Seven Major Uses for Safety Bollards
Safety bollards are the workhorses of the security and traffic management world. They serve an almost endless variety of roles, from directing traffic to protecting sensitive installations. Here’s a look at seven of the most important ways in which they serve.
- Traffic calming – Safety bollards are used to delineate car-free zones, prevent spillover parking on sidewalks, and reduce traffic speed by narrowing lanes. Additionally, studies by the Transportation Research Institute of Israel have found that strategically placed safety bollards can reduce the frequency of automotive accidents. In some cases, these purposes are best served by flexible metro bollards that bend upon impact. In other instances, officials use heavily reinforced safety bollards made of steel with concrete cores. In recent times, portable bollards have begun to replace traffic cones for use around roadway worksites.
- Illuminating darkened areas – Wrongdoers typically seek dark, poorly lit places to commit crimes. To discourage such behavior and enhance visibility, many modern safety bollards are outfitted with lighting devices. In some cases, the bollard is a totally self-contained unit that operates via small solar panels, a built-in battery, and LEDs. In other cases, safety bollards are connected to the power utility and joined in an electrical network. Reflective bollards are often used to mark sensitive areas; officials rely on their ability to reflect oncoming headlights.
- Deflecting vehicle tires – Bell-shaped safety bollards are used for this purpose in many parts of the world, including continental Europe and the United Kingdom. They help to safeguard both property and pedestrians from stray vehicles.
- Enabling periodic traffic control measures – Some facilities require concentrated traffic management during certain periods of time. These include school zones, houses of worship, and factories that employ shift workers. In such cases, portable safety bollards serve an important role. Sometimes these products are temporarily mounted into permanently affixed metal sockets at road or ground level. Other times, safety bollards are outfitted with electric or hydraulic mechanisms that operators can raise or lower as needed. With advances in artificial intelligence, officials are using so-called “smart bollards” in some areas. These devices can position themselves as needed based on incoming sensory data.
- Enhancing driver safety during racing events – In some cases, sporting officials use safety bollards to mark sharp corners and other segments of raceways that might compromise the safety of the competitors. These products are designed to break away from their base very easily, should a vehicle strike them.
- Controlling access – Many types of safety bollards serve in this capacity. They range from simple flexible structures joined together by yellow caution tape to substantial monuments that do double-duty as raised flowerbeds or sculptures. Police officers use safety bollards to direct civilians away from crime scenes, as commonly shown on television and in motion pictures. Permanent safety bollards can weigh many tons, and are designed to deflect oncoming vehicles traveling at high speeds. This particular use for bollards has become increasingly common in the years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
- Helping to preserve historic sites – In the United States, the National Register of Historic Places includes more than 90,000 buildings, objects, sites, districts and structures. Many of these locations are easily damaged or defaced. In such cases, officials often use safety bollards to discourage both careless activities and outright vandalism. The bollards used range from lightweight portable structures to sizable fixtures, depending on budgetary priorities and changing circumstances.
The world becomes more crowded with each passing day, creating an ever-growing need for effective security measures. Safety bollards serve an important role in this regard. Their value as public protectors will only increase in the coming years.
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