Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Saanich asks CRD to drop bollards on regional trails

Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff says the bollards can pose a hazard to trail users and make it difficult for some wider bikes to get onto the trails
A scooter passes bollards on the Galloping Goose Trail approach at Ardersier Road, in the Douglas and Harriet area. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Saanich plans to write to the Capital Regional District asking that rigid bollards that prevent vehicles from entering the region’s cycling and walking trails be removed.

Saanich council unanimously endorsed the move Monday night.

Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff said the bollards can pose a hazard to trail users, especially late at night, and make it difficult for some wider bikes to get onto the trails.

The new cargo bikes, stability trikes and bikes that carry two passengers up front are wider and can struggle to get through the bollards, he said.

“Unless you’re perfectly lined up, you could clip a bollard and that could impact you and knock you over,” he said. “We have a lot of trails, and we want to be encouraging mode shift, which means having an improved user experience on our trails. And that means not having people worrying about unnecessary bollards.”

Noting there is little data documenting incidents of cyclists or others colliding with bollards, council also plans to ask the CRD to start compiling data on such accidents.

“Having more data moving forward to better understand the impact of bollards on trails will help justify the removal and help inform future decision making as well,” said Phelps Bondaroff.

The letter will suggest the removal be done in conjunction with the CRD’s plans for widening and improving lighting on the trails. Last year, the CRD approved a $53.5-million regional trails widening and lighting project.

Edward Pullman, director with Capital Bike, which was created by the merger of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition and Greater Victoria Bike to Work Society, applauded the move by Saanich and said it’s been a long time coming.

“I’m hopeful that now that it’s a transportation committee that’s going to take another look at this, look at the best practices from across North America and elsewhere and see that this is something that should be changed and, you know, frankly, should have been changed many years ago,” he said, noting the idea was floated in 2017 by then Saanich councillor Vic Derman. “Better late than never.”

Pullman said there are a lot of incidents of cyclists hitting rigid bollards.

“The problem is people make mistakes. And what happens when you make a mistake and you go into one of those bollards,” he said.

Pullman said the dangers to cyclists need to be weighed against the likelihood of a vehicle ever accessing one of the trails.

“They’re preventing vehicles from going on the trail. Well, is that a problem?” he said, adding the province’s new active transportation guidelines state bollards are a real danger to cyclists and road users.

“Trail bollards should be used as a last resort when you’re having the issue of vehicles encroaching on the trail.”

Pullman argued that trails should be viewed as commuter corridors rather than simply paths for leisurely walks and rides.

[email protected]