The page you requested has moved and you've automatically been taken to its new location.

Please update your link or bookmark after closing this notice.

Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Bicycle Path Entry Control

This presentation discusses methods to control entry to "Bicycle Paths". It considers issues related to bollards, gates, and other barriers. Although this presentation uses the term "Bicycle Path", the concepts presented are appplicable to most nonmotorized shared use paths.

Disclaimer: This presentation is provided in the interest of information exchange, and reflects the views of the authors. Providing this resource does not necessarily represent endorsement by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Ed Cox, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, City of Sacramento, CA
Maggie O'Mara, Senior Transportation Engineer, California Department of Transportation

Four large bollards, each approximately twelve inches diameter, and topped with larger disks protruding into path. bicycle with saddlebags shown larger than opening

Topic: Preventing unauthorized vehicle entry to bicycle paths

  • Look at examples
  • Discuss what works well and what doesn't
  • What's needed in guidance
  • Get Your input on next steps

Bicycle Path Entry

Photo of bollard with yellow painted diamond in center of bike path. path crosses sidewalk and pedestrian crosswalk at intersection

The point where a paved bicycle path connects to or crosses a road.

Why talk about bicycle path entry control?

  • Many design decisions made here
  • Design decisions impact user safety.
  • Guidelines/standards need improvement

What's wrong with this picture?

Photo of path meets sidewalk, middle bollard of 3 folded down

This meets current standards, but...

What's wrong with this picture?

Photo of six safety issues circled in red, path meets sidewalk, middle bollard of three folded down, fire hydrant, two outer bollards all circled

Creates safety and mobility problems.

Entry Control Objectives

  1. Meet needs of path
    - Safety, Access, Mobility
  2. Keep unauthorized vehicles out
    - allow service & emergency access
  • Path entry control objectives: meet user needs, keep out or discourage access by unauthorized motor vehicles , while allowing access by emergency services
  • Questions:
    • How can path entry control meet user needs?
    • How extreme should vehicle access controls be?
    • How can service/emergency access the path?

Path Users

Primary Users Support Users
  • Bicyclists
  • Pedestrians
  • Skaters
  • Public Utilities
  • Maintenance
  • Police
  • Fire/EMS

Path needs to connect to street

Photo of asphalt path abrubtly ending, six inch drop off to dirt

  • Path ends at City boundary; no coordination with adjacent city
  • Obviously doesn't serve user needs
  • Shouldn't be opened for use until it connects to a road or another bicycle path

Barriers don't meet user safety and mobility needs

Photo of two lengths of chain link fence, perpendicular to the path require bikers to make two immediately consecutive hair pin turns in the middle of the path just as path meets sidewalk and street

  • Misguided attempt to prevent bike crashes or prevent vehicle entry certainly doesn't meet user needs

Barrier doesn't meet user needs

Highway style guardrail completely blocks bike path before it meets the sidewalk and street

  • Does this meet user safety and mobility needs?
  • Doesn't connect user to anything!

Barrier doesn't meet user needs

Photo of six posts, approximate diameter of chain link fence post, block path at sidewalk. creates six openings of approximately 12 inches, seventh opening approximately twenty four inches

  • Attempt to prevent motorcycle entry Invites head-on crash between two bicyclists or bicyclist and pedestrian

Entry control doesn't meet user safety needs

Photo of two bollards in path, both folded down

  • Posts left down are crash hazard. Post spacing doesn't divide path into two paths of travel – bicyclists could collide in between posts.

The most common entry control solution

Photo of three bollards, one in center, other two on either side and just off of bike path asphault. center bollard has yellow diamond painted on asphault

Consider sightlines and approach speeds

Photo of three bollards, one in center, other two on either side and just off of bike path asphault. center bollard has yellow diamond painted on asphault , alternate angle

Consider path of travel for barriers

Photo of three bollards, two bike lengths before the sidewalk, each with yellow diamonds painted on asphault. Outer bollards block path in either direction, shown by bicycle in center of right hand lane lined up with right most bollard

  • Not enough clearance
  • Bollards in travel path
  • Lane assignment confusion
  • Stop sign should be closer to road
  • 1 bollard in middle would be adequate
  • Then only one would need to be removable

Apply barriers only when needed and effective

Photo of cement path ending on grass several bike lengths from street, no sidewalk. Single bollard in center, open on either side of path

  • Blindly following bollard guidance but does it really stop vehicles

Provide adequate clearance, no protrusions

Photo of four large bollards, each approximately 12 inches diameter, and topped with larger disks protruding into path. bicycle with saddlebags shown larger than opening

  • Need standard for width of opening, no projecting pieces, diameter, number of lanes. Even if there was 5' clearance between caps this design shouldn't be allowed. yet standards don't prohibit this.
  • American river bike path, installation by Federal agency.

Flush design for post sleeve, but chain is crash hazard

Left hand photo of four bollards in cement where path meets sidewalk. Right hand photo shows close up of same, metal ring attached to base of each post includes several links of chain

  • Inherent problem - maintenance and securing from theft - which they didn't even implement
  • Inherent problem - securing from theft, requires focus on putting everything back.
  • Creates hard to see crash hazard if bollard removed and not replaced or not secured and it's stolen

Flush design needed for post sleeve

Left hand photo of missing bollard, sleeve protruding up into path, yellow diamond marking on asphault around empty sleeve. Rright hand photo of bollard missing from concrete sleeve, sleeve protruding up, small pink ring around empty sleeve, perhaps painted, several links of chain remain attached

  • Inherent problem with bollards in sleeves - not replaced,
  • Serves no purpose while creating crash potential.
  • Standards don't prohibit
  • Creates crash potential for users
  • Need to require flush surface when removed - no chain, collar, rings in paved surface

Fold-down post often not folded back up.

Photo of two bollards where path meets sidewalk, and street beyond. right hand bollard folded down

  • 2nd movable bollard type is is fold down
  • They have their own problems when placed in paved path - often left in down position, undermines objectives 1 and 2
  • Again, creates uncertainty in lane assignment

Not used as designers intended

Photo of three bollards where path meets sidewalk, then pedestrian crosswalk in street. middle bollard has painted yellow diamond, outer bollards have painted half diamonds. middle bollard is folded down

  • Better but no cigar, clear lane assignment but, bollard in pavement creates obstruction
  • Doesn't violate standards.
  • Standards don't address fold down
  • Open to vandalism/others folding them down.

Folded-down posts are subject to damage

Photo of four bollards where path meets sidewalk, all bollards are folded down

  • Crash hazard, doesn't prevent vehicle entry
  • Could this have been simplified by narrowing path to 10 ro 12' and having one bollard on centerline, or having 10' of path and a separate gate for service access?

Damaged posts serve no purpose

Close up of bollard folded down shows chain links at base and protrusion of metal sleeve

  • More crash potential than sleeve.
  • Was hit and damaged, now it can't even be raised again. Accomplishes neither objective.

Damaged posts are a safety hazard.

Photo of two bollards, bollard in middle of path missing, metal protrusion from sleeve remains, bollard on right side missing, no protrusion evident

  • Fold down with missing posts
  • Kept getting hit.
  • Finally cut off bases. Now no posts.
  • Occasional vehicle on path less of a problem than bollard hazard to bicyclists

Post remains are a safety hazard.

Photo of two bollards, left missing and metal sleeve protrusion remains, right bollard is severed about twelve inches from the ground

  • Crash potential, extremely nonstandard width

More Slides!


Updated: 2/10/2014
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000