K-W’s most dangerous intersection?

Reading the K-W record this evening I came across a startling story: ‘Cyclist felled by barricade along Iron Horse Trail

This spot isn’t on my daily ride, but I’ve passed by it many times, luckily during daylight hours.  I’m startled how it never occurred to me how deadly this is barricade is. Reading the article, many cyclists have run into this obstruction, and unfortunately one cyclist was even killed a few years back.

This quote is great – ‘The trail is a smooth ribbon of asphalt that winds through wooded areas and behind backyards in central and north Kitchener. Because the train tracks cross diagonally, they’re dangerous to cross at full speed on a bicycle. So city officials put up the barricades on either side of the tracks that partially block the trail, forcing cyclists to dismount, or ride very slowly around them.’

From memory this barricade seems ridiculous. Save a cyclist from crossing diagonal tracks by putting a dark gray metal beam across the trail and at waist height.

I found the photo below on google maps. I’ve zoomed and cropped, and it’s even more ridiculous. This photo is approaching the barricade from the south.

I’m going to have to pay a visit as I want to test out the reflective tape on the barricade with the various bike lights I use.  I don’t use high powered trail lights, but commuter lights. Commuter lights make you more visible to other vehicles rather than light up a trail in front of you.

I can’t believe Jim Witmer (city director of operations) thinks it would make it more dangerous to put a safety light around the barricade.

What ridiculous ‘barricades’ have you seen around your community?

16 thoughts on “K-W’s most dangerous intersection?

  1. Some of our trails have them.
    Back in May a 66 year old woman was hospitalized after coming in contact with one of those barriers. (http://www.610cktb.com/news/local/story.aspx?ID=1414905)

    Although I understand why cities put these in or those ridiculous ‘dismount to cross’ signs, cities need to come up with something better.

    A simple stop sign would do IMO. If someone on a bike is stupid enough to blow through these trail crossings without stopping or at least double checking to make sure it’s clear, then it’s their own fault.
    I believe Peterborough has signs on the road to indicate to motorists that there are trail crossings ahead.

  2. Maybe they should just put lights along the whole trail, so it wouldn’t matter if people lost their night vision. It would make the trail feel a lot safer at night in other ways, too (thinking of the murder some months ago).

  3. When I ride my bike to work I go by this, and many other, barricades along the Iron Horse. The serve the purpose to slow you down, but I find them very annoying. Especially when two riders travelling in opposite directions meet at one. A stop sign with a warning light would be much better in my opinion, but I’m not a city planner, so what do I know?

  4. I’ll agree that these barricades are not a great solution to the original problem, that the tracks are crossed on a bad angle. They do seem to be the location of a lot of serious injuries, so probably something should change.

    On the other hand,I have cheap commuter and they certainly light up these barricades enough for me to see them just fine. I can’t imagine a car driver complaining that he can’t safely speed through the countryside at night without headlights because the roads are lined with dangerous ditches and telephone poles and full of curves.

    Although it seems annoying, I suppose the city does have to take people’s terrible decisions into account when planning routes etc.

    If they are going to install overhead lights, I’d prefer to see them over places where the Iron Horse intersects roads – so drivers can actually see cyclists & pedestrians crossing in the evening and at night.

    1. The barricades shouldn’t be there in the first place, day or night. Put a small curve in the trail to force a perpendicular crossing.

  5. Here’s another article from July 2010 that references the Victoria Park Iron Horse barricade – http://www.therecord.com/news/article/294250–city-trail-plan-wins-high-praise

    Again lights are requested for the barricades in Victoria Park. These aren’t the only barricades along the Iron Horse trail, there are plenty of partial barricades to prevent cars for entering and to slow down cyclists at road intersections (@Octavian).

    I completely agree with @mikethebike that lights at trail / road intersections are simply common sense.

  6. Bill Bean’s blog won’t let me comment anymore, can’t imagine why… a commenter there left a great idea about glow-in-the-dark paint and I think that’s a great solution, if I had some money I’d just go and do it myself.

    These ‘barricades’ are ridiculous and lazy. I guess the point is to keep people from riding in front of trains but I can’t imagine that is a huge problem as the trains are slow and loud when they do roll through there and they do so far less often than they used to since Kitchener Frame isn’t around anymore.

    The safest thing for cycling would be to remove them completely because the gates basically line the wheels up with the tracks and then they get stuck and folks crash. It’s really simple in the winter to cross the tracks because the gates are open for the ploughs, so I guess the city has decided that trains aren’t dangerous in the winter…

    1. Bill moderates all the comments and he sometimes takes a day or two to read and okay each comment. I don’t think he gets paid for his blog so we’ll just have to be patient. =)

      I suggested rumblestrips which are present at other places on the trail. That would certainly help.

      How much does glow in the dark paint cost and how widely available is it? Just doing it ourselves might be the best option. I can drop a few dollars on a project like that. Maybe I’ll paint some on other signposts on the trail too… like at road intersections.

Comments are closed.