Barriers on rivers not the answer

York Press: Barriers on rivers not the answer Barriers on rivers not the answer

FIRSTLY let me say that having gone through the anxieties of bringing up children to adulthood, I feel deeply for the family of Megan Roberts, who tragically died as a result of falling into the River Ouse after a night out in town.

However, your article of March 13 on the campaign by Megan’s friends to make the river safer left me shaking my head.

They suggest it is the council’s duty to prevent these things from happening and therefore, by not having barriers on the riverbanks, the council is somehow responsible for these tragedies.

Whatever we may think of our elected members, this is ridiculous. Falling into the river is not the same as hitting a pothole in the road, or tripping over a wobbly paving flag.

Lendal Bridge is just one place where someone has gone into the river, so to cover all eventualities it would be necessary to fence off all the riverbanks in the city, a move both impractical and undesirable.

The Ouse is the city’s greatest natural asset and a major tourist attraction. Would any of us wish to have our access to it denied? This modern practice of shifting responsibility for our actions on to someone else has led to the nanny society.

Richard Carr, Station Road, Upper Poppleton, York

Comments (13)

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3:02pm Tue 18 Mar 14

PKH says...

The other equally ludicrous idea to barriers along the length of the rivers in York would be to stop the sale of any alcohol in a 5 mile radius of the rivers, this would be even more effective than barriers, which some drunks would attempt to climb.
The other equally ludicrous idea to barriers along the length of the rivers in York would be to stop the sale of any alcohol in a 5 mile radius of the rivers, this would be even more effective than barriers, which some drunks would attempt to climb. PKH
  • Score: 8

3:04pm Tue 18 Mar 14

PKH says...

My above comment does not mean I have no sympathy for those who have lost their lives in the rivers.
My above comment does not mean I have no sympathy for those who have lost their lives in the rivers. PKH
  • Score: 11

3:49pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Lunatic says...

My sympathies to the family for their loss. But the simple fact of the matter is that if people cannot drink responsibly then accidents will happen.

It is not the Council's fault, nor is it their responsibility to idiot-proof the entire city to prevent people from coming to harm when they don't behave in a responsible manner.
My sympathies to the family for their loss. But the simple fact of the matter is that if people cannot drink responsibly then accidents will happen. It is not the Council's fault, nor is it their responsibility to idiot-proof the entire city to prevent people from coming to harm when they don't behave in a responsible manner. Lunatic
  • Score: 24

4:17pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Kiwi2 says...

I too have every sympathy for Megan's family and friends: what they are experiencing is terrible and very painful. I think a useful addition to the discussion would be to encourage people to look out for each other when in town at night and make sure you all get home safely. Perhaps running an induction at our universities when students first come to the city highlighting the dangers of the city and the rivers, and talking about personal safety (as well as safety at night) could be a good step and might be a lasting legacy for Megan?
I too have every sympathy for Megan's family and friends: what they are experiencing is terrible and very painful. I think a useful addition to the discussion would be to encourage people to look out for each other when in town at night and make sure you all get home safely. Perhaps running an induction at our universities when students first come to the city highlighting the dangers of the city and the rivers, and talking about personal safety (as well as safety at night) could be a good step and might be a lasting legacy for Megan? Kiwi2
  • Score: 20

8:39pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Seadog says...

As both a river-user and an old Johnsman (admittedly a long time ago) I totally endorse Kiwi2's calm, humane and obviously sensible suggestion. I'm not entirely sure why students today should need any more advice than we did ... perhaps it's just because pubs used to close at 10.30 Sunday to Wednesday in my day, and only stayed open until 11.00 Thursday to Saturday ...I don't know.

Best wishes to the proposed River Safety Patrol too. It shouldn't be necessary, of course, but clearly it is! Sadly.
As both a river-user and an old Johnsman (admittedly a long time ago) I totally endorse Kiwi2's calm, humane and obviously sensible suggestion. I'm not entirely sure why students today should need any more advice than we did ... perhaps it's just because pubs used to close at 10.30 Sunday to Wednesday in my day, and only stayed open until 11.00 Thursday to Saturday ...I don't know. Best wishes to the proposed River Safety Patrol too. It shouldn't be necessary, of course, but clearly it is! Sadly. Seadog
  • Score: 11

8:47pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Fitzy1902 says...

