When most people think of bollards, they think of those unattractive steel pipes that are found in the parking lots of strip malls. Generally, these steel pipes are devices in which function takes precedence over aesthetics. In most cases, bollards are seen simply as anti-ram barriers that are necessary to protect pedestrians and prevent “smash and grab” robberies. Though bollards do promote safety and security, they are not always impact-resistant and this leads some to question “What good is a bollard that can’t stop a car?”
Bollards perform a wide variety of functions so the answer is quite complex. There are certain qualities that all bollards share and every bollard, no matter what level of impact-resistance it provides, will act as “perceived impediment to access”. This means that non-impact-resistant bollards will prevent the vast majority of people from entering restricted areas though they do not have the ability to physically prevent vehicle encroachment. Most drivers operate in what is known as a “culture of civility” will not enter restricted areas for both cultural and psychological reasons. Those who are intent on causing damage may have the ability to do so but law-abiding citizens that comply with societal norms will recognize the perceived impediment and understand that entry is not permitted.
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Model R-8302 flexible bollards
A bollard that does not offer a high enough level of impact resistance will indeed stop most cars from entering restricted or pedestrian areas but bollards are used in a wide variety of applications in which they do more than simply guide traffic or impede access. Bollards can be used to serve a multitude of functions outside of physical security and traffic control. They are commonly installed in decorative applications to create perimeters that enhance their surrounding architecture or landscape and many also serve additional functions like lighting and the provision of secure bike parking.
Posts do not necessarily have to be embedded and provide anti-ram resistance to be considered bollards. Bollards are also an ideal tool for highlighting a site’s architecture. When used in decorative or architectural applications, bollards are not typically installed with anti-ram mountings. The main function of decorative bollards is to increase aesthetic value. Suppliers offer decorative bollards in a wide array of styles that can be used in concordance with most architectural approaches. From classic to contemporary, styles are available to enhance the historic or cosmopolitan ambience of every streetscape. Decorative bollards often act as accents that contribute to a larger, more dramatic architectural scheme, while creating visual perimeters and dividing and defining spaces. Because of the effectiveness of decorative bollards in architectural enhancement applications, many suppliers now offer decorative post covers that can be set over anti-ram bollards so that they also coincide with their surrounding architecture.
Model R-9810 solar-powered lighting bollards
Architecture isn’t the only thing that bollards are effective at highlighting, though. Bollards also play a key role in many landscaping applications, where they are used to highlight natural features and enhance rural landscapes. Most commonly, powder-coated, metal bollards are used in landscaping applications because a high degree of weather resistance is required. Metal landscaping bollards are available in styles that will compliment every landscaping approach and they are often augmented with highlighting chains. Bollards are a stylish means for telling pedestrians not to enter gardens or to keep off grass.
Not all traffic guidance applications require impact-resistant bollards and non-ram-resistant bollards can often be used. Flexible bollards are commonly used for lane delineation and to mark intended traffic routes. They bend 90 degrees to reduce damage to vehicles and in no way have the ability to physically stop a vehicle. Flexible bollards often separate traffic where drivers must remain in their lane for a period of time. They are often seen outside the approach to a toll booth. Flexible bollards keep cars from switching lanes close to the structures. Often, they are also used to separate bicycle and car lanes at dangerous curves and to keep cars in place near stadiums or other large venues. Flexible bollards can also be used to ensure cars navigate safely through designated paths in large parking lots.
Flexible bollards prevent cars from switching lanes
Bollards are also commonly used in other applications where a high level of impact resistance is not required. Two of the most common applications involve providing lighting and secure bike parking. Bollards make an ideal base for pathway lighting systems. Many suppliers even offer solar-powered lighting bollards that can be installed without cabling or hardwiring. Lighting bollards provide illumination that both increases safety and heightens a site’s aesthetic appeal. As bike parking has become an essential component of contemporary streetscapes, many bollards now offer the additional feature of secure bike-locking arms. Bike bollards look similar to classic bike stands or hitching posts but usually feature a more ornate style and serve the additional function of traffic guidance. They are almost always created from metal and they are available in a wide variety of designs to coincide with every architectural motif.
Bollards that do not offer a high level of impact or ram-resistance perform many helpful functions in outdoor spaces. From architectural highlighting to lane delineation and providing lighting for safety, non-impact-resistant bollards play a key role in the design of many contemporary streetscapes. The wide array of functions that non-impact resistant bollards fulfill demonstrates that these “perceived impediments to access” do not have to be able to physically stop a car to be useful. To learn more about the design capabilities of non-ram-resistant bollards and the many styles that are available, please visit Reliance Foundry’s online catalog of bollard solutions.
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