A bollard is generally defined as a short post or pole that is anchored into the ground. Made from either cement, iron, steel, or even wood, it is used in different environments for a variety of purposes, ranging from hospital-room stations and boat-mooring devices in the United Kingdom to traffic-control applications in the United States. Bollards offer many advantages to their users, from centralising patient-care apparatus to preventing vehicles from being driven into unauthorised locations.
Patient Care Stations
In the United Kingdom, hospitals use bollards to assist in patient care. In this sense, bollards are short poles anchored into the floor by the patient's bed. The bollards are equipped with electrical and oxygen outlets as well as power connections for life-support machines. A study conducted in 1985 found that bollards are the most advantageous when placed to the left of the bed by the patient's head.
Perhaps the most common application for bollards in the United States is as a vehicle deflector. These steel or cement poles can be used in car parks or in restricted areas to indicate zones where vehicles are not allowed. They can also be used as safety devices to stop vehicles that have lost control. There are also plastic versions that are meant to be used temporarily, as when placed to guide vehicles through traffic lanes in work areas. They can be easiliy removed when necessary,
While the British also use bollards for directing vehicular traffic, they are traditionally used there in waterside mooring applications. Boats are tied to them while docked. Such bollards are shorter poles that are wider at the base and generally made of cast iron for both strength and weather-resistance.
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