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Flexible Delineators or Safety Bollards: When to Use Each

Flexible delineators are similar in appearance to bollards.  However, the intended functions of both devices are distinct from each other.  This article will clarify the ways in which the two differ.


The Purpose of Bollards

Bollards convey a simple message: “don’t go here!”  They are intended as obstructions to either foot or vehicular travel.  In some cases, they take the form of substantial structures made of steel or concrete.  In other cases, they are made of highly flexible materials and are meant to “bend rather than break” if struck by motor vehicles.  Regardless of their construction, however, their purpose is to discourage or prevent undesired or unauthorized access to certain areas.


The Purpose of Delineators

Delineators are intended not so much to obstruct traffic as to guide it.  The non-verbal message they’re intended to convey is: “please go this way.”  Like many bollards, they’re highly reflective and easily visible at night.  They also alert motorists to changing road conditions due to the presence of structures such as guardrails.  A typical use for them is to alert a motorist of a guardrail in place alongside a curving road.  Delineators are often installed atop the rail to make it more visible to passing autos. 


Flexible delineators differ from other types in that they rise vertically from the road surface.  This affords them a higher degree of visibility compared to traditional channelizers, which are typically level with the road.  They’re especially useful in areas where side-swipe types of accidents are likely to occur, such as when traffic is merging from one road onto another.  They prevent vehicles from moving leftward too quickly as they enter the stream of traffic.  Their flexibility keeps them from causing damage even if they’re struck.


Both bollards and delineators serve vitally important functions.  Knowing when each should be used is important for maintaining public safety, both on the streets and off.