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The city uses car-proof bollards, why not sign posts?

January 30, 2016
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Pedestrians and cyclists were bemused to see the binner playing with the bollard.

Friday morning (January 29) found me downtown in the pouring rain, taking photographs of my foot on the neck of a prone traffic bollard.

This was me following up my post on the 17th about cars and trucks repeatedly damaging the bike island signage at Manitoba Street, on the south side of West Broadway Avenue. I had suggested that the city might try making the sign posts more car-resistant by mounting them on springs, for instance.

The next day, one of my friends who lives downtown, told me how the yellow bollards on Union Street, between the Viaduct and the power station, are routinely driven over, without damage, by emergency vehicles.

The bollards my friend referred to are placed to block westbound motor vehicles from entering the Union Street Cycleway on the west side of Main Street. I ride right past them every three weeks, or so—every time I go into the Downtown Eastside to pickup the returnable beverage containers put aside for me by a certain small condo.

A busy day of bottles, bollards and blogging

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The bottles I picked up on Friday (nearly $30)—which helped pay my storage locker rent.

Friday morning, at 7 a.m., I was in the Downtown Eastside to make another one of those condo pick ups, so I stopped, both on the way there and back, to take a closer look at the Union Street bollards.

They’re made of hollow tubes of thick gauge plastic, about 120 cm tall, fixed internally by heavy steel aircraft cable to plastic mounts that are visibly bolted into the asphalt of the road. The aircraft cable is sprung somehow so that the bollards can easily be pushed flat to the ground and when you let go of them they simply pop back up again, none the worse for wear.

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Simple and simply indestructible. Why aren’t their like used on bike islands?

They’re made by Texas-based Impact Recovery Systems (IRS) and branded as “Tuff Posts“. According to the company:

“Tuff Post has been tested to sustain 50 impacts at 50 MPH with little damage to the unit and to the impacting vehicle, while remaining upright with no vertical listing.”

Additionally, IRS also offers a variety of parking lot sign posts: “light weight impactable aluminum sign posts”, “rebounding steel parking bollard posts”, and so on—almost any of which would seem to be applicable to making the signage on Vancouver’s bike islands much more impact-resistant than it is at present. Click the image to enlarge it.

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