WHEN the new Queensferry Crossing opened last year after years of planning, traffic was transferred over from the Forth Road Bridge – but one group of German tourists missed the memo.
Stuttgart resident Wolfgang Hertkorn, 52, said he was “inspired by the film Highlander” to rent a car and travel around Scotland with his girlfriend Petra and friend Angela.
Hiring a small Kia C’eed at Edinburgh Airport on May 25, the trio set off towards Kirkcaldy for the first leg of their journey.
But their trip spiralled off course after a rogue Sat Nav directed them over the Forth Road Bridge, limited to buses, taxis, cyclists and pedestrians.
Wolfgang said: “We had been in a traffic jam on the A90 road, but our GPS told us to turn right on to the A900 and take the bridge. I had to concentrate to drive on the left hand side, but when we saw a sign saying ‘authorised vehicles only’ we didn’t know what that meant. Then I realised: ‘Whoa! The bridge is totally empty.’
“I saw only one bus in the mirror and a pedestrian walking at the side. At that moment, I looked to the left and saw all the traffic on the other bridge. I realised and was like: ‘Oh, my God.’”
Wolfgang was left panicking after a taxi driver informed him he may be liable, but was reassured when he arrived at the Invertiel Bed and Breakfast in Kirkcaldy.
Despite the “horror-filled trip” and “confusing signs”, he said he did not blame anybody for the “error”.
He added: “I don’t want to call it a trap for tourists, but there’s a bit of truth to it. We knew the speed limits but had no idea about local things.
“Nobody told us, the navigation system was very old and it didn’t know the new bridge. When we got to the B&B the owner was very nice and said not to worry and that we would be safe.
“Our flight was delayed on the way home so it got more stressful, but we eventually got home. I’ll still definitely be coming back. I’m a big fan of Scotland since I first saw the movie Highlander and we loved making a trip here.”
Police Scotland have said there are no plans to introduce fines for drivers who wrongly use the bridge, but Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has called for drivers who flout the law by crossing the bridge to be fined.
Transport Scotland revealed last month that over 100 noncompliant vehicles a day are wrongly crossing since the bridge was reopened for public transport in February.
Mark Dunlop, Communications Manager at Forth Replacement Crossing, said: “The Forth Road Bridge reopened as a public transport corridor in February of this year.
“Police have the ability to enforce restrictions if necessary and continue to monitor and patrol the FRB, where operational demands allow. However, at this time as the public transport corridor is still bedding in, the emphasis is on education and guidance.”