Some Fort Belvoir bicyclists have experienced difficulties getting off post, through the access control points at the post’s gates.
“When the in-ground barriers are flush to the ground, there can still be a half-inch to an inch of a gap between the machine and the road surface,” said Frank Hentschel, director of Garrison’s Directorate of Emergency Services. “These access control barriers act as another level of security, with bars coming up from the roadway.
“Vehicles’ tires can typically handle the slight change more easily than bicycle tires,” he said, suggesting cyclists dismount their bicycles and walk over the barriers, to prevent the thinner bicycle tires from getting caught in the mechanisms, possibly hurting the cyclist.
On some parts of the bike paths, the bike path space is combined with the road space and isn’t a separate path beside the road, he said.
“Where there is no sidewalk or bike path, cyclists and vehicle drivers are asked to share the road and cyclists may want to dismount to cross the barrier,” he said.
As an added safety measure, DES has installed water-filled barriers in front of the in-ground barriers, to alert vehicle drivers and bicycle riders and to have everyone drive more slowly over them, Hentschel said.
Similar to a sign warning motorcyclists of a gap in a bridge connection, or a large dip or bump in the road, Hentschel wants cyclists to be aware of the possible change in road surface.
“We’re asking cyclists and drivers to use extra caution around the barriers and, if they have to enter the roadway traffic, to go around the barriers,” Hentschel said.