bad.

Isle of Sheppey.... 'nuff said.

The nice bit.

Honest.

What?  The road off the island?
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: asterix on June 11, 2014, 07:03:40 am
I'd guess the tumbleweed is still blowing along the street of Queenborough.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Oscar's dad on June 11, 2014, 07:42:44 am
Lincolnshire is quite not too bad, really.

Apparently Hull is one of the happiest places in Britain.  Because it is not in Lincolnshire?

I'm sure Lincolnshire isn't really that bad.  I'm due to ride up and down it again in September when I do Tomsk's Flatlands 600.

Hull is a brilliant place.  We went there a few weeks back.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Butterfly on June 11, 2014, 09:49:48 pm
Ahem.

Speaking as a native of these parts (born in Sittingbourne), I think you'll find that there are worse shit-holes than Sittingbourne not too far from here . If I mentioned Gillingham I suspect I might annoy some folk, so I won't.

You may also note I'm not actually denying the "fly-ridden compost heap" claim, although, from where I'm sitting (Minster) it doesn't look too bad.

Isle of Sheppey.... 'nuff said.

The nice bit.

Honest.

What?  The road off the island?

No, that's ghastly!

Bits of minster are quite nice.  :)
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: nicknack on June 11, 2014, 10:16:29 pm
Ahem.

Speaking as a native of these parts (born in Sittingbourne), I think you'll find that there are worse shit-holes than Sittingbourne not too far from here . If I mentioned Gillingham I suspect I might annoy some folk, so I won't.

You may also note I'm not actually denying the "fly-ridden compost heap" claim, although, from where I'm sitting (Minster) it doesn't look too bad.

Isle of Sheppey.... 'nuff said.

The nice bit.

Honest.

What?  The road off the island?

No, that's ghastly!

Bits of minster are quite nice.  :)

Quite. Thank you.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Oscar's dad on June 12, 2014, 06:37:06 am
I use it occasionally to get to lakeside to go to Tacobell.

What? Lincolnshire!
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: David Martin on June 12, 2014, 10:14:28 am
Ahem.

Speaking as a native of these parts (born in Sittingbourne), I think you'll find that there are worse shit-holes than Sittingbourne not too far from here . If I mentioned Gillingham I suspect I might annoy some folk, so I won't.

You may also note I'm not actually denying the "fly-ridden compost heap" claim, although, from where I'm sitting (Minster) it doesn't look too bad.

Isle of Sheppey.... 'nuff said.

Is that an argument for climate change?
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: nicknack on June 12, 2014, 10:48:34 am
Ahem.

Speaking as a native of these parts (born in Sittingbourne), I think you'll find that there are worse shit-holes than Sittingbourne not too far from here . If I mentioned Gillingham I suspect I might annoy some folk, so I won't.

You may also note I'm not actually denying the "fly-ridden compost heap" claim, although, from where I'm sitting (Minster) it doesn't look too bad.

Isle of Sheppey.... 'nuff said.

Is that an argument for climate change?

Hmm...

A sea level rise would remove Sheerness, Queenborough and Leysdown but leave most of Minster and Eastchurch.  So not all bad.  :demon: There'd be a bit of an issue with the bridge.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Butterfly on June 12, 2014, 10:57:29 am
You could re-instate the ferry to Harty Ferry! Or possibly Oare, as the nearest bit not underwater!
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Crock of Gold on June 14, 2014, 12:51:06 pm
When I lived in Dundee I did a lot of cycling in Fife. The Tay Road Bridge was easy-peasy.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: citoyen on June 16, 2014, 02:57:28 pm
The notice reads:
Quote
For the benefit of cyclists and the efficiency of the service a timetable has been introduced for teh Dartford Thurrock River Crossing.


So the service is being improved by creating windows when you can't use it.

You've misunderstood. In business-speak, making a service more "efficient" doesn't mean improving it, it means making it cheaper, which in practical terms usually means cutting staff.

I have some sympathy for the remaining employee left to face the wrath of angry cyclists. They're entitled to take a break occasionally. No one is a winner here.

I'm saying nothing about Sittingbourne. The less said, the better. But at least it isn't Gravesend.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: Steph on June 22, 2014, 12:43:17 pm
I lived in Kent for 14 years. In Aylesham. The bright spot was the regular appearance of confused travellers on the station platform wondering why they weren't in Norfolk.

Seriously.

Oh, and the riding around East Kent is a delight.
Title: Re: New restriction on cyclists using the Dartford Crossing
Post by: telstarbox on October 25, 2018, 09:42:34 pm
If it helps anyone I've just used the bike taxi from Essex to Kent.
I approached the Essex control via West Thurrock village rather than the M25 cycle path - you go up the private looking gated road just west of the Ibis hotel.
It was 2050 when I picked up the phone so I wasn't sure if they'd come out but the nice lady said yes and I was picked up about 15 mins later by a cheerful driver. It looks like the vehicle is based on the Kent side so if you arrived there you might get picked up straight away at quiet times.