Different bollards used in our day to day lives

Let’s be honest, if you asked 10 people what a bollard is, 9 out of 10 of them probably wouldn’t know. That’s because bollards are sold by a select few and it’s only a few companies and local municipalities that use them for specific uses. The rest of us barely notice them.

However, once someone points it out to you, or you write a blog post about them, you’ll always know what a bollard is, but currently the humble bollard gets a bad rap in terms of publicity. It needs more attention. So here are seven different types of bollards that you might encounter in your day to day lives.

Definition. A bollard is a vertical post from short and stumpy to long and thin. They were used for mooring ships and boats to the quay but today are more commonly used as safety and control measures.

Portable Safety Barriers

Portable safety barriers are barriers that are usually installed for a specific time period, like for sporting events or concerts, allowing for easy crowd and traffic control. They are easy to install and just as easy to remove, making for a convenient short term safety and control measure.

Breakaway Bollards

Breakaway bollards are used to prevent traffic from entering unauthorised areas or parking where they are not supposed to. The important point is that they are deterrents and will break off if hit by a car, so they are not to be used as a strict security measure. The reason they break off is so that emergency personnel can access these areas in case of an emergency, meaning the areas will be blocked off but not inaccessible.

Bell Bollards

Bell bollards are flattish bell-shaped humps designed to allow vehicles to roll around them but keeping them off traffic islands at the same time. They allow cars to perform U-turns and tight turns if need be and cars can semi-mount the bollard without actually driving over them.

Rising Bollards

These are automated bollards which are popular in Europe. They are electronically controlled to allow access to buses and emergency vehicles. The bollards remain visible to the general public but will sink into the ground to allow designated vehicles access before rising magically again to prevent the rest of the public from using those roads. ‘

Of course there’s always the ‘smart’ drivers who think they can quickly pass over the bollard by following close to the legal vehicles in front of them, only to land up marooned on a rising bollard with some significant damage done to their cars.

Redirective Crash Cushion

These crash cushion bollards are self-restoring and can cushion cars at speeds up to 80km/h. These bollards can withstand a different range of impacts, and are built to last.

Recycled Plastic Bollards

While most bollards are made from iron or steel, there is range of recycled plastic bollards, which are ideal as light and medium markers. These are manufactured from recycled plastic from 100% mixed post-consumer waste, are weather resistant, fire proof, crack resistant and are most commonly used in parks and rural environments.

Waterside Mooring

The original bollard, still as effective today as it was when it was first used, probably over 150 years ago. These waterside mooring bollards are perfect to tie watercraft to and are used in canals, lakes, river and seaside. They are designed to have a mushroom appearance that is a large diameter top so that ropes can be dropped over them and will not easily come loose. They often include a cross rod for additional security for tying the ropes.

If you are looking for bollards of all shapes and sizes, talk to your local bollard specialist.

Protecting buildings and the public with protective bollards

Crash resistant bollards can prevent injury and save lives

Over the last few years there have been a number of cases of cars driving into childcare centres and shopping malls. This can be for criminal purposes but is often due to negligence or a simple driver error. Hey, we’ve all accelerated when we wanted to brake at some stage in our driving careers.

Unfortunately, this can and does happen, often in the public arena, where injuries and death can occur.

As we can never guarantee that this will not happen, it’s best to take the necessary precautions to protect people who might be in danger should this occur. The most effective way is to set up a line of defence with safety bollards outside the shop, mall, school or child care centre.

Safety bollards will ensure that no vehicle, even an out of control one, will crash into a storefront or a building with people inside.

Crash-resistant bollards, which are regularly used by the military to protect barracks or expensive hardware, can also be used to prevent smash-and-grab burglaries, in addition to protecting the building’s occupants. These bollards are made from solid steel and are engineered to withstand high impacts, making them almost impossible to break. They are generally priced according to their size and strength, and you can decide how many you need.

The good news is that security bollards come in a range of styles and strengths, and do not need to take away from the aesthetic appeal of your premises, in fact, they can often add to the look. With a range of styles to choose from you can go for an ultra-modern look with funky lights to make them visible at night or choose an antique old-school style bollard to add character and a touch of class to your building’s surround.

If you require a temporary solution, or think that you might be moving your premises soon, you have the option to install removable bollards, which means you can take them with you when you move.

Bollards should be strong but also brightly coloured, so you can’t miss them, and lit up at night for increased visibility.

In addition to protecting your buildings from impact, bollards also:

  • Protect people from traffic
  • Stop unwanted vehicles from accessing restricted areas
  • Ensure your carpark is secure
  • Provide effective crowd control

The humble bollard has become an indispensable part of our safety and security, and although most of us never pay too much attention to them, they provide an affordable and effective safety solution.

