Crossing the Waimakariri bridges on foot

saw this about a man crossing the waimakariri on foot on motorway bridge. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/70021571/man-fell-from-waimakariri-bridge-evading-traffic.html

but before you say the man is in the wrong, I would ask the question if any of you have had to go across the old bridge on foot or even cycling? I have & the traffic was far less [approx. 10yrs ago], but would still rate as one of the most scary things - especially when I had to do it 3x in total.

I would also like to ask that there are footpaths that take you to the Belfast end of the motorway & then I don't think there are any directions for foot traffic to get across the Waimak. My opinion is that it they have needed a walking & cycle lane clip-on attached to the motorway bridge for years & I think the earthquake has made the need greater.

urbanrefugee54, Jul 8, 1:30 pm

Many years ago, before traffic cops became part of the Police, I had a horse I had to offload urgently from the float. To get to Rangiora I was riding down the middle of the motorway when, of course, a cop pulled up. I explained what happened and he told me to go down the off road, not officially opened then and go across the old bridge. When I got there he was waiting and as the horse was nervous on bridges, he drove slowly behind me in the middle of the road/bridge so no traffic could whizz past us. I was ever so grateful and the rest of the ride was plain sailing. That bridge is quite nerve wracking at the best of times even back then.

kacy5, Jul 8, 4:21 pm

We must have missed this by only a few seconds. Went over M/W bridge on way to Hellers and didn't see anybody walking in the area or on the bridge. Then when we were leaving Hellers only 5 or so mins later the cop was heading down to the river by Challenge.

mousiemousie, Jul 8, 4:41 pm

I took my horse over the old waimak bridge when I moved & rode her out to Oxford [1985/6] & I made sure I left real early so there wouldn't be much on the road. needn't have worried - the horse jogged sideways & took up all the bridge until I was across & traffic waited for me. have also been across the top bridge - but that's one way anyway.

urbanrefugee54, Jul 8, 4:53 pm

if anyone wants a cheap thrill. walk across the waimak bridge. while you are being sucked by the fast moving traffic - you also are watching the riverbed metres beneath the gaps beneath your feet as you walk on the wooden bund. very, very scary.

urbanrefugee54, Jul 8, 7:14 pm

The article implies he was on the main motorway bridge - not the old bridge which also allows for cycles. It is unclear.

saskianz, Jul 8, 7:38 pm

no - the motorway bridge does not allow push bikes. thing is if the river is high - the old bridge gets closed & it means push bikes & pedestrians can't cross unless they take a bus.

urbanrefugee54, Jul 8, 7:46 pm


I read that a woman traveling North to Amberely saw him on the west side of the bridge , ( THAT CAN ONLY MEAN ) THE OLD WOODEN BRIDGE , as otherwise he would be out of sight , if he was on the concrete motorway bridge.

aj.2., Jul 8, 7:52 pm



If he was on the womans left he would be on the west side of the bridge. Doesn't mean he was on the old bridge. And if he was on a pier under the south bound lane that would make sense as the river flows that way.

unclewainwright, Jul 8, 9:20 pm


As per her story she saw him jump into river from a pile, .
Now if she is traveling north on motorway , she could not see the piles under the bridge that she is traveling ON, so he must have been on the old wooden bridge to the east of her, therefore she could see him on the West side of that bridge.

aj.2., Jul 8, 9:30 pm

No, she said she saw him against the rails on the western side of the bridge.

dogbond, Jul 8, 9:48 pm

They really need to put in a footpath and cyclepath.

tygertung, Jul 8, 10:09 pm

I didn't think you could cycle on the motorway? There's a cycle lane on Marshlands Rd.

mme, Jul 8, 10:32 pm

There should be a path for cyclists/pedestrians and maybe even horses that connected the city to the Northern communities.

xmakara, Jul 8, 10:34 pm



Read the article again.

