Time for CRD to reassess use of bollards on bike trails, say advocate and city councillor

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Some cyclists in Greater Victoria are finding as bikes get wider, bollards are actually creating crashes.

Bollards, about a metre high and typically made of metal, are seen on some roadways and also along the region’s cycling trails as an attempt to halt cars from driving on them.

“I do take my kids in this trike to school and on Sundays, we use it to head to my parents for Sunday night dinner,” said Edward Pullman, a volunteer with Capital Bike Society, a non-profit which merged The Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition and Greater Victoria Bike to Work Society.

“The mistake of running into a rigid bollard is you’re going to be injured, and your bike is going to be damaged, and we just don’t see the value that they represent of the hypothetical cars they keep off the trails. We just don’t see that.”

Since the late 1980s, the capital region’s trail systems have been connecting communities. From single to five-speed bikes, all the way to trikes and other cargo bikes, over the past four decades the type of bike people are reaching for is shifting to a wider range.

“Now we’ve got tricycles, bike trailers, kid hopper bikes, which is what you want to see as more people reach for active transportation and that means you have to accommodate them with the way you design your trails,” said Saanich councillor Teale Phelps Bondaroff, who’s had his own close calls with bollards.

Pullman and Phelps agree that as people choose wider bikes, the metal bollards intended to prevent cars from driving down the trails are actually becoming a danger to cyclists.

It’s an issue that’s been talked about before. In 2017, 25 Saanich residents wrote to council detailing their bollard blunders from wrecked bikes to broken bones. Saanich then asked the CRD to review its bollard policy. The CRD agreed.

Seven years later, Saanich is asking: What’s the status?

“We want people to choose active transportation and that means having trails that are accessible, trails that are safe, means having a good user experience, and I think removing bollards is a good step in that direction,” said Phelps Bondaroff.

Saanich has a no-bollard-unless-necessary policy, like most municipalities, which follows B.C.’s Active Transportation Plan & Guide. In Greater Victoria, most bollards in town are found on CRD-run trails, and the advocacy group Capital Bikes wants to get on with an update.

“We really think it’s time for the CRD to take a look at the use of these,” said Pullman.

Saanich council looks at a second motion asking the CRD to remove the bollards Monday night.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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