How To Choose The Right Bollard Post For Hike and Bike PathsArticle published on Aug 05, 2020
It may seem unimpressive at first glance, but simple bollard posts go a long way towards making storefronts, pedestrians, and bicyclists safer.
The University of Colorado conducted a study in 12 cities with frequent bicycle use for instance, examining 17,000 facilities and 77,000 injuries to analyze the effectiveness of protected bicycle lanes.
"...researchers found that bike infrastructure, particularly physical barriers that separate bikes from speeding cars as opposed to shared or painted lanes, significantly lowered fatalities in cities that installed them."
The article goes on to say that fatalities were 44% lower when physical barriers were present, and serious injuries were 50% lower. This serves as a great example the effectiveness of simple bollard posts.
There's more variation in these simple security structures than one might originally suppose. Here are just a few features and variations you may want to consider when choosing the right bollard post for your bike path or walkway:
- Consider if you need a bollard post that's purely utilitarian, or if you need the bollard to fit within an existing decorative aesthetic.
- Consider if your path or walkway needs a bollard with built in lighting.
- Consider if you'd like your bollard to double as a bike rack.
- Consider if you'd like your bollard to block traffic only, or if you'd like it to block pedestrian access as well.
Utilitarian Bollards VS Decorative Bollards
Many bike lanes use plastic bollards like this one to provide an affordable barrier that's reflective for high visibility, still somewhat impact-resistant, but cheaper and easier to install than concrete or metal alternatives.
The study referenced above indicated that while these barriers do help keep general traffic from impeding on bike lanes, motorists were more likely to maneuver between these bollards in an attempt to use bike lanes for parking than they were with other, sturdier barrier types. This is important to keep in mind when selecting the best bollard post type for bicycle safety.
Bike paths are often part of larger Parks & Recreation and beautification efforts, with many cities spending tens of millions on multi-use hike and bike trails for visitors and locals alike. Pittsburgh for instance has its 33 mile Three Rivers Heritage Trail, Austin has its 10 mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, and Savannah Georgia has its historical River Street, to name just a few.
As popular tourist spots, these destination trails must consider their aesthetics as well as their infrastructure for safety. This is especially true for historical trails working to maintain a timeless aesthetic.
This is when decorative security bollards are especially important, allowing site furnishing teams to consider both needs.
Bollards With Built-In Lighting
Decorative Bollards With Lighting
While lighting can certainly add to the decorative aesthetic of a bollard post, it's also a practical way to help pedestrians and bicyclists feel safer.
Of course, it's not just a matter of feeling safer. Despite the fact that fewer cyclists are out and about after sundown, some studies show that roughly 1/3 of bike crashes and fatalities occur at night, when visibility is compromised.
On a hike and bike trail without motorists of any kind, the dangers are inevitably less severe, but present all the same. Providing sufficient lighting is an easy way to improve visibility, and therefore safety for bicyclists and walkers after sundown.
Bollard Posts Which Double As Bike Racks
Lighting isn't the only dual purpose a bollard can serve. With very minimal structural modification, a bollard post can provide a secure bike locking solution for bicyclists. This is a common sense feature for hike and bike trails, especially where stops are frequent such as public restrooms, water fountains, overlooks, picnic areas, and rest stops.
Bollard Posts As Barriers
Bollard Posts With Chains
Many of the hike and bike trails we've referenced in this article are riverside trails where bikers and hikers may need additional barriers to protect from falls. In cases like these, bollard posts with chain loops provide a simple solution for transforming security bollard posts into pedestrian barriers as well.
As cities across the US work to beautify their outdoor spaces and attract visitors with multi-use recreational trails for hiking and biking, bollard posts are a simple way to ensure a safe and secure division from area traffic. As demonstrated by the University of Colorado study introduced at the start of this article, this safety precaution can reduce accidents by 44% or more.
Considering the above features and variations can help you determine which kind of bollard post is right for your hike and bike path, but if you still need help, contact our support team with any questions.