What Is A Bollard?
There are different types of bollards. You’ve probably seen the flexible, plastic posts that line construction zones. These bollards are soft enough that if they are hit, there is minimal damage to both the bollard and the vehicle. You’re likely to find harder, sturdier bollards lining pedestrian walkways for better protection.
You’ll find bollards made of a variety of materials, including iron, steel, wood, concrete, or plastic, among other things. The material(s) used for bollards depends largely on the desired aesthetic, whether you want the bollards to be fixed or moveable, and the level of protection you need from them. For example, the bright orange traffic bollards that line construction are made of plastic so that they are easy to put up and take down and will bend easily if hit by a vehicle. A fixed cast iron bollard will provide better protection. But as with anything, multiple impacts will deteriorate the strength of the bollard. However, it will take longer to seriously deface a cast iron bollard.
How Tall Should Bollards Be?
Generally speaking, bollards stand at about 3 feet tall; though sizes vary. You want bollards to be effective at stopping vehicles. They don’t need to be very tall to do this. Some bollards are as short as a foot tall, which can do a fair amount of damage to a car’s undercarriage if the driver attempts to drive over.
However, the primary function of a bollard should be a visual warning. You don’t want the bollard to be so short that it’s impossible to see while driving. Likewise, if your bollard is too tall, you might run into some issues too. Depending on where they are installed, some bollards are supposed to be brightly painted, so that they are easy to see. Having a tall, bright, yellow post in front of your historic building is a bit of an eyesore.
Ultimately, you want your bollard to be tall enough to see properly, while not so tall that they impede or distract from the aesthetic of the building they protect. 3 feet tall is generally considered to be the Goldilocks zone of bollards—not too short, not too tall, just right.
How Far Apart Should Bollards Be?
Much like the height of a bollard, the distance between bollards should be just right. You want the space to be narrow enough that a vehicle won’t be able to simply drive through them, but there should also be enough space for pedestrians and wheelchairs to pass through, as per the Americans with Disabilities Act.
With these guidelines in mind, most bollards are installed with 3 to 5 feet of space in between them. This offers protection from vehicles, while also allowing pedestrians and motorized chairs to go between them.
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