By protecting your building, you are protecting anyone who might enter it, doing your civil duty, and providing them with an expected level of safety. You are also avoiding a possible tragedy and what could be a costly law suit at the same time.

For all your bollard needs talk to your local bollard specialists. Whether they are in Melbourne, Perth or Brisbane, they will assess your needs and suggest a suitable and cost-effective solution.

Don’t think twice, you need a wheel stop!

Sure we have handbrakes, but sometimes it takes a super strength wheel stop to help prevent accidents

While we think of wheel stops as super heroes saving vehicles, buildings and people all over the world, most people think of it as hindrances. We’ve all seen clips of drivers’ making silly parking mistakes, don’t be one of them caught on camera whose car starts rolling down a hill and into a dumpster. To the ‘most people’ out there, here’s why you need to install rubber or metal wheel stops at your commercial or industrial premises today.

Bush blunders

Australia is known for its rugged, uneven terrain and while we don’t expect to see randomly placed wheel stops in the outback, various businesses such as tour or off-roading service providers should install them. An off-road vehicle uses some of the strongest types of braking and suspension in equipment. One unfortunate user put this to the test – unintentionally – near the Yeo Lake Nature Reserve in Western Australia. Setting off for his hike, he didn’t expect to come back and find his vehicle almost fully submerged in a nearby pool of water. The driver was not only stuck for a good few hours while waiting for help to arrive but it was also a very costly mishap.

While no one is to blame, the state could install wheel stops or bollards in natural areas like nature reserves and hiking trails to prevent accidents like this from happening.

City calamities

As if damage to your vehicle is not enough, try damaging the storefront of a popular fashion boutique and see how much that costs you. Now, we’re not here to name and shame, but let’s just say that a certain shopping village around Perth has not yet found use for the humble wheel stop. This was highly unfortunate in the case of a quick shopper who simply came to the centre a few groceries and essentials. After just 20 minutes, the driver of a brand new Toyota SUV found his vehicle in the display window of a store. While the mannequins made the vehicle feel right at home, the owner was not pleased. This is yet another expensive mistake that could have been avoided by installing a rubber wheel stop in the parking bays surrounding the stores.

Home hazard

In a residential setting, the homeowner is the only one responsible for vehicle rolling mishaps. You may think your ground is perfectly even, but more often than not, there is a slight incline/decline. A busy mom in Freemantle found this out the hard way. After picking up the kids and buying groceries to make supper, her mind was so preoccupied that she forgot to pull up the handbrake of her car. Slowly but surely, the car rolled itself out of the driveway and onto the pavement. Luckily, nothing was damaged and the walkway was free from playing children. Had there been more momentum, this could have been a major misfortune. For safety sake, we recommend installing a wheel stop at the bottom of your driveway.

As a business owner or homeowner, you can make your surroundings safe by installing rubber or metal wheel stops. At Bollard Shop, we stock a variety of this simple yet effective parking lot accessory. Whether you live in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth or even Tasmania, you can purchase our durable, strong wheel stops from our online store as we ship Australia wide.

The Bollard Sculpture Walk in Geelong

When you think of bollards, an image of a short post made of steel that directs the flow of traffic usually come to mind. While bollards are primarily used to protect people and property from harm, they can have another purpose.

In the city of Geelong in Victoria, they are used as artwork. That’s right, colour and quirky bollard sculptures made from reclaimed timber line the foreshore of Geelong.

Jan Lennard

Not to be confused with Jan-Lennard Struff, the German tennis player. The Australian Jan is responsible for the bollard sculptures. Commissioned by the City of Geelong in 1995, the bollards represent people and scenes from the city’s history.

Jan had been working overseas for almost 20 years as a graphic artist with the Irish National Television Network when she decided it was time to come home. Working in Australia as a book illustrator, Jan first presented a carved bollard at Baron Heads. Using this as an example, she presented the concept of the waterfront bollard walk to Geelong.

The bollards, however, didn’t happen immediately. It took five years of hard work to create the 103 bollards you can see today.

The sculpture walk

Most of the bollards are along the waterfront, although they can also be spotted across the city and even found welcoming new visitors at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne.

The bollard sculpture walk is around 4km long following a path from Rippleside Park in North Geelong all the way to Eastern Beach Sea Baths.

What can be seen?

Well, there are far too many Bollard sites to discuss in this blog, however, we are going to look a few highlights. If you want a full overview, check out the guide online.

Volunteer Rifle Band


This group represents Geelong’s first band concerts, which were held way back in 1861. They are pictured here playing “The Geelong Polka”. If you look closely, you can see a musical score for it. Sadly, it’s only a representation, as the real score has been lost to history.

