The controversy surrounding the installation of two creepy-looking traffic bollards in the English town of Buckinghamshire has made it clear that bollard designs should be more about physical protection than visual design.
Installed to protect a local school, the bollards Bill and Belinda were designed to resemble children, albeit with cold expressionless faces.
The design was intended to fool drivers into thinking a child might be crossing the road, but residents are more annoyed than grateful.
Rather than keeping drivers safer, residents have expressed concern about the startling appearance of Bill and Belinda actually causing crashes.
Other residents have also stated that they believe that once all local drivers know that they are bollards and continue to drive normally, it could put a real child in danger of being hit if he or she crossed the road at that point.
The Buckinghamshire County Councillor Luisa Sullivan expressed that the town should continue to give the bollards a chance, as they aren’t realistic enough to distract drivers, simply keeping them aware as they pass by.
Keeping Traffic Bollards Visually Deterring and Safe
While town officials defend the decision to install these traffic bollards, this could indicate that there needs to be more of a balance between creative bollard design and physical protection.
It’s true that these posts could keep schoolchildren in the area safer overall, but they may also startle drivers rather than simply making them aware of their surroundings.
The standard traffic bollard design is yellow or stainless steel, standing as a thin pipe that stands out visually while offering impact protection in the event of a crash. Straying from this standard design could work in some cases, but in this case it seems to be divisive and problematic.
There are many creative traffic bollard designs, but designing them to be visually similar to people isn’t a common practice.
Whether or not Buckinghamshire will continue to use the bollards despite local outcry seems pretty clear: As long as they keep children safer, they’ll stay.
Testing New Designs
While we may not know the fate of Bill and Belinda, it’s safe to say that as TrafficGuard bollards continue to be popular traffic safety devices, more and more innovative designs will come out. They may not continue to resemble people, but new shapes and sizes are likely to appear over the years.
Bollards need to consistently combine visual deterrence with physical protection, and people will continue to implement new designs that alert drivers. The trick is making sure that traffic posts don’t scare drivers, which could serve as a distraction that adds danger rather than eliminating it.
Time will tell if Bill and Belinda make Buckinghamshire children safer, but they could prove to be a problem rather than an asset, making the implementation of less distracting designs a necessity.