Ideal Applications for Traffic Bollards:  Traffic Denial

Reposted from

This post is part two of a five part article dealing with types of bollards and their ideal uses.  Last post discussed four main types of bollards:  embedded, surface-mount, rebounding, and retractable/removable.  In this post and the next three I’ll discuss ideal uses as follows:

  1. Traffic Denial (today)
  2. Parking Lot Protection
  3. Drive-Thru Lanes
  4. Factories and Warehouses


Traffic Denial

Although all bollards are used for some sort of traffic denial, this category covers uses that purposely deny access for safety or damage reasons, and are not covered by a more specific use that is described in another area of concern.  In other words, these are general uses.


Security Bollards

This is the grand-daddy application for the traffic denial bollard.  Often K-rated (meaning tested to certain government standards), these bollards are used to absolutely deny access to a building.  This has seen large increase in popularity since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Government buildings and other high value targets use engineered bollard systems to prevent high speed, high mass vehicles from causing mass harm by ramming through building fronts.


Building Protection

Bollards are often used to protect a building or structure for damage.  Building corners are a typical place bollards are found, especially when a tight turn by a vehicle can actually impact the building.  Self-Storage facilities often use a large number of bollards to protect buildings from vehicles, and often, trailers.

Building Columns

Closely related are sets of bollards placed around a building or roof column to prevent vehicular impact, which could lead to catastrophic damage should a column fall.  These bollards are often embedded or rebounding type because of the importance of protecting the column.




Store Fronts

Many store owners worried about “crash and grab” robberies, or even just worried about driver mistakes, will line the front of a store with bollards to prevent access.  This application has the added benefit of protecting patrons while they walk in and out of the facility.  The tighter the picket, the more protection offers as a vehicle is likely to impact multiple bollards at once.



Many security gates use bollards to protect keypad access panels as well expensive mechanical equipment that operates the gates.  Keypad panels must be closely approached by a driver to enter access codes, and therefore need to be protected from driver mistakes.  Often far ends of a gate system will be protected by bollards to prevent damage to motorized equipment, critical pivots, and weak points that might allow a vehicle to ram a gate.  Sometimes these will be simple surface mounted bollards if the security needed is not great.  A large bollard is usually enough to keep a driver from approaching a sub-division access panel too closely.   An unattended storage facility might need a sturdier bollard to prevent night time theft by ramming a gate.


Pedestrian / Bike Paths

This is an application of traffic denial where the path is not intended for vehicles so bollards are used to block off the entrance or exit of the path.  Pedestrians and bicyclists can pass between a set of bollards, however a car or truck cannot.  These will often be simple embedded wooden bollards, but on a busier street might be a steel bollard.


Gas Pump Protection

This is such a common sight, that you probably don’t even notice the bollards, but virtually every modern gas station protects its pumps from vehicles through the use of bollards or very large cements islands (a form of bollard).  These are often embedded into the concrete, for obvious reasons, as accidents with the highly flammable gasoline delivery device would make for a bad day.


Propane Storage

Many convenience and home improvement stores offer propane bottle exchange programs.  For safety reasons, the propane bottles are stored outside of the store and usually have a picket fence of bollards protecting them.   Again, flammable, possibly explosive devices need to be protected.  I’ve seen both surface mount and embedded steel bollards protecting these areas.  I wouldn’t advise surface mount bollards unless they were strong rebounding bollards, as the safety hazard here can be high.  Local conditions of course would dictate the potential hazards by passing traffic.


Gas Utilities

Utility companies often have meters and valve stacks located near the roadway.  Because natural gas is so flammable, it is important that the area is adequately protected with bollards should there be a reasonable chance of vehicle impact.  These will often be surrounded by a set of four or more bollards, usually steel and embedded deep in the ground.



Traffic denial is the main purpose of a safety bollard.   The applications listed here are some of the more popular uses that one will see in their daily travels.  In the next part of this article, I’ll discuss example specific to parking lots.  Some of those applications overlap with general traffic denial, but are specific to parking lots only.