Vandalism affects all of us and can hit maintenance budgets hard. But sometimes the vandalism is so creative and the costs of removal so small, that it can’t help but raise a smile. This was the case in Dumfries last year when it was the victim of the yarn bombing of its bollards. Yarn bombing is better known as knitted graffiti, because it uses wool rather than paint to cover the target object.
The culprits were the self-styled Bollard and Chicane Protection Authority. But they gained the support of Cycling Dumfries, who has campaigned against bollards which they see as being dangerous by being non-reflective. These were typically the traditional concrete bollards used to protect cyclists and walkers on footpaths and/or older cycleways. While these may serve their purpose well in the day unfortunately they can turn dangerous by night.
The knock-on effects of non-reflective bollards are two-fold for Councils with increased maintenance costs from damage as well as potential personal injury claims from cyclists and pedestrians. The solution is simple for bollards marking the cycle paths away from motorists, as they are ideal locations for an intentionally colourful resilient bollard with reflective tape.
Vandalism of Bollards
Less creative is the straight vandalism of bollards such as those used by schools. Newark School has 4 Billy the Bollards. These are sometimes used to mark areas around schools, where there is an increased hazard of schoolchildren. The bollards are styled to represent a child in school uniform.
Unfortunately Newark’s bollards have been vandalised several times; some being replaced many times at the taxpayers’ expense. Whether they attract this attention because they are so noticeably different, it is difficult to say.
The R&D department at Watts Street Furniture often considers what type of bollards should be placed in certain locations to deter vandalism. In the Newark location, a colourful Streetwise bollard coated in Terrathane may be the answer. Its fully pigmented finish is scratch resistant and cannot be chipped meaning the bollard is much less likely to need replacing. For paths and cycleways a colourful or plain impact flex with reflective tape would protect cyclists and walkers in dark or poorly lit areas with significantly reduced maintenance costs.