If you had reason to cross the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on a dreary, rainy Monday as we did today, this would be your view.
I decided to make it into something more sunny and cheerful.
Fortunately these bridges didn’t let us down despite the wind and rain, unlike their predecessor Galloping Gertie, who twisted and crashed into Puget Sound the same fateful year she opened to the public in 1940. I remember her demise whenever we cross the Narrows.
I remember my demise on the second edition Narrows Bridge. I was on my bike, as close to the outside edge as possible, and a car on my left clipped my sideview mirror and flipped my bike and me into an endo. I landed on my knees. My friend who was riding with me was behind me. I was a bleeding wreck. We managed to straighten my wheel. I don’t think the driver was even aware that he’d clipped me. I’m glad the third bridge is wider. The first two engineering-challenged bridge attempts hardly deserved the “s” at the end of “Narrows”.
Whoa! I’m glad you weren’t seriously hurt. You were brave to ride a bike across the bridge!
I do have permanent super-scars on my knees. It didn’t seem that challenging at the time; lots of people biked across.
Sorry to hear that, sounds really painful. Was there a bike lane at the time or did you have to ride in traffic?
That bridge still looks pretty vulnerable to me. I wouldn’t want to cross it in high winds!
Best wishes, Pete.
There was a wind warning on our return as we approached the bridge which made me think of Galloping Gertie. I wondered what exactly we were to do with that information since the bridge was open. But we made it home safe and sound! 🙂
I often cite the failure of the first bridge as an example of the hubris of engineers “who know more now.” I also think about the houses built on the spit at Gleneden Beach where earlier houses had washed away. But Salishan developers “knew more now” until those big houses too washed away.
You always hope the lessons of previous failures have been learned. But our collective memory can be short, or there’s some new thing to be learned.
As I recall, there was no bike lane at the time. There was a raised walkway, but it was too narrow for bikes and pedestrians to share. We just had to ride as close to the walkway as we could, but we were riding alongside cars and trucks.