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Even bike paths are dangerous

Old 09-05-22, 12:09 PM
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Korina
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Even bike paths are dangerous

Beware the bollard! https://www.bikesonoma.org/local-cyc...-on-bike-path/
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Old 09-05-22, 02:05 PM
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I much prefer the roads myself, but I did do a trip on the Jacksonville-Baldwin Bike Trail once, it was very nice...a lot of shade by large Southern Live Oak trees and well maintained. There were quite a few road crossings, so I'm glad there were no bollards

So I'm wondering just how much do these bollards do WRT what they're designed to do. Are they even worth it?



This is a quick trip on the J/B Bike Trail (not my video).

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Old 09-05-22, 02:07 PM
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Unless the surrounding areas of the barriers are protected by steep impassable grade or fencing, they're ineffective.
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Old 09-05-22, 04:31 PM
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Setting aside the solo crash detailed in the article, I would say I have had more close calls on a path than on a regular road, and I spend much more time on roads than paths. I think the problem (or at least part of it) is a lack of protocol. People walk down the path and don't look or indicate before switching directions, people walk dogs on long leashes, people don't slow to pass other path users, etc. Back to the article linked, it is unfortunate and perhaps a good reason to reconsider path design.
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Old 09-05-22, 05:26 PM
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Old 09-05-22, 05:53 PM
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At first I thought this was gratuitous danger porn, but a solid pole like that in dappled light could be a killer. I wish the article provided more info like maps and photos from different angles to help us learn how to avoid making hazards like that. It's a learning process, and as we promote bicycling we need better analysis of these kinds of problems.

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Old 09-05-22, 07:16 PM
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My local trail has a ton of these poles. I've almost run into them many times. Crazy part is i don't think they are really needed. If a car drives down most bike trails you would think the person would have to think about the fact they have to back all the way out. Plus it would be easier for law enforcement to help bikers if they weren't there.
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Old 09-05-22, 07:21 PM
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A buddy hit a bollard on a path around Eisenhower Park, in NY. It was one of those 3-4 ft. high models, designed to prevent automobiles from driving on the paved trail. Unfortunately it was painted the same yellow as the stripe indicating a lane divider on the asphalt, he completely did not see it as it blended with the path paint. He was very badly hurt, a few broken ribs and a wrist, the county is lucky he chose not to sue. Terrible design.
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Old 09-05-22, 07:34 PM
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I just witnessed a near miss between 3 people where a cyclist panic swerved when she suddenly realized she was about to hit one of these poles. She barely missed hitting a couple of pedestrians. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The damn things really are hard to see in shadows especially when there are people nearby.
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Old 09-05-22, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
At first I thought this was gratuitous danger porn, but a solid pole like that in dappled light could be a killer. I wish the article provided more info like maps and photos from different angles to help us learn how to avoid making hazards like that. It's a learning process, and as we promote bicycling we need better analysis of these kinds of problems.

The path I frequent had a pole just like this that I suppose was to divide traffic near a small bridge 42 years ago. I don't know when it was removed but I'm glad it was. Hopefully it didn't take a serious accident like in the OP to warrant its removal. There was another one about a half mile from it to keep motor vehicles off the path and it was removed in the last 10 years or so. On that one, they left a couple of inches of pipe sticking up that presented a whole new set of problems for just not cyclists, but runners and walkers as well. I understand that in remote areas of rails to trails where some numbskull will try to take a motor vehicle down the path something is needed, but for the most part these things are more harmful than helpful IMHO.
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Old 09-06-22, 10:04 AM
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I don't love those bollards, but the intentional multiple murder rental truck ramming spree on the Hudson River Greenway a number of years back did illustrate one argument for them, when backed up by terrain that makes them hard to simply avoid. (Unlike a road, that section of path left nowhere to dodge even for those who realized what was happening, plus the density of path users was much higher than just about any road)

Unfortunately the jersey barriers placed lengthwise immediately after that notoriously caused no small number of crashes - I was behind someone who crashed, not into the barrier, but because of the way it narrowed the path in violation of all design standards at the instant an idiot on a bike barged from the streetside across it towards the pedestrian area by the river.

