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Bollards are posts placed near traffic that protect buildings and people from moving vehicles. They are normally made of steel pipe. With bollard covers and sleeves, they can enhance the appearance of buildings and landscapes. Bollard covers are available in plastic (dome, flat top, decorative) or stainless steel. Traffic safety does not have to be ugly.
Traffic bollards help guide drivers and promote safe and responsible driving. Bollards are normally made of steel pipe which is buried in the ground (core bollards), or bolted to the ground with a plate attached at the bottom (plated bollards).
Bollards can be used with other traffic control devices such as speed bumps, curbs, clearance bars, portable and permanent signs directing traffic near building entrances, parking areas and crosswalks. Plated bollards are only as strong as the bolts they are fastened to, so they should not be used in areas where a speeding vehicle could cause damage. Plated bollards are fine for interiors, pedestrian areas and bike paths.
Type of bollards
There are many types of bollards, including those made of wood and cement, but most are now made of steel. For interior use, plated bollards are normally used because the weight and speed of vehicles is low. For exterior use, buried bollards made of Schedule 40 steel pipe are recommended as a minimum.
There are also High Security bollard systems for buildings requiring the highest security. These are bollards attached to a substrate that provide the greatest protection. These systems have K ratings, a measure of the force they can withstand. See them here.
Removable bollards are made in many different styles that allow restricted access to an area. Most are manual systems where you unlock the bollard and remove it from the base.
Bollard surface treatments
Steel bollards are available in bare steel, primed, powder-coated or hot-dipped galvanized (for greater rust protection). All but the powder coat need a surface treatment or a cover. Due to the need for ongoing maintenance of painted bollards (and the fact that paint will not adhere to galvanized), most bollards are now covered with a plastic or stainless steel bollard cover (sleeve) for low cost and maintenance.
Bollard Covers (Sleeves)
Covers for steel bollards are available made of either High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or Polyethylene Thermoplastic (LDPE). HDPE has higher tensile strength and is more rigid than LDPE. Both have UV protection against fading. Wall thickness is either 1/8" or 1/4". Some are dome shaped, while others have a flat top with or without reflective stripes. The diameter size is named for the size pipe they cover. So a 4" bollard cover is big enough to fit a 4" pipe, which is actually 4.5" OD. Some have inserts available to fit a larger cover over a pipe for a better appearance. Bollard covers provide an inexpensive way to make bollards more pleasing in appearance and reduce the need for maintenance. They are easy and cost effective to install and replace.
Decorative and Stainless Steel Bollard Covers
For more attractive bollards, decorative covers made of LDPE or HDPE are available in a wide range of styles and covers. Stainless Steel bollards are usually covers, not actual bollards, due to their much higher cost. They are made to order and have a variety of tops and finishes. They provide a great appearance and long life. They do not require maintenance apart from an occasional cleaning unless they are damaged.
Other Traffic Safety
The best practices for traffic safety around buildings, pedestrians, entrances, crosswalks should include the use of speed bumps, curbs, fixed or movable signs, free standing or building entrance clearance bars and even systems that protect large door openings in commercial and industrial settings. They can guide traffic, give actual and visual protection, and help create a more attractive environment while making it safe.