Bollards 101: Everything You Need to Know About Barrier Posts

The specialists at TrafficGuard Direct can help you choose the appropriate bollard for your needs. If you own any kind of property or building, your site may benefit from the addition of protective bollards. Follow this guide to learn more about bollards, including the various models available, what they’re composed of, as well as the various applications for which you can use these vehicle protection devices.

What are Bollards?

Bollards are metal posts designed to catch the attention of drivers in order to prevent crashes around designated areas. More than likely, you have seen bollards but may not have known what they were called—bollards are all around us. These bollard barriers are often installed outside of airports, banks, malls, schools or other popular locations. Commonly composed of steel, bollards provide the physical strength needed to deter unwanted vehicular traffic and keep sites safe. Bollards are available in fixed, removable and collapsible models, yet they all offer protection from low- and high-speed crashes.

Why Do You Need Bollards?

If you own property, you can benefit from the safeguarding bollards provide. However, people often purchase bollards for three main reasons:
  • Security/safety

    The No. 1 purpose of bollards is to make sure your property is safe and secure. Whether drivers are on the highway, in a parking lot or some place else, they can often become distracted, or they may lose control of their vehicles while driving. Other drivers, known as ram raiders, may intentionally crash into a property in order to steal valuable goods. Whatever the case, security posts provide the heavy-duty protection require that prevent cars from crashing and causing catastrophic damage.
  • Controlling site access

    When it comes to access for your property, you may find instances in which you want to restrict any entry to the site. Still, for other times, you may want to allow vehicles to drive through—even for just a short period of time. Barrier posts work excellently in both situations. While embedded bollards block traffic permanently, collapsible and removable bollards can allow drivers access when needed.
  • Aesthetic value

    Many people are increasingly using bollards to enhance their property sites to be more attractive. Architectural bollards are a common choice among business and property owners who are seeking a way to protect their site while still maintaining a sleek, appealing appearance. Other property owners enjoy the traditional look of bright yellow bollards. Some people even use bollards as a canvas on which they can create art.

Types of Bollards

While the main purpose of bollards is to thwart any incoming traffic, oftentimes property owners will have specific needs for their barrier posts. Some may want continuous protection, while others want a more adaptable option that allows vehicular traffic when needed. As you decide which type of bollard will be best for your given space, you will be able to choose from three types. See which one best suits your protection needs.
  • Permanent

    • Best for: Long-term security
Site owners who know they will want barrier posts in place for years to come often utilize permanent bollards. Because fixed bollards are installed directly into the ground, they can prevent accidental and intentional crashes on sites well into the future.  Permanent bollards are ideal for areas that frequently have heavy traffic where security is constantly required.
  • Collapsible

    • Best for: Flexible site protection
Whereas permanent bollards provide security at all times, collapsible bollards give property owners the option to have access to the site when needed. When owners want to allow vehicular or foot traffic to a site, they can simply fold these bollards down, creating safe clearance for driving.
  • Removable

    • Best for: Controlled site access
Similar to collapsible bollards, removable barrier posts allow site owners the flexibility for site entrance. Many people use removable bollards in locations where they want to prevent people or drivers from entering. To remove these bollards, owners can simply unlock and lift them from their installation site, storing the barrier posts until they next need it.

Materials and Coatings Used for Bollards

As you’re searching for your vehicle protection devices, you’ll want to find ones comprised of the leading materials and exceptional final touches. Make sure your barrier posts have the following incorporated into their design:
  • Stainless steel

    The best bollards are constructed from stainless steel for long lasting protection against harsh impacts, even from multiple crashes.
  • Rust/corrosion resistant finish

    Rust could compromise the lifespan of your bollard. To ensure they can withstand environmental conditions, you will want bollards that have a coating to prevent damaging corrosion.
  • Bright finish

    Bollards are designed to protect against accidental crashes. Still, you will want to make sure your bollards are noticeable enough to grab the attention of distracted drivers. Search for bollards in eye-catching colors, such as bold yellow, to add visual security for your site or building.
  • Reflective tape

    In addition to a bright finish, bollards should have a reflective tape coating. Barrier posts coated in this eye-catching tape are noticeable to even the most inattentive drivers.
  • Locking system

    One of bollards’ most attractive features to property owners is the manageable security they provide. When choosing a removable or collapsible bollard, you will want to find a style that offers a locking system. This provides you with flexibility when you do or don’t want the bollards to be in place, and it can give you peace of mind that your bollards are protected from outside tampering.

Uses for Bollards

Bollards can be used for virtually any application where a buildings or property sites needs protection. Most commonly, people utilize bollards to safeguard:
  • Schools and universities

    The entrances of schools and universities are often vulnerable areas. If an accident occurred here, the damage would be catastrophic. To protect schools, officials can have heavy-duty vehicle protection devices installed throughout. Universities also have high levels of congested traffic that could potentially cause accidents, especially during sporting events, concerts or other special gatherings. Bollards can dictate which areas vehicles are allowed to enter. They can also guide foot traffic.
  • Government buildings

    The government commonly utilizes bollards for a variety of areas, including courthouses, air force bases, capitol buildings, prisons, fire stations, police stations, post offices and more. Because these are such highly valued facilities—and any damage could be costly for taxpayers—physical barrier posts can keep them protected.
  • Site perimeters

    Those who frequent your property should feel safe and not have to worry about any accidental or intentional crashes onto your site. To keep them safe, property owners often install fixed bollards. Site perimeters are especially useful for protecting public property areas, like parks, that invite heavy foot traffic.
  • Bike lanes

    As biking has become an increasingly popular mode of transportation, bicyclists need protection from vehicles on the road. To properly mark lanes, cities commonly add permanent or removable bollards. These vehicle protection devices are highly visible, warning drivers of cyclists in their lanes. If a driver does accidentally serve into the bike lanes, bollards will thwart the car from hurting the bikers.
  • Storefronts/general ram raiding activity

    Stores, including boutiques or mall fronts, often display their most attractive, valuable goods in the front of the building to draw in customers. Unfortunately, without barrier posts in place, they are vulnerable to thieves who may partake in ram raiding activity. To protect their storefronts, business owners can install permanent bollards to block ram-raiders.
  • Residential areas

    While less common than storefront, perimeter or parking bollards, many homeowners have been utilizing bollards to protect their property. Bollard devices are also common fixtures near apartment complexes to prevent unauthorized traffic from entering.
  • Industrial facilities

    Fixed or removable bollards are common fixtures inside warehouse facilities. These areas house expensive equipment, as well as power supplies, that, if damaged, could cause accidents and destruction. Bollards installed near vulnerable areas can ensure warehouses and other industrial facilities can continue their day-to-day operations smoothly.
  • Water and electrical boxes

    Water and electricity are vital components to a city’s layout. If a driver crashes into a water or electrical box, he or she could cause serious damages that could affect the whole city. To ensure citizens receive their electricity and water as needed, many cities install permanent bollards in a bright yellow finish around these locations to prevent accidental or intentional crashes.
  • Parking lots/garages

    Because they are highly frequented spots with heavy traffic, parking lots are one of the most hectic areas for drivers.  Whether people are searching for spots or leaving the lot, they are often driving around quickly and are thus more likely to be in an accident. To keep parking lots running smoothly, many parking lot owners install vehicle protection devices to section off specific spots or restricted driving areas. For special events, such as concerts, parking lot owners will install removable or collapsible bollards to control the different times they allow traffic to enter.
To learn more about bollards and the many applications in which they can be used, check back in with the TrafficGuard blog or visit the Facebook page.   TrafficGaurd-BlogCTA-BuyersGuide
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