Disclaimer – The following post in no way intends to trivialise tragic events – instead simply aiming to share the benefits of bollards and their widespread use.
Following the horrific and tragic terror attacks at Berlin and Nice, the new reality at festive markets is an increase in bollard usage. Although they are not totally effective against every type of terror attack, bollards can be invaluable for stopping car crashes and provide additional benefits by sectioning streets and controlling crowds.
In October earlier this year, The Telegraph reported that the Local Government Association had warned councils to be ‘vigilant’ and had ‘encouraged them to follow government guidance in protecting areas susceptible to mass casualty atrocities.’
What’s more, the BBC themselves reported that cities could be hardened with the use of bollards and barriers that were capable of withstanding direct impacts. This year, Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds have all seen new bollards and anti-terror barriers installed, with further work being planned and carried out across the country.
Bollards block terrorist vehicles
The idea behind bollards is actually relatively straightforward. Quite simply, these individual metal structures (usually short rounded poles) are placed in close proximity to each other to span the width of a road, essentially blocking vehicles from streets.
As previously mentioned, the growing number of terrorist threats has led to recommendations for councils across the UK to implement bollards in areas that could become dense with people.
It’s positive to see so many councils acting swiftly and taking security seriously, regardless of whether a specific threat has or hasn’t been detected. Leeds City Council, for instance, further emphasised the importance of safety in an article in the Yorkshire Evening Post:
“Whilst there is currently nothing to suggest any specific threat to Leeds, as always our first priority is working with the police and partners to make sure the city is as safe and prepared as possible.”
(One of many types of bollards in Leeds City Centre.)
Bollards bolster crowd management
An additional benefit of bollards is their streamlining of crowds. With so many pedestrians congregating on streets lined with shops, especially around Christmas-time, car accidents can often be a worry factor if the street isn’t fully pedestrianised.
When used correctly, bollards can also serve to reinforce traffic systems, preventing drivers from turning down streets they shouldn’t and stopping a problem before it occurs.
The increasing use of commercial bollards is undoubtedly proving that councils are prioritising safety over cost-cutting – a decision that should be appreciated and applauded. If nothing else, it’s good to have the safety and security that seeing them provides.