Gallery: The Unsung Heroes of Urban Design: How Bike Bollards Protect P...


Sometimes the most well-designed and useful objects are the ones you hardly notice at all. Case in point: bike bollards. You’ve probably encountered a bollard at one time or another (they look like heavy, squat posts), but bike bollards are an elevated version of these common structures that perform double duty by protecting buildings and pedestrians from cars while also providing a place for secure bicycle parking. Read on to learn more about these unsung heroes of urban design, and how they better streetscapes in their own quiet but effective way.

Most people have seen bollards around, and some might even realize that their main purpose is to prevent vehicles from coming up onto sidewalks and crashing into buildings or people. But bike bollards add increased functionality by also serving as a place for cyclists to lock up their bikes. In addition to improving safety and creating cyclist parking, they also increase the aesthetic appeal of a streetscape with a polished look that can boost the level of architectural interest in an otherwise bland area.

RELATED: What is a bollard?

After Kaufman’s Bagel & Delicatessen, a family-owned specialty food business in Skokie, Illinois, was forced to shut down in 2011 due to a fire, the owners saw a chance to give the old facility a facelift. The community mandated that bicycle racks be installed in front of the store as part of the remodel, but co-owner Bette Dworkin wanted something a bit more structurally interesting and, since they’d had the issue in the past, something that could prevent a car from hitting the building.

“After a search on the internet I found Reliance Foundry,” said Dworkin. “They are a mix of a bollard, bike rack and a bit like chess pieces all rolled into one. I have always been completely satisfied with the product and the look it gives the exterior of the store.”

Reliance Foundry Bike Bollards

Reliance Foundry produces 17 styles of bike bollards in many different shapes and sizes. Made from sturdy, recycled and recyclable materials like steel and iron, they’re a smart investment for owners and municipalities hoping to protect their properties from car damage. Many of the models can also be installed over existing security posts, avoiding the need for costly removal. These can also be swapped out in the future when an updated look is desired.

To find out more about Reliance Foundry’s bike and other types of bollards, visit their website here.

+ Reliance Foundry Bike Bollards


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  1. Reliance Foundry August 17, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    @ejlevy — Great feedback here! Maintaining secure support while avoiding contact with body finishes can definitely be a challenge. And, ideally, proper bike parking should help avoid bikes being locked to signs and other street elements.

    We’re always looking for new ways to incorporate new styles into our product line, and we’ll be looking at how to incorporate the saddle-style bar into future designs.

    Are there any other bike rack designs that people find ideal? What does your perfect bike rack look like?

  2. ejlevy August 14, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    In my opinion another poor design for a bike rack. I would never put my GURU (if I had one as pictured) against a rack so the top tube paint job is compromised. What keeps it upright and kept from sliding down. In many locations here we see upside down U’s which are just as useless. People lock their bikes next to sign posts instead of the rack the town spent thousands on.

    A good design would entail a post with a cross bar that has loops underneath. One would simply lift the front end of the saddle over the bar and if they want to lock it they can even string the cable through the saddle and the frame into the loop under the top bar. Go to any triathlon race and see how they hold the bikes in the transition area.

  3. Tafline Laylin August 8, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Oh how fascinating! I’ll never take these for granted again. Thanks so much for sharing.

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