Sonoma County Regional Parks officials have taken the first steps in reviewing the use of bollards – metal posts installed on bike and pedestrian paths to keep vehicles from driving through — following the death of a cyclist August 23rd on the West County Trail near Graton.
Santa Rosa chef Rob Reyes crashed into a bollard and died from his injuries, prompting the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition to call for removing the posts from the trail. In response, Sonoma County Regional Parks, which oversees the West County Trail, presented several alternatives to bollards, including signs, gates and speed bumps, at the September 21st meeting of the Sonoma County Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Board.
Regional Parks Planner Ken Tam said staff was seeking input from the cycling community on the alternatives, and that information could be shared with cities that are weighing in on the issue. Healdsburg, for instance, has pledged to review the use of bollards on the Foss Creek Path, and Petaluma is also in the process of reviewing its trail gateways.
Several meeting attendees called for removing the bollards from the West County Trail while parks staff continues its review, questioning whether the posts are necessary given the threat they pose to cyclists. Tam noted there had been an instance of a vehicle on a path when a gate had been left open.
Parks staff will prepare recommendations for a future meeting. In the meantime, Tam said existing bollards would be repaired and repainted to make them more visible.
UPDATE: As of 10/05, bollards have been re-painted and the path striped!
Sonoma County will require permits for cycling events on county roads involving more than 250 riders following a September 20th vote by the Board of Supervisors. Permits also will be required for events involving more than 100 riders that are considered races.
Cycling events had previously been exempt from permit requirements because cycling is considered an intended use of the roads. County officials say permits will prevent potential scheduling conflicts among events, and also will improve safety.
The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and the Santa Rosa Cycling Club opposed this measure, noting that groups of cyclists have the same right to use the roads as car or motorcycle clubs. SCBC also disagreed that the permit requirement would improve safety.