Eastern Beach Lifesavers



This scene portrays Billy Coyte, a local from the Eastern Beach Life Savers, who taught many generation of Geelong kids how to swim. It’s only a likeness – Billy was never that rigid.

Sail Captain


Here is the captain of the steamship S.S Edina, which, if you can’t tell from the way he is dressed was operational from the late 19th century through to the mid-20th century.  The scene depicts the sail captain bringing live birds to ashore to the delivered to the Botanic Garden aviaries.


Rabbits are a reoccurring motif on the bollards, often found lurking around the character’s feet. They denote the introduction of rabbits to Australia in 1859, which happened through the port of Geelong. The 10 pairs that were introduced (for sport) ended up wreaking havoc on our natural eco system.


At the Bollard Shop, we think it’s marvellous that the bollard has been repurposed in such an artistic way to create a visual history of the city. The Bollard Sculpture Walk has obviously been very successful, as it attracts tourists from all over the world.

The Removable Bollard

With urban growth and development continually on the rise, the movement and accessibility needs of city spaces are continually in flux. Vehicles and people are constantly on the move in dynamic patterns, directions and destinations. Buildings are constructed and roads are widened, and with permanent bollards in place, problems would arise where certain areas could not be accessed.

It seems natural that the next progression in bollard technology would be to design a system that is equipped to account for a city’s unpredictability. Cue the removable bollard.

There have been many progressions in bollard technology and the removable bollard has made rapid advancements. There are three types of removable bollards in use around the world:

Padlock & hinge

The first version of this novel idea came in the form of bollards with a hinge at its base. The hinge allowed the shaft to be unfolded level with the ground, allowing vehicles to pass over unhindered. To secure this type of bollard and to prevent unauthorised lowering, padlocks were installed.


Another removable bollard application is based on a socket system that allows for retraction into the ground. A polypropylene coating inside the socket protects the earth from damage in the event of a direct collision and a self-locking taper makes the process of placing and removing the bollards easy and intuitive.

Electric lowering

Nowadays It’s not uncommon to see automatic bollards raised and lowered using an electric or hydraulic system. This method is considered an efficient way to constrict or allow the flow of traffic in certain areas, and is often used to enforce time-related traffic laws, as well as protecting high-profile areas in the event of a suspected attack.

Car parks and other traffic-dense areas are likely to make use of removable bollards. Petrol stations and high-risk theft areas such as malls and casinos also use removable bollards to heighten security and ease congestion during high-volume traffic periods.

Artistic Bollards

The word ‘bollard’ may not form a part of the everyday person’s vocabulary or even garner much notice from the casual passer-by, but these humble traffic management tools seems to have captured the imagination of structural artists who seek to extend their work beyond the confines of the traditional canvas.

A number of artists were contracted by councils to give the humble bollard a new lease on life.  This was done to enhance the perception of the bollard and to decorate neglected public spaces. Schools and parks received a fun facelift and were transformed to spaces where creativity meets functionality.


Australian artist Jan Mitchell enhanced the cityscape of Geelong, Victoria by placing decorative, sculpted bollards throughout various public areas of the city, including beaches and parks. Made from timber, and stylised to reflect the cylindrical shape of the traditional traffic bollard, the poles were featured bright painted designs, which were intended to resemble historical and contemporary public figures and have become an iconic feature of Geelong.


Norwich, England has also seen a trend in bollard artwork. In 2008 the City Council commissioned Oliver Creed to design a set of 21 bollard finials, which were installed close to the City Hall. The colour of 10 of the bollards was painted a ‘madder’ red, which was extracted from the madder plant and produced into a dye. This method was extensively used throughout the city’s history by one of its major economic contributor industries, namely cloth dying. The remaining bollards reflect the location they are placed in and feature unique designs, including a bollard bearing a swan’s head on Swan Lane and another depicting a pastoral sheep-shearing scene.

These artistic bollards, although a rare sight, seem to be on the rise in districts such as Winchester City and Whitchurch, Hampshire, with recently commissioned bollard artworks set to be developed for approved areas.

Security Bollards

Bollards are commonly known as traffic relievers and pedestrian protectors, but due to the rigid, unyielding nature of these structures, it’s not unusual to find posts strategically positioned throughout industrial sites and commercial areas to protect valuable goods and machinery. Anything from electronics to machinery and utilities can be protected from theft or accidental collisions by installing a system of bollards to limit access to a given site.

The industries that use protective bollards as a security measure vary greatly. There is a vast selection of bollard types on the market that have been developed to meet a variety of industry-specific requirements. Steel posts, for example, can secured by burying it in the ground, or anchoring it to a hard surface.

Security bollards can be categorised into two types: crash-resistant bollards and non-crash resistant bollards.

