Several Styles of Bollards You Need to Know

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Bollards often reflect or enhance the environment they are in. Many traditional styles are influenced by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century installations, when it became common practice to make use of decommissioned cannon barrels by half-burying them. These cannon bollards were handy on wharfs for mooring, and inland were adapted to directing traffic and protecting stonework. When the cannon was buried with the muzzle facing up, a too-large cannon ball was often used to seal the cannon against water and debris, creating a distinctive rounded top. The varying shapes of these old cannons still influence styles today.

Rising Bollards

Traditional design

Bollards have a marine and military history, and from these roots they have developed traditional, formal designs that compliment many architectural styles. Often traditional styles are finished in black and made of iron, and are a highly decorative part of the land- or street-scape. Even if these traditional bollards are not installed in a way to be impact resistant to vehicles, they still provide a solid and serious looking profile and can be an assertive visual deterrent. Browse a gallery of traditional cast iron bollards.

Traditional design

Modern design

Contemporary architectural styles often require modern bollard design. Bollards come in a variety of lengths, widths, colors, and materials to match any image. Whether a sleek stainless-steel bollard outlining a pedestrian area by a stadium, a set of pebbled concrete bollards protecting a shopping plaza, or a tall yellow plastic bollard guarding an external gas or water meter, a wide range of bollard options give planners many choices to suit their site. View modern stainless or modern steel bollards.


Lighting bollards

Bollards powered by solar panel or set onto an electrical grid can be installed to provide light along pedestrian pathways. Vehicle traffic posts are not generally illuminated, since bollard height is too short to light a large enough area, but reflective surfaces are common in traffic specific applications. Curious about lit bollard choices?


Martello and bell bollards

There are recent, innovative designs that enable bollards to be a more active aide to management of the roadway. Martello bollards, inspired by the Martello towers on England’s coast, and bell bollards, shaped with the curved profile of a tower bell, have a traffic facing slope designed to protect sidewalks by catching vehicle wheels and returning them to the roadway. Check out the innovative Martello.


Artistic bollards

As they are such a common element in modern landscapes, bollards have become a focal point for artists. Some artistic types are designed for extra impact, like those designed to look like children in school zones. Other designs are purely whimsical or uniquely decorative.


Lexible bollards

Flexible bollards are designed to do no damage to vehicles that hit them.

Polyurethane bends on impact with little injury to either car or bollard, popping back up after the vehicle moves away. These flexible posts are often found in parking lots, used as parking stall poles or guiding traffic. Clipping one will tell a driver to get back into position, but will otherwise not slow or stop the car. They are occasionally used on medians or as lane delimiters.


Low impact bollards

Low impact bollards provide little stopping power to an impacting vehicle but would likely cause minor damage at regular traffic speeds. Many metal or concrete decorative types would not bring a vehicle to a stop, but they would do damage to a car’s body in a crash. Drivers will generally take extra precautions to avoid them even if they’re not crash secure. Low impact bollards have a wide range of installation options, including with concrete anchors, anchor castings, and bolting.


High impact bollards

Functioning on their own, or with a decorative cover, high impact resistance bollards are designed stop a vehicle that crashes into them. These are generally constructed of deeply embedded steel pipe filled with and surrounded by cement. Engineers oversee their installation to ensure that the substrate and ground around the installation is supportive of crash-protection. Most high-impact installations are designed to protect against accidents, and are chosen based on pipe diameter, given the speed and type of traffic in the area. For applications that might be undergoing concerted attack, like government buildings, crash-rated bollards are designed to withstand one or more assaults by vehicles of differing sizes and speeds.


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