Bollards on the Guadalupe River Trail

A couple of weeks ago I biked my usual route home on the Guadalupe River Trail alongside San Jose International Airport.

The city of San Jose Parks and Trails department spent a lot of money improving this trail over this past winter. One unexpected “improvement” — a solid metal post in the middle of the trail just south of the airport. I first encountered it at dusk, and in spite of my bright front lights the yellow bollard was invisible against the yellow dashed center line on the bike path.

I know to avoid it now, but yikes, somebody’s gonna get hurt here.

I took my own photos of this bollard, but Lady Fleur does a better job illustrating what this trail post looks like to the cyclist. She also notes the post completely lacks reflectors for night use.

The 2012 edition of the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD) says this about “Barriers on Class I Bikeways.” (Class I Bikeways are off-street paths and trails like the Guadalupe River Trail).

Section 9C.101(CA) Barrier Posts on Class I Bikeways

Before a decision is made to install barrier posts, consideration needs to be given to the implementation of other remedial measures, such as Bike Path Exclusion signs or redesigning the path entry so that motorists do not confuse it with vehicle access.

It could be necessary to install barrier posts at entrances to bike paths to prevent motor vehicles from entering. When locating such installations, care needs to be taken to assure that barriers are well marked and visible to bicyclists, day or night (i.e. install reflectors or reflectorized tape).

Such devices should be used only where extreme problems are encountered.

Though there is some disagreement among cyclists, many oppose the installation of bollards on bike paths unless, as suggested in the California MUTCD, a real need is demonstrated.

Go visit Lady Fleur for her take on the GRT bollard.

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