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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. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 16 '20 at 12:01
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    Easier snow removal? – Andrew Jul 16 '20 at 12:12
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    I’m voting to close this question because it's not cycling specific – Argenti Apparatus Jul 16 '20 at 13:27
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    @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 Jul 16 '20 at 14:22
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    Steel is expensive? – Affe Jul 16 '20 at 19:12
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While this deals with medians and not strictly side barriers, the animal answer is strongly supported by this study:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256425278_Potential_Impacts_of_Highway_Median_Barriers_on_Wildlife_State_of_the_Practice_and_Gap_Analysis

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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