I would feel that it is indeed unrealistic to provide fencing/barriers that surround the full length of the river. However, there are areas that need to be risk assessed. There are clearly danger hot spots which need to addressed and made safer. Securing the 2 rivers is not the only issue either, presently there are flaws in rescue. There are little life rings, buoys and ropes, there are also no grab chains on the bank edges etc.
The local bars/pubs and clubs clearly need to be taking more responsibility and promote safer drinking and remind revellers of their surroundings.
Currently the work of the street Angels is being provided by volunteers who selflessly walk the streets looking out for revellers who could find themselves in trouble. The work of Dave Benson from the charity 'York rescue Boat' is in full throttle as he now needs funds to purchase this fantastic life saving idea.
The bottom line is, yes you're right, it's not only the responsibility of the council, it's everyone's responsibility. Backing from the public is a must, this does not mean local government should be made void of this huge safety campaign that is presently in action, there is still an awful lot they need to address and make safe.
River Awareness UK
I would feel that it is indeed unrealistic to provide fencing/barriers that surround the full length of the river. However, there are areas that need to be risk assessed. There are clearly danger hot spots which need to addressed and made safer. Securing the 2 rivers is not the only issue either, presently there are flaws in rescue. There are little life rings, buoys and ropes, there are also no grab chains on the bank edges etc. The local bars/pubs and clubs clearly need to be taking more responsibility and promote safer drinking and remind revellers of their surroundings. Currently the work of the street Angels is being provided by volunteers who selflessly walk the streets looking out for revellers who could find themselves in trouble. The work of Dave Benson from the charity 'York rescue Boat' is in full throttle as he now needs funds to purchase this fantastic life saving idea. The bottom line is, yes you're right, it's not only the responsibility of the council, it's everyone's responsibility. Backing from the public is a must, this does not mean local government should be made void of this huge safety campaign that is presently in action, there is still an awful lot they need to address and make safe. River Awareness UK Fitzy1902
  • Score: 1

9:01pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Pinza-C55 says...

I find the sentence "The Ouse is the city’s greatest natural asset and a major tourist attraction. Would any of us wish to have our access to it denied?"
What exactly does "access to a river" involve?
A barrier along the edge of the river from (say) Skeldergate to the Scarborough railway bridge would be unsightly but if it only saved one drunk from falling in, wouldn't that be worth it?
I find the sentence "The Ouse is the city’s greatest natural asset and a major tourist attraction. Would any of us wish to have our access to it denied?" What exactly does "access to a river" involve? A barrier along the edge of the river from (say) Skeldergate to the Scarborough railway bridge would be unsightly but if it only saved one drunk from falling in, wouldn't that be worth it? Pinza-C55
  • Score: -23

7:15am Wed 19 Mar 14

roy_batty says...

I have four student's living next door to me, they get steaming drunk and very rowdy at home on a tuesday and thursday night, they all then pile into a taxi at around 22.30 hrs and into town for the student promotion's.

So some people want a barrier and other safety measure's on the river,how about ban student promotion's in pub's ?

How about introduce random drink and drug screening in college's and universities? I know this one sound's a bit extreme , but this applies to a lot of workplaces and it doesn't mean you can't have a drink, just means you have to watch what you drink during the work/term time.

Let's face it, it's not the river thats the problem, it's the modern day drink culture that the youth have adopted.
I have four student's living next door to me, they get steaming drunk and very rowdy at home on a tuesday and thursday night, they all then pile into a taxi at around 22.30 hrs and into town for the student promotion's. So some people want a barrier and other safety measure's on the river,how about ban student promotion's in pub's ? How about introduce random drink and drug screening in college's and universities? I know this one sound's a bit extreme , but this applies to a lot of workplaces and it doesn't mean you can't have a drink, just means you have to watch what you drink during the work/term time. Let's face it, it's not the river thats the problem, it's the modern day drink culture that the youth have adopted. roy_batty
  • Score: 19

12:26pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Lunatic says...

Pinza-C55 wrote:
I find the sentence "The Ouse is the city’s greatest natural asset and a major tourist attraction. Would any of us wish to have our access to it denied?"
What exactly does "access to a river" involve?
A barrier along the edge of the river from (say) Skeldergate to the Scarborough railway bridge would be unsightly but if it only saved one drunk from falling in, wouldn't that be worth it?
No. It wouldn't.

