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Definition: What is a Bollard?

Bollards have a long history of use as barriers and boundary markers

Decorative bollards feature premium designs

Decorative bollards are cast in ornamental designs

What is a bollard?

A bollard is a short post designed to identify or segment a location, guide traffic or protect sensitive areas. It provides an effective visual barrier for vehicles and pedestrians and can offer significant impact protection where effective security is required. Modern bollard designs also provide ornamentation to enhance building or landscape aesthetics. Bollards can be used individually or in series to demarcate extended boundaries.

History of use

Throughout history, bollards have been used in many applications, including road or boundary markings, mooring posts and hitching ties. While most fastening applications have largely disappeared, bollards are still used significantly in managing vehicle traffic and protecting buildings and landscapes. They are also used to complement or enhance architectural building and landscape designs.

Visual barriers

Bollards create clear visual barriers for drivers, helping to direct traffic and prevent access to restricted areas. When used properly, bollards regulate vehicle traffic while ensuring clear sight lines and efficient pedestrian flow.

See bolt-down and flexible bollards

Physical protection

Bollards can be installed to withstand high-impact vehicle collisions. Steel-pipe security bollards are made from structural grade steel and are designed to be embedded and reinforced with concrete, creating a highly resistant barrier to vehicles. Security bollards are ideal for sensitive locations such as building entrances, pedestrian areas and exposed utilities—where safety and security are especially important. Decorative or utility covers will also ensure security bollards are visible and/or provide decorative appeal.

See steel-pipe security posts, decorative covers, stainless steel covers and plastic covers

Decorative ornamentation

Decorative bollards and covers contribute to the visual quality of a building or landscape. They feature stylish designs to complement the shape, texture, color and weight of a building in its surrounding landscape or community neighborhood. Decorative bollards can reinforce planning and design objectives within a given site and help increase cohesion with the surrounding building and neighborhood.

See architectural/decorative bollards

Decorative bollards installed in front of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville

Bollards provide functional decoration for architectural buildings and landscapes

Traffic bollards protect a bike lane from vehicle traffic

Traffic bollards direct traffic to protect cyclists and pedestrians

Security bollards installed with decorative covers

Security bollards at building entrance

Specialized applications

Removable, retractable and fold-down bollards: Bollards can be installed with versatile mounting systems that allow them to be removed, retracted or folded down. These bollards are ideal for locations with changing access needs, varying seasonal applications or day-to-day parking requirements.

Bike-parking bollards: Bike-parking bollards are designed to accommodate bicycle storage and segment vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Standard bollards can be modified to accommodate bike parking by equipping them with bike-locking handles. Bike-parking bollards are ideal for dense urban neighborhoods and integrated communities.

Solar-lighting bollards: Lighting fixtures can be installed in bollards to increase visibility in pedestrian areas for dark or low-light conditions. Lighting units with solar energy panels and internal energy management systems ensure lights are automated to maximize energy efficiency and require no additional wiring or conduits.

See Removable, retractable, fold-down, bike-parking, solar-lighting bollards

Quality bollards

Buildings and landscapes should be designed not just for decoration and functionality, but also for long-term use with minimal maintenance. Quality bollards and other site furnishings should be made from top-quality materials to ensure minimal wear and corrosion—to keep bollards looking their best for years to come.

Reliance Foundry has been a trusted supplier of cast metal products since 1927. Specialists in bollard design, production and installation, Reliance Foundry’s innovative catalogue also features cutting-edge bike racks and industrial-grade, steel wheels. Reliance Foundry sources cast metal solutions from across the globe to provide competitive prices and conveniently ships to all locations within North America.

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