But even the avoidable ones do have some role in deterring the number of idiot drivers who regularly turn into such paths, and then rather than backing out decide to try to follow them through.

We have a spot that could use one to stop the people who like to drive up the path to drop off their beer coolers at a traditional but illicit swimming hole. I've seen a number on each side of bridge spans, even when there's no particularly nearby road entrance - I have to wonder if that's more about the difficulty of extricating a vehicle, since most trail bridges are spec'd to support a police car, maintenance pickup, or ambulance.

In terms of emergency response, many seem to insert into a socket with a padlock at the base

There are tradeoffs...

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Old 09-06-22, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post


How many bollards do they need? Or is this designing a slalom course with dangerous steel poles?
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Old 09-06-22, 11:40 AM
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Bike path in London are certainly dangerous. I have seen some spectacular crashes and even had one myself at speed.
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Old 09-06-22, 12:00 PM
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MUP's can be just as dangerous as on the road.. People wandering all over the pace, dogs not on leash, dogs on a long leash, people who when you say 'passing on your left' instantly step to the left, small children wandering around as their parents have no clue what they are doing, walkers with headphones on blasting music etc..

I don't mind riding MUP but you have to be just as careful as you do on the road..
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Old 09-06-22, 12:06 PM
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I have a love-hate relationship with those bollards. In some places they are a necessary evil. But, I also do some riding with a cargo trailer, and in some places I have only inches of clearance to spare. The things are terrifying.

I do think communities should be very judicial about the use of those bollards and put them in only where absolutely critical.

Put them in well lit areas, and with lots of bright paint both on the posts as well as on the pavement approaching them.

@rumrunn6's wife was taken out by one of those a few years ago.

https://www.bikeforums.net/20441250-post51.html

I thought there was a photo, but I can't find it. Anyway, if this is the one I remember, it was on a quiet trail, with a dark colored post in an intermittent shade area. And the post wasn't right near a driveway where it might be expected, but was some distance along the path.

Of course, if cyclists can't see the bollards, I'm not sure how one would expect wrong-way drivers to see them.
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Old 09-06-22, 12:17 PM
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There are the occasional wrong-way drivers on the bike paths.

From an earlier thread:

https://www.bikeforums.net/20837565-post4.html

Originally Posted by Berg417448 View Post
If you don't put those up then you might get this:

https://www.bicycling.com/news/a2361...-on-bike-path/

Of course, I suppose it depends on the type of bollard. A truck might consider the wooden bollards like speed bumps.

A while ago I saw about 20 feet of guard rail mangled along one of the Eugene bike paths. Hit by something much larger than a bicycle. I seem to have misplaced the photo. Surely it was hit by something that wasn't supposed to be on the bike path. Yet, it was also in a place that would be exceedingly hard to get to.

Just yesterday I saw a full sized police car driving down a bike path. Headed towards a bike bridge, then under an overpass. A rather large vehicle for the place it was at.
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Old 09-06-22, 02:23 PM
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I'm starting to question them myself. On the Humboldt Bay Trail in Arcata they're on each end of every bridge. There's room, and they're reflective yellow, but they're annoying and largely unnecessary. I think I'm going to start questioning them to the city. I also remember when the Eureka Waterfront Trail went in, and the city guy in charge of it was satisfied with the dark brown bollards on every bridge, and declined to change them; I didn't push too hard, but I did try. He's since moved up in the world; maybe I should bring it up again.
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Old 09-06-22, 04:16 PM
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We have bollards on the 11 mile long MUP that I ride frequently. Most only at it's intersection with the few of roads it crosses that have motor vehicle traffic.

