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Bollards Become Bike Racks

Secure and destination bike parking tops cyclist needs. New designs in metal bollard covers with lifting arms instantly transform existing bollards into outdoor bike racks.

Bicycle parking is getting attention these days. One of the reasons Minneapolis grabbed the top spot in Bicycling magazine's "America's Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities" this spring, dethroning perennial champ Portland, Oregon, was its leadership in bike parking, topping the charts with the most bike parking per capita in the United States.

In 2010, as in 2002, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals found that available parking is the major reason bicyclists decide whether to visit particular areas or businesses, and that more people are interested in riding bicycles to work (or combining bike and public transit) if bike parking is available at work or transit stations.

Bicycle parking, with bike bollards as one top choice, is especially important to trendy "old-town" preserved and revived areas, the return to outdoor shopping malls, and the trend in new neighborhoods to create public centers offering shopping, dining and entertainment centered on areas favoring bike and pedestrian traffic. Secure bike parking is also needed in apartment and condo complexes and on college campuses; most bicycle thefts are from owner's homes rather than commercial areas.

"Aesthetically, bike bollards are the ideal complement to older neighborhoods, and the brick buildings favored in newer outdoor malls built for charm as well as the relaxed atmosphere of bike and pedestrian traffic," said Brad Done, vice president of Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd., one of North America's oldest bollard companies.

"Thousands of bollards already in place protecting buildings and pedestrians from vehicle incursions can add bicycle parking as a popular new use by adding bollard covers with lifting arms, rather than buying and installing new bicycle racks or bike bollards," said Done, noting that retrofitting bollard covers with arms has the added benefit of affordability, eliminating costs to remove existing bollards and install new ones.

"Many of our customers, especially those with period properties, don't want to lose the architectural accent that bollards add to their streetscapes. Modern designs can create dissonance, so we sought a new solution and developed bollard covers with arms using a variety of classic bollard designs preferred by architects and designers."

With these newly introduced bike bollard covers, Reliance Foundry now offers more than 40 design options for bicycle parking bollards.

"Bicycle storage needs strong, secure construction of high-quality, durable metals, and should allow for at least one wheel and the bike frame to lock to the bollard or rack. Top quality steel, iron, aluminum or stainless steel bollards and bollard covers best withstand both weather and metal- to-metal contact with bikes and locks," Done said.

"Many cities now assist both the public and private sector in purchasing and sometimes maintaining bicycle racks and bollards, so it's a good time to convert to or add bike bollards," he added. "Top design criteria is increasingly suggested and sometimes mandated in cities as they build bike capacity. Some no longer allow earlier styles such as the traditional grid or newer wave or loop configurations that do not mesh with the surrounding architecture", Done advised.

A wide range of bike bollard colors is available to compliment any color scheme. While textured black is the most common bollard color, other popular finishes include green, bronze, grey and silver.

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