I have been cycling recently in Polish mountains and when riding through one of less occupied mountain roads, I have found many places where road barrier (that is suppose to secure bikers and car drivers from falling into nearby river) is not continuous.

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Some questions around:

  1. Is anyone familiar of those? Can these be found in other countries?
  2. Is there any particular reason for having such risky solution?
  3. What am I missing in thinking that they pose a serious danger?

I was a too-close (as for me) from not stopping before one of these "separation holes" and falling into river, so I'd like to learn as much as possible about these "things".

  • 4
    It allows wildlife through. Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 12:01
  • 6
    Easier snow removal?
    – Andrew
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 12:12
  • 5
    I’m voting to close this question because it's not cycling specific Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 13:27
  • 4
    @ArgentiApparatus I'd argue it's a good question, it's not "specific" or "exclusive" to cycling, but it's highly relevant. A car is too wide to go through one of these gaps and has a good chance of stopping against the end of a barrier. It could be argued that a cyclist has more risk of falling through the gap. And as for the actual purpose of them, I reckon it could be to leave a "refuge" of sort (not great but better than none) for pedestrians. I'm sure the UK has some detailed standards for how such roads should be dealt with.
    – pateksan
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 14:22
  • 4
    Steel is expensive?
    – Affe
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


While this deals with medians and not strictly side barriers, the animal answer is strongly supported by this study:


A reasonable response would be that there is a drop into a stream that would prevent animals from crossing. And I agree, and suspect that simple legality is part of the answer. A law that requires an animal passing gap every X meters may simply have no exceptions for areas where terrain would be impassable for the animals.

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