Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
greyhead
Posts: 32
Joined: 5 Nov 2009, 2:37pm

Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby greyhead » 6 Oct 2014, 2:40pm

Have recently returned from a Normandy tour using the Portsmouth - Caen (Ouistreham) Brittany Ferry each way. No complaints with the ferry journey itself but beware when disembarking in Ouistreham. As a cyclist, when leaving the ship you are directed to a dedicated pathway to the left of and segregated by a barrier from the car ramp. So far so good but when you reach the end of the ramp there is a significant drop (about 12 inches) to reach French soil! There was also another sort of ledge sticking up but, bearing in mind that this was at 21.30 and dark (I did have my bike lights on) so quite difficult to see.

Fortunately I was prepared for this hazard because in 2009 I used the same ferry and on that occasion my chain ring came down heavily on the same obstruction and caused slight damage and I nearly fell off the bike. Ironic that that was the first metre of my cycling tour on French soil. Amazing that in FIVE years nothing has been done to correct this problem. I had previously mentioned it verbally to the crew but this time I am awaiting an email response.

Surely I'm not the only one to have experienced this?

tatanab
Posts: 3788
Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby tatanab » 6 Oct 2014, 2:58pm

I've used that ferry many times and cannot say I've noticed anything. I do not recall being directed anywhere, just leave the ferry as normal - walking the ramp as ordered.

brianleach
Posts: 309
Joined: 14 Jul 2007, 2:10pm
Location: Winchester, Hants

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby brianleach » 6 Oct 2014, 5:03pm

+1 Never had this happen.

bikepacker
Posts: 1983
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:08pm
Location: Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby bikepacker » 6 Oct 2014, 5:49pm

And another who has never had it happen.
There is your way. There is my way. But there is no "the way".

hamster
Posts: 3214
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby hamster » 7 Oct 2014, 10:03am

Nor me - as I was on a tandem I am sure I would have noticed a step. Puzzling.

davetb
Posts: 38
Joined: 5 Aug 2014, 9:26pm

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby davetb » 7 Oct 2014, 2:42pm

Just returned on the Caen Portsmouth Ferry. We were allowed to ride up the ramp, no problems. Had to get off for going into the boat. At Portsmouth had to walk out as normal, but that was OK as well. Very friendly crew and reception as we hadn't booked.

greyhead
Posts: 32
Joined: 5 Nov 2009, 2:37pm

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby greyhead » 7 Oct 2014, 4:49pm

Interested to hear all of your comments. Can I assume that you all rode or walked off the ferry at Ouistreham using the same ramp as the cars?
The passageway I am referring to actually runs alongside (i.e.parallel to) and to the left of the car ramp and is separated by a barrier. This finishes after, I would guess, 75 metres when you reach terra firma (and the drop!) and you rejoin the normal road with the cars. In 2009 I was directed by the crew to use this separate pathway and on my recent trip I recall a gate opening automatically (presumably controlled by the crew) as I left the ship to give me access to the pathway so I assumed that again I should use it. I can't remember if there was any signs. As well as the drop there is also a vertical rib sticking up so forming two holes before the actual drop to the ground. It's as if the last floor panel of the pathway is missing exposing the framework underneath. Pity I didn't take a picture but I was anxious to get to my chambre d'hôte without delay.
I've used many other ferries to France and also to Ireland and Denmark and normally would use (often walking if told to) the normal exit ramp with the cars. I'm sure in this case I could have ignored the crew and used the car ramp as usual. Boarding the ferry for the return trip I used the normal car ramp so no problem.

greyhead
Posts: 32
Joined: 5 Nov 2009, 2:37pm

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby greyhead » 7 Oct 2014, 4:56pm

Re Davetb's posting and just to reiterate there was no problem at Portsmouth. Like everyone else I just used the ramp with the cars. In fact I don't recall seeing a separate pathway anywhere but at Ouistreham.

tatanab
Posts: 3788
Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby tatanab » 7 Oct 2014, 5:06pm

greyhead wrote:Can I assume that you all rode or walked off the ferry at Ouistreham using the same ramp as the cars?
True for me.

JJF
Posts: 296
Joined: 17 Feb 2007, 9:14pm

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby JJF » 7 Oct 2014, 7:18pm

I recognise the situation described by greyhead.

My partner and I crossed on the ferry to Ouistreham in mid Sept.
As we left the ferry itself there were half a dozen or so cyclists about 20 yards in front of us. They responded to the marshals' pointing hands by walking along the road/ramp which was empty of traffic. My partner and I decided they wanted us to go along the narrow path on the left, separated from the road by a railing. When we arrived at the landward end the path ended in a drop which seemed like a couple of broken steps. It was necessary to half lift/half wheel the bikes. I was surprised that this was the route offered to cyclists because it was quite unsuitable.

Unlike the OP we had good visibility because it was just after sunrise.

gplhl
Posts: 119
Joined: 9 Oct 2013, 1:41pm

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby gplhl » 8 Oct 2014, 7:26am

Odd, I've used the same ferry several times and not noticed this hazard. You have to walk off the ferry and as with cycling in general always look out for hazards. It tends to only be cyclists who see or care about these problems. Thanks to the OP for pointing out though.

Gary
www.longbikeride.co.uk

TimP
Posts: 106
Joined: 25 May 2015, 6:15pm

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby TimP » 18 Jun 2015, 2:28pm

Why doesn't someone take a photo and post it here? Much better than all this yes/no chatter.
Is there more than one ferry running this route? Maybe one has a damaged ramp and another one has a good one? I haven't used this ferry but rather than seeing people argue over it...

JJF
Posts: 296
Joined: 17 Feb 2007, 9:14pm

Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

Postby JJF » 19 Jun 2015, 4:16pm

TimP,
The "ramp" in the discussion in not part of a ferry, it is the sloping road taken by cyclists and cars after leaving the ferry.

My post on 7 Oct 2014 explained why some people experience the "significant drop" reported by the OP and some don't.

Possibly it has now been fixed.