A WOMAN fell 60ft to her death when a drawbridge opened as she walked past her bike.
Police said the woman was within 10 feet of barrier arms blocking traffic when the Palm Beach drawbridge began moving.
The tragic accident happened as she crossed the Royal Park Bridge towards West Palm Beach on Florida land.
“The woman was trying to hold on,” West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles said.
“There was a bystander nearby who tried to help her, but tragically she fell five or six stories below where she died when she fell onto the concrete.”
He said the bridge bid had “specific safety protocols to follow” including “some visual confirmation” that no one was on the drawbridge when it was raised.
Why the tender began to raise the span before it was opened to pedestrians will be a focus of the investigation, he said.
After the unnamed woman’s death, the bridge bidder was reportedly “distraught” by what had happened.
Bicycle safety advocate Juan Orellana told West Palm Beach broadcaster the WPTV warning would sound before the bridge was raised.
“Palm Beach is only reachable by three bridges and this is the main bridge, so it is very popular with cyclists,” he said.
“The bridge is equipped with bells and whistles to warn drivers and pedestrians that the drawbridge is going up.
“The thing is you’ll hear the bell before the arm goes down, so when you hear the bell you have to get out of the way before the bridge goes up.”
The bridge was closed more than six hours after the accident.
West Palm Beach Police will look into whether the bridge bid violated safety regulations by not ensuring the bridge was clear before lifting it.
Investigators will also seek to determine if the woman ignored the warnings and walked over the space after lowering her arms.
The woman’s death is the second time in less than a year a cyclist has been killed while crossing a drawbridge in Florida.
In March 2021, Fred Medina died when he ignored warning signs in an area of the Miami River.
The drawbridge began to rise and the 58-year-old father of two plunged to his death between the moving concrete and the roadway.
He was killed during his morning bike ride from Aventura to Key Biscayne while attempting to cross the South Miami Avenue Bridge that connects downtown Miami and Brickell across the Miami River.
Miami police said the avid cyclist was approaching the bridge when the warning fence was lowered and the horn sounded.
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https://www.the-sun.com/news/4636699/woman-plummets-death-drawbridge-opens-walked-bike/ Woman plunges more than 50 meters leading to her death after Palm Beach drawbridge opened as she walked over her bike