Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Canals and Children

We arrived on a wonderfully warm and sunny Sunday afternoon at Fradley junction and moored up just below the waterpoint on the end of the Coventry canal. I spotted four young kids messing around with the swing bridge. The bridge is unlocked and surprisingly light to open and close. The problem was that the kids were using the bridge as a recreational toy to play on. Opening and closing it with with as much force as they could muster. The intention being to trying to knock each other into the water. But this was also going on as boats tried to manoeuvre through the gap. I am amazed that parents drinking at the nearby pub seem to have little understanding of what their kids can get up to at the weekends. 

I was also amazed that other parents who were enjoying a day out with their own kids could just sit idly by and watch as the performance took place. A child falling down and hitting their head on the metalwork and falling into the canal was lost upon everyone. 

Memories of the schoolgirl that was grievously injured and had both of her legs amputated in similar circumstances came to mind. (Click Here) I told them of the dangers and they went on their way. A matter of moments later they were back on the bridge again. I can only imagine that on returning to their parents in the nearby pub. They were told to go back an play on the bridge again. This bridge urgently requires the use of a locking system before some child or passing boater gets hurt by their antics.

I took a photo of the antics and a boater moored close by says. 'You can get into trouble for photographing kids playing!!!!' So I said - I'm photographing in a public place a dangerous activity and it also happens to be children who are the ones in danger. 'What danger' he says, 'they are just having a bit of fun.' I thought to myself 'I wonder if he thinks it will be fun if they close the bridge as he is passing through.' To me its simply me seeing a danger and giving kids a bit of advice about the dangers of playing with machinery. If I was going to take issue it would have been the parents but they were busy elsewhere. 

Is it me - have I got this wrong, should I have just turned a blind eye?

I reported this to CaRT and had the following reply:

We are in the process of getting a locking mechanism designed that is both functional and sympathetic to the structure and the  surrounding area. Once the design has been Approved we hope that it will reduce the type of anti social behaviour you mention in your email. Terry Drake CaRT

See the report of the accident here.

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