The dangers of safety

This is a continuance of a previous blog entry, which I wrote on encountering Toby Bollards for the first time. Do read the initial post to get the full… impact… of this one.

This post consists mostly of three photographs, which speak quite clearly for themselves. They were taken soon after the incident on Clarence Road in Bristol, where Bristol City Council installed a series of concrete Toby Bollards as a protection for cyclists, and in doing so reduced the road width for vehicles.

I received these pictures in an email, after the person who arrived on the scene shortly after the incident and took the pictures read my blog. I understand the incident occurred at about 18h20 in the evening of 12th October, in heavy traffic, and the driver claims he was doing about 10 mph at the time. The inference is that he was forced over by oncoming traffic and unable to avoid the bollards.

You’ll note the obvious damage and that the front tyre is ripped open. What you might not notice is that the airbags have gone off. Often that will mean the vehicle is a write off. That there is sand there suggests the bottom of the engine suffered damage too. You pretty much know all I do now, so here’re the photo’s.




You’re probably thinking what I’m thinking. It is absurd to endanger the life of one person in an attempt to save another. It is possible Bristol City Council are already retreating from the use of Toby Bollards, although they form a part of the proposed design for Temple Gate. If a car was so damaged in striking one of these low tomb stone like obstructions, how would a biker come off? And finally, if a cyclist was actually cycling past at the time of the incident, do you think they would have been protected from traffic by the bollard or seriously endangered by it?

To clarify. I have no known association with the driver or photographer aside from his email and permission to use the shots (from which I’ve obscured the numberplate). I’ve had emailed discussions with various people over these Toby Bollards and I am a member of the Motorcycle Action Group MAG.

4 responses to “The dangers of safety”

  1. Hi Mark,

    I didn’t witness the incident; this was the scene when I arrived. The driver allowed me to take the photos.
    Also the damage is much worse than a damaged tyre, shame the photos don’t convey that.

    What made me stop although I was late for an appointment was the way the front suspension had been pushed back into the wheel arch. If I wasn’t running late I could have taken better photos. I imagine the transmission case was also damaged by the suspension/driveshaft being torn out causing transmission fluid to spill on to the road.

    The extent of the damage was far worse than I had expected. I wonder how many other incidents like this have happened?

    There might be a place for these bollards but not here or in similar places, I do hope they don’t get used elsewhere. There is also an unnecessary maintenance cost, as since they have been installed a dozen or more have been completely broken.

    I’m glad you have taken the time to write your blog posts; I felt I should have done something similar when I first saw these but never took the time.



  2. Coincidentally, the cycle lane made local and national news today:
    “Bristol City Council said it “accepted” the bollards had not worked and would replace them with “more robust kerbs”….the bollards were “always an experiment”, and that work to replace them should be completed by the end of November.”


  3. MAG article on the death of the toby bollards:


  4. Shouldn’t the driver have stopped, rather than swerved (presumably without looking) into a lane, which could have been occupied?

    Seems like the ‘tombstones’ did their job…


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