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Bollards…... many of you may be reluctant to read about these boring obstructions, we are even less inclined to write about them. But as a bicycle rider you may be painfully acquainted with them. At Bicycle NSW, we get a lot of calls from riders who have collided with bollards, or who have witnessed serious collisions and countless near misses. 

Bollards. Short stumpy things designed to get in the way or to tether a ship. Ignore them at your peril.

(Photo courtesy of Werner Steyer)

'One of the cyclists, in his 70s, clipped the southern bollard resulting in a major fall, somersaulting over and heavily impacting the top of the bollard and the concrete pathway. This was a serious and avoidable accident. The chief Paramedic who attended was not impressed with the bollards and indicated he was going to send a report to the Council.'

When it comes to urban design, Australian Councils and Government departments appear to favour bollards over alternative design elements and systems thinking.  The Austroads Guide to Road Design Part 6A: Paths for Walking and Cycling doesn’t advise bollards as traffic terminals or speed limitation on cycleways. This is due to the serious risks to bicycle riders and reduced access to personal mobility devices. Bollards should be limited to protecting sensitive infrastructure and at times people from traffic intrusion. Having bollards outside Parliament House- perfectly reasonable. Having them guard the entry to a path or bridge, arguably less so. There is also the strong possibility of litigation authorities face, as more take up cycling and run into these immovable barriers.

Safe and accessible alternatives do exist, such as illustrated below. Austroads 6A, sets out the standards for placement and visibility. With bollards, less is more.

At BNSW we get a lot of calls from riders who have collided with bollards, or who have witnessed wicked collisions.

(Photo courtesy of Werner Steyer)

If your Council, National Park or State government Cycleway has unnecessary bollards despoiling your cycleway, ask them why. Then suggest that there are alternatives or contact Bicycle NSW and ask for assistance and help. Bicycle NSW has a number of wins through its advocacy in relation to bollards (among other things). 

If you haven’t already, you might like to consider joining the Bicycle NSW family- the rider insurance cover for you and family can come in handy.


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