When bollards marking bike lanes are mowed down by drivers as fast as they can be replaced, it’s no wonder cyclists feel like they’re under siege.
One of our columns last month was about the large number of bollards that separate the cycling lane from traffic on Richmond St. W., flattened by vehicles that stray from their lane and veer into the bike path.
They aren’t meant to create a protective barrier between vehicles and bikes, but to delineate cycling and motoring lanes. They’re more of a reminder to drivers to steer clear of the cycling lane than any sort of protection.
That’s been a sore point for cyclists since the city started creating bike lanes a half-dozen years ago; many believe they need a hard barrier that offers real protection from speeding vehicles.
A case in point is the bollards bordering the cycling lanes on Richmond and Adelaide Sts. In our earlier column, we wrote that many had been run over and squashed, creating gaps that left bike riders feeling exposed.
Transportation services said they’d be replaced within two weeks, and they weren’t kidding. Brian Huntley, who first told us about the problem, emailed on Oct. 27 to say a bunch of new replacements had been installed.
We went back earlier this week and found that two of the four bollards replaced near Portland had already been mowed down. One was lying in the curb while the other had vanished.
The bollards are made of heavy-gauge plastic tubes, about one metre high, connected by a wire cord to a base bolted to the pavement. The cord allows the bollard to flex and bend when a vehicle passes over it.
But it seems like they snap off a lot easier than they’re supposed to. While driving east on Adelaide, we counted at least 10 that were broken, between Portland and Spadina Ave., a distance of only a few blocks.
It’s not only a sign the bollards aren’t performing as well as intended, but also confirms the fears of cyclists that they still feel they’re potential road kill while riding in their lane.
We’ll be asking the head of cycling infrastructure about the value of these bollards, and if they’re working on other things to separate vehicles and bikes that could not only delineate lanes but offer real protection. Stay tuned.
What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. Email [email protected] or follow @TOStarFixer on Twitter
Source : TheStar