Have you ever seen a row of posts lining the edge of a sidewalk, street, or storefront? Those structures are bollards. Although people don’t tend to notice them, bollards—especially safety bollards—play a huge role in keeping people and property safe. Read on to learn more about safety bollards, what they are, and why they are important.
What Are Safety Bollards?
Bollards come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties, and they’re used for many different purposes. One of the key purposes of a bollard, however, is to protect pedestrians, and safety bollards are the perfect choice for this task. A safety bollard is a specific type of bollard designed to keep areas safe and secure. Because of their function, these bollards are typically made of a stronger material and are often bolted or built directly into the ground. Safety bollards may be used to protect a vulnerable storefront from accidental crashes or robbery, effectively direct traffic in a parking lot or on the road, or protect pedestrians in areas where they might otherwise be at risk. In the case of a crash, the post of a safety bollard will absorb the force of an impact and stop the motion of the vehicle that poses the danger.
Best Materials for Safety Bollards
Because safety bollards are designed to protect, it’s important that they be made of a durable, sturdy material. Whichever material is chosen must be strong enough to withstand the force of an impact and stop large objects, like cars, should the need arise. Below, we’ll explore some popular material options for safety bollards.
Concrete is one of the most common materials used for safety bollards. It’s an inexpensive yet durable material that can stop an impact with no trouble. Bollards of this material are normally used outdoors; they are secured into the ground by more concrete and sometimes include an interior metal rod to strengthen them further. Although plain concrete safety bollards aren’t very aesthetically pleasing, they can easily be customized with paint or bollard covers. One thing to note about concrete bollards is that they likely won’t survive more than one serious impact. If that sounds like an issue for you, you’ll either need to replace damaged bollards as necessary or choose another material.
Polymer is a plastic-like material and another great choice for safety bollards. The material is sturdy yet far more flexible than concrete. In contrast to concrete, polymer can withstand the force of multiple impacts without needing to be replaced. When a vehicle collides with a polymer bollard, the bollard will successfully stop the vehicle but bend under the force so it is not damaged. You’ll see polymer bollards used in a variety of contexts, including in parking lots, on the road, and in pedestrian zones.
Want bollards that are strong, weather-resistant, and look good? Stainless steel is the material for you. Often, stainless steel bollards have an exterior of stainless steel covering a concrete interior post. The combination of these two sturdy materials helps these bollards stand up against collision. Bollards made of steel are undoubtedly durable but upgrading to stainless steel means bollards will have equally durable and attractive, shiny surfaces. The aesthetic value of stainless steel makes this material a good choice for bollards in areas where appearances matter, such as in front of a fancy building or on a school campus. Many people also choose this material because it is so low maintenance—stainless steel doesn’t wear or rust easily and is quite simple to clean.
Reasons To Use Safety Bollards
By now, you probably have a good general idea of why someone would choose to use safety bollards in their construction. But what are some specific uses of safety bollards, and why are they so important? Here are a few ways that safety bollards can help keep people and property safe.
Protect Your Storefront
Accidents happen in parking lots or near storefronts all the time, but when those accidents involve a several-thousand-pound vehicle, things can get serious. Safety bollards lining a storefront are there to protect both the store itself and the consumers who are shopping there. If a vehicle accidentally or intentionally accelerates off the road and toward a building, the bollards create a protective barrier that will stop that vehicle before it can do any harm. Smash-and-grab robberies in which a vehicle smashes through a barrier, creating a distraction while thieves grab the goods, are also quite common in certain areas. When properly chosen and placed, safety bollards prevent this sort of robbery, too.
Guard Building Components
In addition to buildings themselves, there are several types of components commonly installed outside buildings that must be protected. Depending on where they’re positioned, it’s all too easy for an outdoor gas meter, water meter, or another building component to be bumped by a vehicle, causing serious issues. Positioning a few safety bollards around these components will help protect them and minimize the potential complications of a collision.
Keep Pedestrians Safe
Even more important than protecting buildings or their components is protecting pedestrians. In areas that are shared by pedestrians and vehicles, such as parking lots, these bollards are particularly essential. If there’s an area near a street or parking lot that’s designated for pedestrians only, put up some bollards as markers to help drivers and pedestrians distinguish between the two areas. They will help guide both parties and, in case of an accident, protect pedestrians from harm.
Direct and Deter Traffic
On the road, safety bollards can be used to direct traffic and deter it from different areas. You’ve probably seen a row of them on the traffic medians that divide two lanes of traffic, making the division clear to both sides of the road and protecting other drivers in the event of an accident. They also can create barriers to roads that aren’t accessible to the public or create a safe area of the road on which bikers can ride.
Having learned about safety bollards, what they are, and why they are important, you can now see why people choose to install them on their property.
Custom metal manufacturers like CMPI can craft you a beautiful and durable set of stainless steel safety bollards to enhance the appearance of your property and keep it safe. Contact us, and we can create just the piece you need.