Viewable With Any browser

Cyclepath Obstructions

 CV   Cycling   Recumbents   Unicycling   Juggling   Other Links 

Back to Virtual Commute
Back to Danny

These bollards were installed on the Bath-Bristol cyclepath at Meadow Court Drive on 9 October 2001. They are clearly intended to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the cyclepath. Unfortunately, they make the path more dangerous for cyclists. (They may also make it more dangerous for pedestrians - see below).

diagram This diagram shows how the bollards have been positioned at a point where pedestrians, particularly children on their way to school, often cross the cyclepath.

The bollards were originally spaced a minimum of 119cm apart diagonally or 88cm laterally. They were repositioned on 19/10/01 and 05/12/01, and are now spaced a minimum of 111cm apart diagonally or 63cm apart laterally. Effectively, there is 63cm clearance for cycles, trailers and wheelchairs to pass between the bollards - 13cm less than the handlebar width (including mirror) of my Street Machine!. This clearance will be greatly reduced in spring and summer, when the cyclepath becomes overgrown at the edges.

The striped area on the left hand speed bump represents damage to the cyclepath caused by the contractors. For some time this area was not useable. The speed bumps were removed on 19/10/01 and the path resurfaced on 20/10/01.

You will see that there are 2 groups of 3 bollards. When they were installed, the central bollard in each group was lit with a red light at the top. However, one of the lights was removed by vandals within 2 days. The other was destroyed 5 days later. It seems certain that someone will be injured by a collision with one of these bollards during the winter. The outer bollards are not lit, but have reflectors at the top (red on the left, white on the right). Update - Since 19/10/01, the central bollards have had reflectors at the top. There are no plans to replace the lights. The black bollards were replaced with white on 05/12/01.

So how might the bollards make the crossing less safe for pedestrians? When I stopped to take the photos, I chatted to the local kids for a while about my bike. During that time, we watched quite a few upright cyclists ride past. The bollards slow me down a lot, but then the handlebar on my Street Machine is wider and lower than that on an upright bike. The upright cyclists, as long as they've seen the bollards, can weave around them quite happily without slowing too much. But they may be concentrating on weaving around the bollards, rather than checking for peds on the crossing. Not good for either party.

The council's response to the concerns of a South Gloucestershire Council Tax payer is described beneath the photos.

The photos at the top of the page are the most recent. Older photos are lower down. The first photos were taken on 06/12/01, the day after the black bollards were replaced with white.

The gap is pretty narrow even for an upright cyclist (left).

(Right) The bollards make it difficult to maneouvre into a position to go safely around these pedestrians, doing nothing to improve the safety of peds or cyclists.

I've knocked the lights and mirror on the right hand end of my handlebar a few times now on the central bollards.

That piece of cyclepath art right next to the bollards is quite worrying.

The next few photos were taken between 18/10/01 - 22/10/01, during which time the original black bollards were repositioned and the speed bumps were removed.

Contractors are legally required to clear up all debris behind them and, when performing work that takes more than a day, to clearly display a sign giving contact details to express any concerns. These legal requirements were not met.

18/10/01 (left), a week after putting a hole in the speed bump and making it unrideable on that side, the contractors fenced off the hole. The following day, the speed bump was removed and the remains of the fence left littering the cyclepath.

The speed bumps were removed to leave a surface suitable only for mountain bikes. And when the bollards were repositioned, the obstacle course had to be seen to be believed.

But eventually it was all cleared up and the cyclepath was resurfaced where the speed bumps had been. It's just a shame the bollards are still there.

The following photos were taken on 11 & 12 October 2001, the week the bollards were installed. It was getting dark and I've had to touch most of them up, but you should be able to make out the problem features.

This picture was taken from the speed bump. Where the cyclepath surface was damaged by the contractors installing the bollards, they left traffic cones - hence there's no way through on the left hand side. And as luck would have it, some inconsiderate dog owner has let his dog block the right hand side (actually, this particular dog is usually reasonably well controlled).

The traffic cones were removed on 22/10/01.

The central bollard is supposed to have a light on top. This picture was taken 2 days after the bollards were installed - the light has already been removed by vandals

The red stripes are reflectors reflecting the camera flash.

It's quite a tight squeeze for me to fit between the bollards. Upright cyclists can swerve around them much more easily, but I suspect that if they're concentrating on missing the bollards they may be less likely to spot peds about to step across in front of them.

The light that you can see at the top of the central bollard was destroyed within a week - lasting 5 days longer than the one on the other central bollard. The bollards were later replaced by ones with reflectors.

A view across the crossing.

The Council's Response

Back to Virtual Commute Viewable With Any browser

 CV   Cycling   Recumbents   Unicycling   Juggling   Other Links 

e-mail address

Note on browser compatibility - I hope that this site will be easily accessible in all browsers. If you experience any problems viewing this site, please let me know what the problem is, what browser you're using and, if possible, where I can obtain a copy for testing.