unclewainwright, Jul 8, 11:46 pm

It was the northern motorway bridge when we went over it the police ambulance and fire engine was there about 130

slimgym, Jul 9, 12:49 am

I cycle on the old waimak towards Kaiapoi regularly and the amount of times I get tooted from behind amazes me. What do they want me to do Im keeping as far left as I can ? And then those that overtake into the face of oncoming traffic ! For the sake of less than a minute :(

doggybear, Jul 9, 2:42 am

I thought it was illegal to cycle on that bridge. Not to mention dangerous. What would you expect if a large truck was to be going over the bridge. Do you really think it is safe? That's why you are getting tooted at. You better hope that a truck doesn't pass you on that bridge. You are likely to get sucked under it.

blb71, Jul 9, 7:35 am



How would a cyclist get across the river if, as you say, it's illegal. Illegal to walk and cycle on all motorways but that bridge is not a motorway. Motorists are too impatient these days and my sympathy goes to anyone trying to bike or walk across that bridge.

kacy5, Jul 9, 9:52 am


Yep that's the mentality of the people that are impatient and toot. What do they want the cyclist to do, Fly across ?

doggybear, Jul 9, 1:22 pm

yes there is only one very narrow two lane bridge option for people wanting to walk, cycle, or ride across to the other side of the waimak river. many years ago I saw [while I was driving across on the old bridge] a man walking across on the rail bridge with two little kiddies, and had thought at the time - how dangerous. but after having to cross the old bridge on foot several myself several times - now wonder if the rail bridge isn't the safer option?

urbanrefugee54, Jul 9, 3:49 pm

When ever I need to cross the Waimak river using the old bridge, i am a reallh patient people and always slow right down for cyclists and even display my hazard lights to warn other people behind me if I need to but I never toot my horn at the cyclists as i think that is just rude and inconsiderate plus we all need to share the road cause if we are abusive toward cyclists and we get impatient and cause an accident. . we may need the cyclist to assist with any injuries.

jamie2016, Jul 9, 6:24 pm

I think that it would be better for pedestrians/cyclists/horses etc. to cross the river using the bridge as it would be more dangerous to try to ford the river, especially at this time of year.
I would be happy to be delayed a couple of minutes if I was driving a car. Best to factor delays into trips to reduce stress.

tygertung, Jul 9, 7:06 pm

I totally agree with you tygertung

jamie2016, Jul 9, 7:48 pm

I wonder if it's on the plans for either of the councils to do something about in the future - or will it take a death. after all the bloke falling while trying to cross on the motorway bridge could have easily died, only because someone saw him fall - was he saved.

urbanrefugee54, Jul 9, 7:53 pm

The council could place warning lights at either end to warn motorists of any cyclist or pedestrian and make the motorist slow down on the old bridge or install a clipon (sp) onto the old bridge made from durable scaffolding until a safe and more permanent situation is made available.

jamie2016, Jul 9, 11:24 pm

Clipon scaffolding bridge would be best.

tygertung, Jul 10, 5:59 am

they are better to put it on the newer & stronger motorway bridge - the old bridge gets closed due to the low height when the river floods & danger of pile damage. in your opinions which scenario would be best - on the east or west side of the bridges & why? I think that what ever side they use would be caged/fenced to stop people getting onto the motorway & that most likely the easiest option is to come from the off ramp going to Marshland Rd.

urbanrefugee54, Jul 10, 9:46 am


The old Waimak bridge is no more dangerous for cyclists than the Ashley bridge on SH1. Both need replacing but in the meantime maybe a cyclist light on the Waimak bridge like they have put a cycle warning light on the Ashley. Anyone know how these are activated. I have been across several times when the cyclist light is flashing & theres not a bike in sight.

traykuku, Jul 10, 10:45 am



or drivers could just open their eyes and look out for other road users. It takes a few minutes for a cyclist or walker to get across.

indigojo, Jul 10, 10:54 am

Both bridges need to have a pedestrians/cyclists/horses etc. path. It is totally ridiculous to have access only for cars. There is other ways of getting around.

tygertung, Jul 10, 8:56 pm

especially with the amount of building happening in Waimak county & people wanting to commute into the city.

urbanrefugee54, Jan 19, 2:08 am

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