The speed required to ensure that a gate closes is greater than the velocity required to amputate a finger, crush a child or the head of a dog, trap a push or wheelchair, or – literally - tear a hole in the side of a horse
Says Sandra Smith
The speed required to ensure that a gate closes itself is greater than the velocity required to amputate a finger, crush a child or the head of a dog, trap a push or wheelchair, or – literally - tear a hole in the side of a horse, and means that these gates slam shut with a speed and violence which is truly stunning.
So self-closing gates have to be opened and held open by a strong person if accidents are to be avoided. But of course, we’re not all strong, we’re not always accompanied by an Iron Man, and we do want to continue to enjoy our walks and rides in the countryside.
Evidence about the difficulty of using these gates, and the accidents caused by them, has been slow in coming, but now there’s been a series of scientific trials on a variety of self-closing gates.
The results? ‘none of them work safely and should NOT be installed’.
The British Standard for gates on rights of way specifies width of gate, surroundings, materials – in fact everything except closing speed, which is completely ignored. But to get a BSI approval, any structure must be fit for purpose, and the gate trial absolutely proves these aren’t.
So the BSI needs to fix its standard in a hurry, and DEFRA needs to tell Highway Authorities NOW to stop licensing these dangerous gates.