County Line Trail

Richland B & O Trail


The Richland B & O Trail traverses 18.5 miles of former rail corridor from Butler to Mansfield, Ohio in Richland County. [Scroll past 'Trail Facts' to continue reading.]

Bellville
Bellville, OH

Latest Update: 11/1/19 - Flex Posts Installed on Trail in Bellvillle

Bellville, OH - It's been 5 years of bollard-free trail travel on the Richland B&O Trail in Richland County. That is, until last week when 6 flexible posts / markers were installed in Bellville, Ohio.

To clarify, solid bollards stand alongside the trail, but those that were placed directly on the trail surface were removed in 2014. This was due in large part to 2 bollard crashes in Bellville along the trail. One crash in 2012, proved fatal. While another landed an 80-year-old bicyclist in the hospital in serious condition in 2014.

The 6 flex posts / markers have been installed at the Rt. 13 crossing and further to the north along the trail. Like their solid body predecessors, they have been placed directly on the centerline of the trail.

Are flex posts a safe alternative to their solid, stationary counterparts? If they were, there would be no need for the warning given by the park district in the post below. Learn more about flex-posts on multi-use trails.


10/18/19 - Crew Lends Hands for B&O Trail Clean Up

Richland County, OH

10/18/19

10/11/19 - Trail Improvements / Repairs Continue

Bellville, OH - Two trailside bollards have been removed at the parking area near Ogle Street in Bellville, Ohio.

Richland B&O Trail
These Bollards Were Removed in Bellville, OH - Richland B&O Trail

While bollards installed on the trail surface present an obvious danger, those next to a trail can also pose a threat. Some are so close that if you ride along the edge of the trail you can strike them with your handlebar.

And if you happen to wander off the trail -- unexpectedly -- at the wrong spot, you risk running into a bollard, which can prove to be a serious or even life-threatening crash. Learn more about common unsafe conditions on multi-use trails.

10/7/19 - Trail Erosion Control Work

Richland County, OH

9/30/19 - Trail Section Closure Coming

Richland County, OH

9/14/19 - Trail Maintenance & Repair Progress

Richland County, OH - A summary on the trail ongoing trail work on the Richland B&O Trail.


8/30/19 - Trail Work Continues

Richland County, OH - "Additional surface work is targeted, weather permitting, to work on the B&O Trail as follows...

Lexington: On Wednesday 9/04, work will occur behind Heartland Church. Riders should be able to reroute via the parking lot.

On Thursday 9/5, Construction will start near the washroom Pavilion by the parks. Riders should be able to ride around the impacted area using the parking lot.

On Friday 9/6, work will be completed just north of the recycling station. Riders should be able to ride in the grass to the east of the Trail.

Butler: Monday 9/9 and Tuesday 9/10 - This will necessitate closing the Trail from Traxler Rd north to SR 97.

8/28/19 - Short Term Trail Closures

Richland County, OH - A contractor will be working near the Bellville Bike Depot and the Hines Ave bridge on 8/29 and 8/30 to remediate several bumps along the B&O trail surface.

More bump removal work is scheduled for 9/03/19 from Marion Avenue south to Deer Park. The work is expected to take 2 days to complete.

8/9/19 - New Trail Signs Erected

Richland County, OH - "...To make navigation easier for the visitors who come looking for the trail, there needed to be high quality, informational signs tailored to the trail’s different entry points." more

7/9/19 - Land Preservation and a B&O Trail Connection

Mansfield, OH - "...Development of trails and two parking lots are anticipated to begin sometime in the next few years..." more

7/4/19 - Upcoming Trail Section Closure July 10

Mansfield, OH - "The Richland B&O Trail will be closed from Marion Avenue to Deer Park on Wednesday morning to permit repairs to a culvert near mile marker #15." more

6/6/19 - Vehicle Break-In Attempt at Millsboro Trailhead

Mansfield, OH - "A man who police say was impersonating a detective attempted to break into a woman's vehicle at 9:25 a.m. Thursday at the Richland B&O Trail parking lot on Millsboro Road." more

4/30/19 - Tree Trimming & Brush Clearing

Lexington, OH - "Trail Alert! Asplundh Tree will be on the Trail south of Lexington and on toward Bellville clearing utility line easements the next few days. If you roll up on them, please slow down and walk your bike..." more

4/20/19 - More Bollards Removed From Trail

Safety Improvements
Safety Improvements along the Richland B&O Trail in NE Ohio

Richland County, OH - In 2014, trail bollards were removed from the surface of the B&O Trail due to a fatality that resulted from a bollard crash.