We need to be promoting the idea of personal responsibility for one's own actions, not pandering to the inane idiocy of those who cannot control themselves and trying to pad the world for them so they can't do themselves an injury.
[quote][p][bold]Pinza-C55[/bold] wrote: I find the sentence "The Ouse is the city’s greatest natural asset and a major tourist attraction. Would any of us wish to have our access to it denied?" What exactly does "access to a river" involve? A barrier along the edge of the river from (say) Skeldergate to the Scarborough railway bridge would be unsightly but if it only saved one drunk from falling in, wouldn't that be worth it?[/p][/quote]No. It wouldn't. We need to be promoting the idea of personal responsibility for one's own actions, not pandering to the inane idiocy of those who cannot control themselves and trying to pad the world for them so they can't do themselves an injury. Lunatic
  • Score: 16

3:02pm Wed 19 Mar 14

LindaNess says...

The Royal Lifesaving Society statistics show that alcohol is a factor in 18% of all drownings. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions and not try to place the blame on anyone/anything else.
The Royal Lifesaving Society statistics show that alcohol is a factor in 18% of all drownings. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions and not try to place the blame on anyone/anything else. LindaNess
  • Score: 11

5:08pm Wed 19 Mar 14

PKH says...

Pinza-C55 wrote:
I find the sentence "The Ouse is the city’s greatest natural asset and a major tourist attraction. Would any of us wish to have our access to it denied?"
What exactly does "access to a river" involve?
A barrier along the edge of the river from (say) Skeldergate to the Scarborough railway bridge would be unsightly but if it only saved one drunk from falling in, wouldn't that be worth it?
A great number of drunks would try and scale any barrier put by the river just because it is there, unless it was unsightly high with spikes on the top, so I belivee a barrier is of little use.
[quote][p][bold]Pinza-C55[/bold] wrote: I find the sentence "The Ouse is the city’s greatest natural asset and a major tourist attraction. Would any of us wish to have our access to it denied?" What exactly does "access to a river" involve? A barrier along the edge of the river from (say) Skeldergate to the Scarborough railway bridge would be unsightly but if it only saved one drunk from falling in, wouldn't that be worth it?[/p][/quote]A great number of drunks would try and scale any barrier put by the river just because it is there, unless it was unsightly high with spikes on the top, so I belivee a barrier is of little use. PKH
  • Score: 7

7:12pm Wed 19 Mar 14

oi oi savaloy says...

PKH wrote:
Pinza-C55 wrote:
I find the sentence "The Ouse is the city’s greatest natural asset and a major tourist attraction. Would any of us wish to have our access to it denied?"
What exactly does "access to a river" involve?
A barrier along the edge of the river from (say) Skeldergate to the Scarborough railway bridge would be unsightly but if it only saved one drunk from falling in, wouldn't that be worth it?
A great number of drunks would try and scale any barrier put by the river just because it is there, unless it was unsightly high with spikes on the top, so I belivee a barrier is of little use.
the bar tender who climbed the barrier near vodka rev in 2011 was drunk ... climbed the barrier and just jumped in! very sad and very stupid
[quote][p][bold]PKH[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Pinza-C55[/bold] wrote: I find the sentence "The Ouse is the city’s greatest natural asset and a major tourist attraction. Would any of us wish to have our access to it denied?" What exactly does "access to a river" involve? A barrier along the edge of the river from (say) Skeldergate to the Scarborough railway bridge would be unsightly but if it only saved one drunk from falling in, wouldn't that be worth it?[/p][/quote]A great number of drunks would try and scale any barrier put by the river just because it is there, unless it was unsightly high with spikes on the top, so I belivee a barrier is of little use.[/p][/quote]the bar tender who climbed the barrier near vodka rev in 2011 was drunk ... climbed the barrier and just jumped in! very sad and very stupid oi oi savaloy
  • Score: 5

11:49pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Fitzy1902 says...

With all due respect, I would find it amazing for the majority of people who have replied to this letter to simply, take on board that 'no body is perfect' I'd wager these people certainly aren't. It is both ignorant and highly ridiculous to simply put down river deaths to 'drunken antics' because quite frankly, it isn't. I'd very much like these people to do research on the subject and find out exactly who have lost their lives, when, where etc... Then reply!

Riverside Awareness UK
With all due respect, I would find it amazing for the majority of people who have replied to this letter to simply, take on board that 'no body is perfect' I'd wager these people certainly aren't. It is both ignorant and highly ridiculous to simply put down river deaths to 'drunken antics' because quite frankly, it isn't. I'd very much like these people to do research on the subject and find out exactly who have lost their lives, when, where etc... Then reply! Riverside Awareness UK Fitzy1902
  • Score: -1

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