Last year I came across a noobie cyclist with new bike that had slammed into one. He was hurting, mostly just had the breath knocked out of him according to his own words. It may have been too embarrassing for him as a lot of others of us had gathered to see if he was okay. I never saw him and his spouse on the trail again. And those were some pretty expensive new bikes they both had.

The bollard he hit is the only set of bollards that are not at an intersection and a vehicle will have already had to encounter another set of bollard prior to getting there. I wrote the City asking why they felt they needed them there but got no response.

And for certain even MUP's and other paths without motor vehicles are dangerous. That same MUP is what I had the one and only crash that I have no memory of that put me in a hospital. And when the MUP is crowded with people of all sorts doing their own thing, I prefer to ride on the two lane country roads and highways with no shoulders.

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Old 09-06-22, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
I'm starting to question them myself. On the Humboldt Bay Trail in Arcata they're on each end of every bridge. There's room, and they're reflective yellow, but they're annoying and largely unnecessary. I think I'm going to start questioning them to the city. I also remember when the Eureka Waterfront Trail went in, and the city guy in charge of it was satisfied with the dark brown bollards on every bridge, and declined to change them; I didn't push too hard, but I did try. He's since moved up in the world; maybe I should bring it up again.
Presumably these bridges have weight limits in their designs so they aren't built for large vehicles. They may also be narrow for vehicle traffic.

I'd also hate to meet a fast moving vehicle on a bridge with no place to go.

So the decision was to add bollards to keep vehicles out... when they may well have troubles getting there in the first place.

They may also have had issues with bikes, vehicles, and bridges sometime in the past too.

The worst set of bollards around here is a bike bridge just west of Leaburg dam. The bollards are so narrow that a bike with panniers would have troubles fitting. A bike and trailer needs to be disconnected lifted over and reconnected. Possibly designed to inhibit motorcycle passage.
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Old 09-06-22, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by raqball View Post
MUP's can be just as dangerous as on the road.. People wandering all over the pace, dogs not on leash, dogs on a long leash, people who when you say 'passing on your left' instantly step to the left, small children wandering around as their parents have no clue what they are doing, walkers with headphones on blasting music etc..

I don't mind riding MUP but you have to be just as careful as you do on the road..
It's pretty easy to manage the threats on an MUP. It's a simple matter of being willing to slow down when conditions warrant it. The threats on a road aren't as manageable and the consequences of contact can be much more grave.
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Old 09-06-22, 07:13 PM
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What's worse than a bollard in the middle of a path is two bollards. There's a semi-local path which has a couple of wooden foot bridges on it, but instead of having a single bollard in the middle of the path on each end of the bridge, they put two bollards at each entrance of the bridge, making the passage even more narrow and dangerous. One would have been fine and given a wider area to ride through while still keeping vehicles off the bridge.
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Old 09-06-22, 07:55 PM
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Bollards or having this coming at you?


https://www.gazettenet.com/Bike-path...92022-46004377
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Old 09-07-22, 04:30 AM
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or this horror

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_N...y_truck_attack
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Old 09-07-22, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by raqball View Post
MUP's can be just as dangerous as on the road.. People wandering all over the pace, dogs not on leash, dogs on a long leash, people who when you say 'passing on your left' instantly step to the left, small children wandering around as their parents have no clue what they are doing, walkers with headphones on blasting music etc..

I don't mind riding MUP but you have to be just as careful as you do on the road..

All those things happen, but the road is definitely a far more dangerous place by virtue of speed and weight of the motor vehicles. Truth be told, I have witnessed every single one of those things happen on roads as well,
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Old 09-07-22, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
At first I thought this was gratuitous danger porn, but a solid pole like that in dappled light could be a killer. I wish the article provided more info like maps and photos from different angles to help us learn how to avoid making hazards like that. It's a learning process, and as we promote bicycling we need better analysis of these kinds of problems.

Look at all the scratches in the paint, indicating this pole has been hit a lot.
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