Earlier this month, the removal of 2 steel trailside bollards signalled the beginning of further safety improvements along the trail. (To learn more about why trailside bollards pose a hazard, see this trail safety video.)

Volunteers Dough Kempf and Jeffrey Heyde removed the bollards by cutting them off at the base with a torch, filling the hole with gravel and covering the opening with top soil to level the surface.

For those who may be interested in removing these hazards along your trail, Doug offered a description of the process.

Doug: "...it took us around an hour to cut off a set of 2 bollards and fill the hole. That is assuming that you are using a cutting torch to cut off a set of 2 bollards. We cut them off flush or maybe even slightly below ground level so mowing shouldn't be a problem..."

He also offered these helpful tips:

  • If the bollards collected water inside, it may be difficult to burn them off or at least it may slow you down or build up pressure... if this is a concern, you might want to drill a hole in one before applying the torch...
  • If you have bollards and/or concrete fill that weren't set deep enough, frost may cause the remaining material to push out of the ground over time... If you see evidence of this, you might want to consider digging them out.
  • ...have one or two "safety/helper" people on hand to protect the public and the person using the torch. Best to block off the area somewhat.
  • Good idea to have a fire extinguisher and/or water on hand just in case.

Our thanks to Jeff and Doug for their time, effort and expertise!

4/12/19 - Bellville Bike Depot Renovations

Bellville, OH - "Bellville Mayor Teri Brenkus cut the ribbon Friday morning during a ceremony celebrating the improvements to the Bellville Bike Depot." more...

1/25/19 - B&O Trail gets $1,000 Donation

Mansfield, OH - "...Mike Solon, Richland B&O Bike Trail Manager said the donation was a great start to covering recent renovations on the path." more...

1/17/19 - Grant Sought to Build Connector Trail

Mansfield, OH - "The City of Mansfield is applying to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for a 2019 Clean Ohio Trail Fund grant to build a 1.13-mile bike trail. It would connect the existing B&O Trail to the newly constructed Trimble Road Trail." more...

1/16/19 - B&O Trail Manager Hired

Mansfield, OH - "Jason Larson, Executive Director, Richland County Park District, announces the hiring of Mike Solon as the Richland B&O Trail Manager..." more

1/7/19 - Trail Section Closure

Butler, OH - From facebook.com/slowrollmansfield/, "Purdy Construction is starting clearing the Butler bridge log jam today and will be there until about Wed. 1/09. The [.5-mile] section of trail from 97 to the bridge and the opposite side of the bridge from Butler will be blocked through that time."

10/17/18 - Input Wanted for B&O Trail Plan

Richland County, OH - "The Richland County Park District is in the process of creating a long-term, strategic plan for the B&O Trail and wants your input!

Please take our survey.

10/4/18 - Mansfield Approves Trail Connector Plan

Mansfield, OH - "Mansfield City Council on Tuesday approved an amended bill to fund the design of a trail connecting the Richland B&O Trail to a Trimble Road multi-use path..." more

9/19/18 - Proposed Plan to Connect Mansfield Trails

A proposed acquisition of land that abuts the B&O Trail has lead to a proposal to connect the trail with a 1.2-mile trail section along Trimble Road.

This connection would be the first off-road route to connect the B& O Trail with a residential neighborhood on Mansfield's SW side. Learn more.

9/19/16 - Where are the Trail Rules? - by Scott B. Gerhart

The B&O website does not have any rules stating that horseback riding is prohibited. In fact it does state that some of the trails are shared by many users. Furthermore there are no signs or rules posted at the parking areas in Lexington or Bellville...

