COLUMBUS -- A large protrusion greets bicyclists along the Olentangy Trail, one that would likely cause serious crashes if not marked. Roughly 6 inches tall, the hazardous, boil-shaped eruption is near the bridge at the west end of Broad Meadows Boulevard. And someone wants you to know about it.
Spray-painted in white and red, the defect has arrows pointing toward it and is preceded by "DANGER" stenciled in red on the pavement.
It is the latest and most-prominent in a series of mysterious color-coded roadway markings apparently left to alert cyclists to cracks, dips and heaves in the pavement.
Though technically vandalism, the marks also may unwittingly be helping maintenance crews, said Larry Peck, deputy director of Metro Parks, which maintains about 70 miles of Olentangy, Alum Creek, Blacklick and Scioto trails.
No one knows who's marking the pavement, and no one is overly concerned.
"I would assume it's a cyclist," said Shelly Richardson, greenways trails park manager. "We've never seen anyone do it. We don't have a clue."
"They're like maintenance vigilantes," Peck said. "Good for them."
"This is sort of like a crime for the greater good," said Jody Dzuranin, operations manager for Consider Biking, an advocacy group. "Technically, it is defacing public property. A solution would be having a better way to report hazards."