The idea for TrafficGuard® and its very first product was born in 1998.
While on a sales call at a Northern Illinois park department, Mike Schram came across what was known in the area as a “drop gate”; two galvanized steel channels bolted to a base and then padlocked together at the top utilizing a steel pin. The drop gate was relatively small; 12” wide and 18” tall mounted on an asphalt bike path. The intent was to stop unwanted vehicles from traveling down the path, while simultaneously allowing an authorized user with a key to lower them into the down position and drive over.
Mikes first impression was how hard they were to see and how dangerous they potentially were for cyclists and anyone else using the path. When he asked a few questions of the Director of Parks he learned that this bollard had already caused several accidents. The most severe of which left a cyclist and young mother a paraplegic. A lawsuit had been filed and was eventually settled for $2.8 million.
Having seen many “drop gates” of this style in the Chicagoland area, Mike decided to design a safer and effective collapsible bollard solution. As a cyclist himself, Mike began by noting the different designs of bollards on bike paths around the Chicagoland area. From there, he began to sketch some design ideas.
In early 1999, the first collapsible bollard prototype was built and test marketing began. In the fall of that same year the LPHDHB was engineered and manufactured for the first time. With the exception of some minor design changes, it is the same product you see today and still one of the most popular products produced by TrafficGuard®.
Over the 19 years that have passed since that first product, Mike deployed a strategy that served him well over his years as a Manufacturers Rep.: he listened to the customer. All of the products in TrafficGuard®’s current product line have been designed and manufactured based on customer requests for a specific bollard solution and functionality. Those customer requests have spawned 5 US and 3 Canadian Patents. Mike also stressed the importance of sourcing and manufacturing as much of TrafficGuard’s products in the United States as possible and TrafficGuard is Buy American compliant to this day.
After standardizing the market place for manually operated removable and collapsible bollard solutions, TrafficGuard® has continued to innovate. Mike became an early proponent and committee member for the ASTM F3016 crash test standard. Once the F3016 standard was finalized and passed, Mike saw an opportunity to help TrafficGuard® customers protect their employees, patrons and property. TrafficGuard® was the first bollard manufacturer to test to the ASTM F3016 standard. Product improvements and testing continue to date.