[OB: This post is an instructive example of how trails are sometimes managed without sufficient thought given to the visitors' experience. Are horses allowed? Can I ride my electric bike? Are dogs allowed? Rules should be clearly posted on the managing organization's website, as well as the trail or its trailheads.]


Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Richland County, OH

Class: A3++

Length: 18.5 miles / asphalt

Condition: Good

Facilities: In parks at both ends of the trail, and trailside in Bellville and Butler.

Parking: A centrally located lot in Lexington, OH. (See trail map for more options.)

Worth Noting: The B&O Trail was the first in its area to become a bollard-free trail. Learn more about the trail bollard hazard.

Map: Richland B&O Trail or Sm Screen Version

Elevation Map: Riding from North to South

More Trails in this Region: NE OH Trails List

The B & O is primarily a rural rail-trail with short sections through two small towns -- Lexington & Bellville -- and endpoints in Butler and Mansfield, OH.

It offers some changes in scenery along its route: From open farmlands, woods and river crossings to short sections alongside a factory and a former grain station.

The trail takes a northwesterly route out of Butler passing a local campground which is largely out of view, due to the greenbelt of trees and brush that line the trail. But if you look closely after the river bridge crossing, a very short asphalt spur on your left reveals a path to the camping area and the River Trail Crossing Campground.

In Bellville the trail passes within a block or so of the heart of this small town while crossing Main Street (Route 13). Use caution when crossing, particularly when riding southeast. The structure of a nearby bridge partially obscures your view of approaching traffic.

A rest station with restrooms, water, picnic table and bike fix-it stand is available here. As are nearby food and ice cream establishments.

Leaving Bellville, the trail again crosses the Clear Fork Mohican River and passes through a cool wooded spot as it bends northward toward Lexington. You'll cross Rt. 97 and then encounter one more crossroad before passing directly underneath the I-71 bridges, a short distance from the I-71 / Rt. 97 interchange.

Kochheiser Rd
Kochheiser Road south of Lexington, OH

Just before the bikeway passes under Main Street (Rt. 42) in Lexington, you'll see the Y-not bike shop on your left at the old at-grade street crossing. The shop is near the mid-point of this bikeway which could prove handy, should you have a mechanical or need a tire or tube. Rentals are also available in season.

The bikeway continues on with brush and tree cover as you head north passing a small lake, before skirting the perimeter of a wetland further north.

After entering Mansfield by crossing Millsboro Road, the trail begins a slight descent as it passes under a few city street bridges and near Kingwood Center (no access from the bikeway) before ending at North Lake Park.

Mural
Trailside Mural by Mark Calloway in Mansfield, Ohio

At the Park Avenue bridge underpass, there's a paved ramp up to street level. Take the ramp and you'll find the closest trailside food stops along the northern portion of the bikeway.

You'll find mile markers, an occasional bench and a number of parking areas scattered along the way. The rest stations in Bellville and Lexington provide restrooms, water fountains and parking.

The bikeway is mostly flat with a few turns here and there. Elevation gain is minimal but noticeable coming out of North Lake Park, where you're climbing a slight grade. Heading south from Lexington the trail maintains a gradual descent all the way to Butler. But winds have to be favorable to realize this benefit.

There are approximately 18 road crossings, two of which are county highways. Brush is not always cut back throughout the summer season, another reason for caution at all road crossings along this bikeway.

Unfortunately, the B&O Trail has seen its share of tragedies. The most recent of which, was a fatal bollard crash in 2012. After surveying local residents and riders, it was discovered that the bollards had done more harm, resulting in yet another death years earlier, 2 known serious injuries and numerous collisions.

Bollard Removal
Volunteers filling the Hole Left by Center Bollard Removal

Thankfully, important safety improvements have been made since that time. In 2014, all center bollards (those placed directly in the middle of the trail surface) were removed from the B&O.

In addition, 2 other trail managing groups within the region also removed their solid center trail bollards. Yet another Ohio bikeway constructed their trail, the Tallgrass Trail, using no bollards at all.

Unfortunately, the bollard hazard remains in place on many Ohio trails and elsewhere. For if those communities are not yet aware of this danger, or have not experienced a tragedy themselves, they are none the wiser. Learn more about this ongoing danger on many trails.

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