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Thread: Bollard placement kills cyclist in James County

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    Steve O's Avatar
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    Default Bollard placement kills cyclist in James County

    https://wtvr.com/2020/01/25/cyclist-...capital-trail/

    I think it likely occurred here.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    A steel bollard in the woods at the intersection of two trails. What idiocy. And now a man is dead.

    Apologies if this is a repeat, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with my crusade against dangerous and useless bollards, I recommend reading this:
    https://www.ohiobikeways.net/ongoing_bollard_hazard.htm

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    Tragic ending no doubt and likely bad placement for a bollard, but that headline is akin to "cyclist crashes into car" when a car pulls out in front of the cyclist. The bollard placement did not kill the rider. Lack of attention, riding too fast, or something similar resulted in the cyclist crashing into a bollard and his death.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hancockbs View Post
    Tragic ending no doubt and likely bad placement for a bollard, but that headline is akin to "cyclist crashes into car" when a car pulls out in front of the cyclist. The bollard placement did not kill the rider. Lack of attention, riding too fast, or something similar resulted in the cyclist crashing into a bollard and his death.
    We spend literally tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars every year on ensuring that inattentive drivers can't be killed by things next to roads. I guess I'd be ok if the standard were "if you're playing with your phone in the car you deserve to die like a cyclist" but as long as the standard is "road facilities must (by law) be built to protect inattentive drivers" then the same standard should apply to bicycle facilities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    We spend literally tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars every year on ensuring that inattentive drivers can't be killed by things next to roads. I guess I'd be ok if the standard were "if you're playing with your phone in the car you deserve to die like a cyclist" but as long as the standard is "road facilities must (by law) be built to protect inattentive drivers" then the same standard should apply to bicycle facilities.
    And an excellent video supporting this viewpoint.
    https://youtu.be/9s0zb0FSM2s

    Quote Originally Posted by Hancockbs View Post
    Tragic ending no doubt and likely bad placement for a bollard, but that headline is akin to "cyclist crashes into car" when a car pulls out in front of the cyclist. The bollard placement did not kill the rider. Lack of attention, riding too fast, or something similar resulted in the cyclist crashing into a bollard and his death.
    Perhaps better would be: "City officials in James County deliberately placed a hazard on a multi-use path--contrary to FHWA guidance--resulting in the death of a person riding a bike."

    If one places a physical hazard in the middle of a trail (or in the middle of a road, for that matter), eventually someone will run into it. Full stop. Hence mstone's point made above.

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    Poor trail design has been a contributing factor in both of my (ultimately minor) crashes since I moved back to DC five years ago. The only factor? No, but we should be designing infrastructure that reduces, rather than increases, the chance that a small mistake becomes a life-changing crash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    Perhaps better would be: "City officials in James County deliberately placed a hazard on a multi-use path--contrary to FHWA guidance--resulting in the death of a person riding a bike."

    I have no qualms with that headline, assuming is was a City officials in James County who was at fault. I am not advocating that bollards should be there or that riders should be less protected than drivers, just that we yell and scream when someone posts a headline blaming a cyclist with a crash that they didn't cause. We should be similarly careful when blaming inanimate objects for a cyclist's crash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    We spend literally tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars every year on ensuring that inattentive drivers can't be killed by things next to roads. I guess I'd be ok if the standard were "if you're playing with your phone in the car you deserve to die like a cyclist" but as long as the standard is "road facilities must (by law) be built to protect inattentive drivers" then the same standard should apply to bicycle facilities.
    You miss the point of my message. I did not advocate for lesser safety standards when it comes to bicycle facilities. I advocated for factual statements when a bicyclist crashes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hancockbs View Post
    You miss the point of my message. I did not advocate for lesser safety standards when it comes to bicycle facilities. I advocated for factual statements when a bicyclist crashes.
    I mean, if there was no bollard there, i.e. it wasn't placed there by someone because they don't grow out of the ground without human placement, the person couldn't have hit a bollard (at that location at least), and so presumably wouldn't have died. I don't think it's that much of a stretch to make this claim. It's not the case that the bollard placement causes all those that ride through the area to die, or that the rider couldn't have died crashing in some other way, but I don't think that's what Steve O is claiming. I believe his claim is that "if this bollard had not been where it was, this rider would not have died during this ride".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hancockbs View Post
    You miss the point of my message. I did not advocate for lesser safety standards when it comes to bicycle facilities. I advocated for factual statements when a bicyclist crashes.
    No you didn't, you advocated for a specific interpretation of events. A headline will never list all contributing factors, only a couple of words that fit into a headline. If you want the focus to be on speculation about one out of all the things that could have possibly happened differently in the chain of events leading to the conclusion I guess that's your stylistic choice--but I think many people could reasonably believe that identifying the final link in the chain, the one which is most definite and the one most amenable to correction via public policy, would make more sense.

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    I can see bollards at both sides of the bridge. Using 3D View(Switch to Satellite view, then to the lower right above + and -, click on the globe symbol, then 3D. Use Ctrl+Left drag to rotate, and mouse scroll wheel to move around), here is a good picture:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by n18; 01-27-2020 at 07:32 PM.

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