Crash resistant bollards

Crash resistant bollards are often used by the military, either in their operations or to protect expensive hardware. These types of bollards are also used by retailers to prevent smash and grab style burglaries, whereby a car or truck could be driven directly into the store and exit for a hasty getaway. These bollards are tough and durable, constructed of solid steel, and virtually impossible to break. Crash resistant poles are engineered to withstand impacts of varying intensity and are normally priced according to its size and strength.

Non-crash resistant bollards

The second category is the non-crash resistant bollard. These bollards are used with a multi-purpose function in mind. Some industrial or commercial sites are located in the heart of a city where it is impossible to completely block off an area and prevent people from passing. Non-crash resistant bollards allow the unimpeded flow of pedestrian traffic around the site and can also be used as a means of security to protect a site and machinery from any destructive damage after hours.

When it comes to security, bollards remain a global favourite. It is used throughout most developed countries, has been designed to withstand worse-case scenarios and remains one of the sturdiest and reliable traffic management options on the market today.

Bollards – Traffic Safety Beacons

The demand for bollards has increased over time due to the rapid advances in technological development of transportation in the form of cars, buses, vans, lorries and motorbikes and coaches.

As time progressed and streets became wider and busier, it became apparent that the chaos caused by the increase of motorised vehicles and pedestrians on the road needed to be managed. City planners recognised the need for was sturdy, low maintenance structures that would have the capability to withstand impact and control vehicle direction.

Traffic flow

Role-players soon realised the potential of bollards. These short, pole-like structures could ease and control even the busiest traffic junctions. The Traffic Calming organisation noted the many uses of bollards with a particular focus on controlling the space that separates vehicles and pedestrians. As an added safety measure, bollards were placed along the edge of sidewalks to prevent vehicle access on walkways, especially during rush hour. As a result, bollards reduced the risk of accidents, cautioning drivers to slow down, divert, and align their vehicles in regular traffic flow.

Controlled entry

Another use of traffic bollards is to control the flow of traffic by limiting the type of vehicle that can pass through a certain area. For instance, by spacing the structures intermittently, cars can be prohibited access, whereas bicycles, motorcycles or other specialised vehicles can still pass through. Removable bollards also offer the option of managing a space where larger vehicles may need to pass through occasionally.

Marking off and protecting pedestrian areas, especially in city centres, is another common use of traffic bollards, allowing people on foot to enjoy safe passage in demarcated areas.

The development of the bollard has become vital to road safety and the safety of society, and continues to see advancements as technology develops. For instance, a new type of bollard is in development that will collapse when vehicles strike it at a certain speed, and then reform once it has passed.

Bollards come in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes but the purpose thereof remains the same – to create a safer environment for all road users.

The History of the Bollard

As drivers and pedestrians we often take life-saving traffic regulating measures like road markings, fencing and, of course, bollards, for granted. How much do you know about these seemingly unimposing structures?

Bollards are sturdy and reliable elements that keep society running smoothly, and are especially important if you are a pedestrian or motor vehicle driver. Let’s take a step back and focus on one of the things we depend on, but rarely spare a moment to appreciate.

Bollards are strategically designed poles that play a vital role in the successful organisation and smooth operation of many traffic systems around the world. Its main purpose is to provide safety and protection for road users of all kinds, and has remained unchanged throughout centuries of technological advancement.

Where does the word bollard come from?

The word can be broken up into two parts; bole- and -ard.

Bole- is traced back to the early 14th century where in Old Norse it meant ‘tree trunk’ and -ard has connotations to the word ‘hard’. Bollard came in to use around 1844 as a term for a mooring post, and since 1948 it has come to mean a traffic control device.

The first bollard

During the 17th and 18th centuries, when sea travel was one of the few accessible means of transport, mariners and seamen had to devise a way to secure their vessels after they’ve disembarked. The ultimate solution had to be both innovative and economical. The initial idea was to use old, out-of-service cannons to moor the ships along the quayside. This was achieved by digging a hole and burying the barrel-end of the cannon with the posterior protruding out of the ground to provide a solid, robust station to which the moor ropes could be tied.

This humble mooring solution was in fact the first form of the bollard and today the structure remains essentially the same. Putting old weapons of war to use in a way that protected property and provided safety just goes to show how inventive the people were who lived around the time of the dawn of the maritime bollard.

Traffic diversion

As early as 1721 wooden posts were used to direct traffic and protect pedestrians from the extensive horse-drawn cart networks that threaded throughout the villages and towns of England. Hertfordshire is home to one of the earliest cases of this particular historical bollard application. Two oak posts were installed to guard Waltham Cross against damage from carriages.

These early traffic management structures were quite rudimentary but it marked the beginning of a system that would be developed and refined to handle the densest, most chaotic and unpredictable city traffic.