Yarn bombers strike Dumfries in bollard protest

GUERILLA knitters have staged a “yarn bombing” attack on bollards and chicanes on paths in Dumfries to “protect” them from cyclists and walkers.

A 'yarn bombing' attack on barries in Dumfries. Picture: cyclingdumfries.wordpress.com
A 'yarn bombing' attack on barries in Dumfries. Picture: cyclingdumfries.wordpress.com

A series of reflective knitted bollard covers and arrows mysteriously appeared on cycle paths around the town overnight.

The Bollard (and Chicane) Protection Authority, which described itself as “a group of concerned street furniture lovers” has claimed responsibly.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The group said it had acted to highlight poorly-positioned obstructions.

A 'yarn bombing' attack on a bollard in Dumfries. Picture: cyclingdumfries.wordpress.com

A statement on its website said: “Bollards (and chicanes) do a sterling job of keeping cars and other motorised traffic out of cycle paths, and cutting through traffic.

“But when badly sited and designed, they act as a hazard to cyclists and visually impaired pedestrians.

“We have tried to draw attention to badly-sited and effectively invisible bollards in the past, but local authorities have failed to act.

“So, with the help of some brightly-coloured and retro-reflective yarn, we have decided to take matters into our own hands.”

The group said it had targeted Dumfries because it had “some nice cycle paths but far too many invisible bollards( and chicanes)”.

It said: “Bollards were fitted with custom-designed bollard cosies, chicanes with arrows or strips.

“As with all of the protective items we create, they were carefully designed to be highly visible in all lighting conditions and with retro-reflective thread ensuring they could also be seen at night.

“Speeding cyclists have already taken lumps out of some of these neglected items of street furniture – and have come off badly themselves. We cannot stand idly by.”

However, Dumfries and Galloway Council dismissed the yarns as litter.

A spokesman said: “If the positioning of bollards and other street furniture is an issue for people, they should raise the matter with the council directly.

“However colourful the yarn may be, it is littering and will be removed as part of ongoing maintenance.”

Previous “yarn bombing” attacks have included opponents of Edinburgh’s trams covering tram stops and ticket machines with knitted protest slogans.

These included: “£1 billion down the drain”, “Trams cost to council tax pa £15 million a year for 30 years” and “Still a tramway to hell”.

A spokesman for the group said: “This is the first action the group has taken, but difficult-to-see bollards (and chicanes) are a problem everywhere.

“Where a town or city needs action, we will make arrangements to strike again.

“For instance, we hear drivers in Edinburgh have a great deal of difficulty spotting the new bollards in George Street, given the number of times they’ve knocked them over.”

An Edinburgh City Council spokeswoman said: “Bollards were initially installed on George Street to deter cars from driving on the new cycle lane.

“However, a number of these bollards have since been removed as drivers have become used to changes on the street and are no longer posing a danger to cyclists using the dedicated lane.”