CALL TO ACTION: No rigid metal bollards!

CALL TO ACTION: No rigid metal bollards!

This Wednesday (Feb 21st), the CRD’s Transportation Committee will be looking at rigid bollards on our regional trails, following a letter from Saanich asking them to look at using alternatives. 

This Wednesday (Feb 21st), the CRD’s Transportation Committee will be looking at rigid bollards on our regional trails, following a letter from Saanich asking them to look at using alternatives. 

While bollards can play an important role in keeping people safe from cars, their use at trail entrances poses a danger to people on bikes. That risk increases for those riding cargo and adaptive bikes, trikes and trailers, when trying to squeeze through the narrow gaps. 

We’ve heard many stories from people over the years about accidental collisions with bollards that have had serious consequences, including major injuries and damage to bikes. They are especially dangerous when parents and children are riding together as a parent leading can obstruct the view of the bollard for the child following. Adaptive and cargo bikes, often costing 10’s of thousands of dollars, can incur significant damage resulting in unaffordable repair bills and a potential loss of the owner’s ride. 

Design standards from across North America, including the BC Active Transportation Plan Design Guideline, state that rigid bollards should be used as a last resort at trail entrances, only after signage, design changes, and flexible bollards have failed to stop vehicle encroachment.  

Unfortunately, despite repeated warnings about their danger and requests to replace rigid bollards, CRD has not heard our concerns and continues to delay a final decision. The first request to re-examine the use of rigid bollards on trails was made in 2017. After 7 years, it’s time to get on with it!

Please write to the CRD Transportation Committee and voice your support for replacing metal rigid bollards with flexible ones. Please include your own story if you or someone you know has had a collision with a trail bollard. Below is a draft letter you can use as a template, along with the letter Capital Bike Advocacy Committee has sent to the CRD. 


Letter Template

Dear CRD Transportation Committee, 

I am writing today to express my support for replacing rigid metal bollards on the regional trails with flexible ones. 

While bollards can play an important role in keeping people safe from cars, their use at trail entrances poses a danger to people on bikes, especially those riding wider cargo bikes, trikes and trailers with passengers, as well as family group rides where parents riding in front can obstruct the view of the bollard for the child following. 

(Please include your own story if you or someone you know has had a collision with a trail bollard)
 
Design standards from across North America, including the BC Active Transportation Plan Design Guideline, state that rigid bollards should be used as a last resort at trail entrances. 

The first request to remove rigid bollards from the CRD trails was made 7 years ago. While the CRD staff report on bollards calls for further study, it’s time for action. Please direct CRD staff to start replacing rigid bollards with flexible ones now and conduct a proper safety review of all trail intersections with BC Active Transportation Guideline design standards. 

Thank you for your time. 

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME HERE]

Button not working? Send to the following emails: dmurdock@crd.bc.ca, sbrice@crd.bc.ca, DirectorSGI@crd.bc.ca, jcaradonna@crd.bc.ca, zdevries@crd.bc.ca, bdesjardins@crd.bc.ca, sgoodmanson@crd.bc.ca, dkobayashi@crd.bc.ca, cmcneilsmith@crd.bc.ca, cplant@crd.bc.ca, lszpak@crd.bc.ca, DThompson@crd.bc.ca, Mtait@crd.bc.ca, crdparks@crd.bc.ca


Capital Bike Letter to the CRD
Re: Rigid Bollards

Dear Director Murdoch: 

We are writing today to voice our support for CRD undertaking a review of the use of metal rigid bollards at CRD trail entrances, specifically: 

  1. The immediate removal of metal rigid bollards and replacement with plastic, flexible ones 
  1. The development for design standards at trail/intersection crossings, including stop signs, road markings, trail entrances (including distance between bollards, etc) 

While rigid bollards can be effective at limiting drivers illegally accessing regional trails, they are a safety issue for people cycling. Most bollards also narrow trail entrances, meaning people on bikes must navigate bollards while also paying attention to crossing motor vehicle traffic or pedestrians. These narrowed entrances also lead riders to catch handlebars or pedals on them, or in some cases hit them directly. They pose a particular danger to cargo bikes/trikes for people carrying passengers and adaptive bikes/trikes for disabled users for two reasons: 

  1. Cargo/adaptive bikes/trikes and trailers have a wider chassis that are much more challenging to fit through tight spaces  
  1. The designs of these bikes and trikes obstruct the view of bollards, which are generally shorter and lower to the ground than other trail users 

One growing danger comes from bollards are hidden by riders ahead, such as a parent with a child, or during busy times on the trails when volume means riders end up in ad-hoc groups. Design standards from across North America, including the BC Active Transportation Plan Design Guideline, California’s CalTrans Highway Design Manual, and The American Association of State of Transportation Officials (AASHTO) state that rigid bollards should be used as a last resort at trail entrances, only after signage, design changes, and flexible bollards have failed to stop vehicle encroachment.  

Newer trail designs, such as the Arbutus Greenway in the City of Vancouver, have dispensed with bollards altogether, while the Flight Path around Victoria Airport removed all median bollards due to issues with Cycling Without Age’s trikes. We are also concerned that while this is not a new topic, there has been little action since the passing of the Regional Trails Management Plan in 2016, a plan which actioned staff to review bollards:  

CRD will review the use of bollards on trails to determine if changes are needed for safety of people riding bicycles. 

In February 2017, the District of Saanich sent CRD a letter requesting that they prioritize reducing or eliminating bollards on CRD trails. In a response letter dated March 21, 2017 CRD staff noted their previous commitment to review bollard safety and stated this “action is included in the Regional Parks’’ upcoming Service Plan discussions for 2018.” 
 
Despite these commitments, we know of no formal bollard review, nor of any public consultation or data collection effort around bollards. We note that the current staff report states that “Staff will review available data from ICBC and open-source data via BikeMaps.org for information available on accidents related to collisions with bollards.”  

Given both Bikemaps.org and ICBC data were available in 2016 when the RMTP was passed, we are concerned that this topic will be forgotten again.  We hope that we can work together to ensure that our regional trails are safe for all users, and we thank you for your time and attention to this. 

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