Woman cited for riding bike onto Menasha bridge as it was lifted

Published: Jul. 17, 2018 at 3:53 PM CDT
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It's the video that has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, a woman on a bike, ignores the safety gates on the Racine Street bridge in Menasha, as the bridge is being lifted for boats to pass below. The woman ends up falling into one of the open seams of the bridge. Many are asking how this could happen? And why it took so long for help to arrive?

The Racine Street bridge is a popular thoroughfare in Menasha. And on the night of July 4th, it was especially busy as the city's fireworks ended and people were heading home. But, as the bridge tender dropped the warning arms and started to lift the bridge, a 37 year old Menasha woman on a bicycle ignored those warnings.

According to Deputy Chief Brett Halderson from the Menasha Police Department, "She went through them, she ended up being unstable, went into the gap between the drawbridge and the rest of the bridge."

As the Department of Transportation video shows, it took bystanders about 90-seconds to come to the woman's rescue.

Halderon says, "What some people usually do when they're at a drawbridge, get through with their electronic devices and then the ones that did see it probably didn't realize what was going on right at first or didn't believe it."

After realizing what was happening, several people did make the decision to help the woman. One man jumped right into the seam, where he eventually lifted the injured woman out, followed by the bicycle she had been riding.

"When I watched the video, I was a little concerned because they were jumping down into where all of the mechanics are. The gate doesn't move that quickly, or the bridge doesn't move that quickly, but there's a lot of metal moving in there so you get a little uneasy when people are jumping in there. But, they did it quickly, they got in there, got her out as well as the could," adds Halderson.

Police say they suspect the 37 year old from Menasha may have been drinking before the incident. She has since been cited for failure to obey a traffic signal.