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Are Traffic Bollards Useful?

Updated on June 11, 2013

Traffic Bollards - Yes or No?

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A couple of removable steel bollards blocking unauthorized traffic
A couple of removable steel bollards blocking unauthorized traffic

I was trying to determine the best security options for my business several months ago, and I never realized how many options there were for bollards alone. I was not prepared to be looking for all different kinds, lightweight and heavy, and I feel like I spent a lot of time searching when I could easily have learned about them beforehand. Security for a business doesn’t just come down to surveillance cameras and security guards, but if you actually want to protect the outside perimeters twenty-four-seven, having these inanimate guards for restricted areas or parking lots can be a great way to cut costs while securing your facility, as I’ve personally found. There’s a crime called ram-raiding that’s on the rise, which involves vehicles, well, ramming into business windows and walls to raid and rob the place. Bollards help suggest to these people that it’s not such a good idea to try it. I think they’ve worked excellently for my own facility, giving me a lot of comfort in knowing my building, employees and patrons are safer, and here’s some more information so when you’re looking for bollards you’ll have a bit of an idea of what to go for.

Collapsible Posts

What’s great about collapsible steel bollards is that they don’t need to be removed entirely to allow authorized vehicles to pass them, and yet they give you the same protection as one mounted into the ground. While preventing unwanted vehicles from entering a certain area, these bollards can be bent down to ground level with proper access as soon as it’s needed, making it so you can simply drive over them if you need to. These are especially useful in private drives or other trails. In addition to the overall option for collapsible posts, there are a few types to look at.

The kinds of collapsible steel bollards include ones with a single post, giving drivers about a 3” clearance to cross over. These can be locked at the base with pretty much any padlock so only the owner can access them. Then there are the double post bollards, which lock at the top (great for avoiding the pains of ice and any other hassles at ground level), and since they split in the middle there’s even more space for lower vehicles to drive over. Some of these double posts use a special screw lock that only those carrying a hydrant wrench can open, and unless you’re a criminal carrying a toolkit for every lock known to man it’s unlikely these traffic bollards will be compromised.

You can also get round posts, which are much thinner than single and double posts, but offer the same protection. They’re a little easier to control and give low vehicles even more room when driving through an area.

Removable Posts

Don’t want to deal with clearance requirements at all? Removable bollards can be taken completely out of the ground and replaced with ground sleeve fillers that prevent it from leaving an eyesore of a pothole. Locking mechanisms are a choice for this kind of bollard, and they can work with high or lower security locks. Removable bollards even allow for a stainless steel option, if you don’t want the more obvious yellow paint and 3M reflective tape.

These are ideal for a more temporary occasion, like a concert or fair where people need to be blocked off for a shorter period of time. That way you can fill up the spot where it sat and the post doesn’t have to be there all the time. You can even get a storage rack for your removable bollards, so you can secure them until you need them again, keeping them from being a burden.

Fixed Posts

If you have no intention of letting any vehicles through at any time, fixed traffic bollards give you the option to either embed or surface mount posts so that they never go anywhere. They stay right in the ground permanently, guaranteeing constant security from events such as the aforementioned obnoxious (and expensive!) ram-raiding. You don’t need to worry about locking or unlocking these, since they’ll be unlikely to be removed unless an area is suddenly no longer restricted.

For these guys, you can either get them embedded or surface mounted. Embedded posts are welded in a cap while surface mounted ones can be secured in a slab of concrete.

Now that You Know How Many Exist

In order to really beef up your security measures, steel bollards are an excellent way to do just that, but it’s really important to know what kind you want. The amount of variety that accompanies those yellow stakes you typically drive mindlessly by and attempt not to hit is really impressive, and they really aren’t that expensive either, in the long run. It doesn’t matter if they’re collapsible, fixed or removable bollards; they’re a lot cheaper than having your entire business devastated. I’ve discovered that it’s not worth the paranoia associated with wanting to get up in the wee hours of the morning, just to see if your building is still intact.

Whats your opinion?

What about you? Feel free to leave feedback on your experiences with security options.

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