Beijing will be installing 1,000 safety nets over manholes across the city in a trial attempt to prevent cyclists, cars, and pedestrians from falling into the open drainage pits, according to The Beijinger.
Since 2004, it has been estimated that over 240,000 manhole covers have been stolen and sold as scrap metal, resulting in multiple cases of car and bike damage, injuries, and in some cases, death.
Although stronger locks have been implemented, accidents still occasionally occur when workers take off the covers and leave the manholes unattended.
And sometimes manhole covers mysteriously disappear and are only covered with boards or just left exposed.
The city believes that
instead of just blockading the open area the most efficient thing to do is to add safety nets across the opening of all the drainage holes as well as install a safety bar that pops up on reflex when the cover is off to warn people of impending danger.
If the safety system is effective, it will be installed within all of the hundreds of thousands of said drainage openings across the city.
The system is being tested after some horrific manhole-related incidents occurred in the past year, one involving a woman in Hunan Province who was found dead in the Xiangjiang River after falling into an open manhole during a storm, and another involving a two year old boy who died after falling into an uncovered manhole in the same province.
[Image credit: The Beijinger via Weibo]