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Crash rated bollards are an important and effective security barrier that can protect buildings, property and pedestrians from low- and high-speed vehicle collisions. You will find them in settings that range from light security needs to maximum protection requirements. They are often a critical line of defense between your storefront, home or public space and dangerous and destructive collisions. Crash rated bollards are not one-size-fits-all. It’s essential that you choose the correct high- or low-speed crash rated bollard for your specific property needs and concerns.

Why Do You Need Crash Rated Bollards?

In contrast to non-rated bollards, crash rated bollards are tested to determine the bollard’s durability and resistance to vehicular impact. These tests account for the vehicle’s weight and speed, as well as the distance of penetration between the vehicle and the bollard. When you install crash rated bollards at your home, business or public space, you are creating a safer area for all.

Some benefits of crash rated bollards include:

  • They protect your assets: High-speed and low-speed crash rated bollards provide thorough protection in various scenarios. They can also help you manage traffic and pedestrian flow and draw attention to entryways or curbs. Choosing the right crash rated barrier for your space can give you peace of mind against accidental and intentional collision-related damage.
  • They are durable: Crash rated bollards are made out of carbon or stainless steel. Each material is strong and can resist weather-related damage, UV fading, minor scratches and rust.
  • They are versatile: While a bollard’s primary purpose is to absorb vehicle impact and minimize damage to property and pedestrians, they are also an excellent way to create a natural barrier and add visual interest to your property or public space. Regardless of the type of bollard you choose, you can find them in the style, color, pattern and finish you need to fit a specific environment. You can enhance your crash rated bollards with optional bollard accessories, like covers, wraps or lights.
  • They are non-intrusive: Unlike security gates, fences or medians, bollards take up minimal space and let pedestrians walk around comfortably. For some property types, like shopping centers, stadiums or private residences, this convenience is essential. You can choose removable or automatic bollards to save more space.

Low-Speed vs. High-Speed Crash Rated Bollards

The difference between a low-speed and high-speed crash rated bollard is how they are tested. Each undergoes testing according to different impact speeds and vehicle weights. Low-speed bollards protect against low-speed collisions. You will find them in places with minimal security risks. High-speed bollards can withstand higher speed crashes from heavier vehicles, and you use them in areas that require as much protection as possible due to the value of the property, the location and average traffic patterns or associated security risks.

Many types of bollards are available in standard and crash-rated variations, including:

  • Fixed and surface mounted crash rated bollards: Choose bolted-down fixed bollards for permanent establishments, like stores, high-security government buildings or school campuses. These are the most common type of bollard because of their sturdy construction. You can mount a fixed bollard to the ground through direct embedding, a flange or a base plate.
  • Removable crash rated bollards: Removable bollards are ideal for temporary uses, like concerts or outdoor markets, or areas that areas that have traffic from large objects or vehicles.They lock into the ground using either an internal or external lock for a secure installation.
  • Automatic crash rated bollards: When you need to direct or block cars during specific times or require flexible barriers in high-traffic areas, automatic bollards are an effective and convenient choice. Automatic bollards are either electric, pneumatic or hydraulic, and each type integrates seamlessly into your property. The bollards can be integrated with a variety of access control options.
  • Manual crash rated bollards: Manual and manual assisted retractable bollards are either partially or entirely hand-operated, depending on your property’s needs. Because they are both durable and flexible, they are a great choice for a variety of low-risk and high-risk settings, like private homes, storefronts and museums.
  • Lighted crash rated bollards: Lighted bollards have built-in lights at the top that you can use to accentuate your landscape or provide added visibility in dark or indoor areas.

In some cases, you might find it beneficial to mix low-speed and high-speed bollards around your property. For example, a grocery store with a parking lot near a busy highway in the front of the building and a small, employee-only parking lot in the back of the building might install high-speed bollards in the front and low-speed bollards in the back for optimal coverage.

Low-Speed Crash Rated Bollards

Low-speed crashes can sometimes be a result of drivers hitting the wrong pedal and unintentionally accelerating into a storefront or curb. These incidents can result in expensive damage and possible injury to pedestrians. ASTM International places bollards within a set of standards, based on their ability to withstand vehicular impact. F3016 bollards are low-speed variations and stand up to collisions between 9 mph and 32.5 mph.

Although you should analyze each property on a case-by-case basis, low-speed ASTM crash rated bollards are typically ideal for the following types of properties:

  • Storefronts
  • Outdoor seating areas
  • Public parks
  • Gas stations
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Private residences
  • Drive-throughs
  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Clinics
  • Car dealerships
  • Parking lots
  • Theaters and cinemas
  • Libraries
  • Storage buildings
  • Offices
  • Gyms and recreation centers
  • Hotels
  • Apartment complexes
  • Warehouses
  • Parking garages

For storefronts, homes, and businesses in low-speed areas, you can choose between the following F3016 crash rated bollards:

  • S10 crash rated bollards: S10 bollards have been tested to withstand 10 mph velocity at speeds of 9 mph to 18.9 mph.
  • S20 crash rated bollards: S20 bollards have been tested to withstand 20 mph velocity at speeds between 19 mph and 27.4 mph.
  • S30 crash rated bollards: S30 bollards are the highest rated low-speed bollard, withstanding 30 mph velocity at speeds between 27.5 mph and 32.5 mph.

High-Speed Crash Rated Bollards

Use high-speed crash rated bollards for areas that are at risk for attacks or intentional vehicle-ramming incidents, as well as areas with fast-moving traffic or proximity to heavy trucks. You should also use high-speed bollards in areas where any type of impact could be devastating, like in power plants or warehouses that store highly flammable materials. The more significant the security risk or threat of speeding traffic, the higher-rated bollard you need.

High-speed crash rated bollards provide maximum protection in settings like:

  • Banks or financial institutions
  • Airports
  • Military bases
  • Power plants
  • Stadiums and arenas
  • Train stations
  • Bus terminals
  • Hospitals
  • Police stations
  • Courthouses and government buildings
  • Post offices
  • Historic sites and monuments
  • Museums
  • Outdoor markets
  • Jails and prisons

Although M-ratings are the industry standard for high-speed crash rated bollards, you will still find several K-rated bollards and listings that use K-rating terminology. You can choose high-speed bollards in any of the following strengths:

  • M30 or K4 crash rated bollards are tested to remain durable in 30 mph collisions.
  • M40 or K8 crash rated bollards can withstand speeds of 40 mph.
  • M50 or K12 crash rated bollards offer high-speed protection up to 50 mph.

How Do I Choose a Crash Rated Bollard?

When choosing a bollard, selecting the correct rating is essential to protect you and your property. Installing low-speed bollards in a high-risk environment may be ineffective during a crash, while choosing high-speed bollards for a low-risk area may be unnecessary when low-speed bollards can do the job just as effectively.

Consider the following to help inform your decision:

  • Existing traffic patterns: Examine all existing traffic patterns, including the direction and flow of traffic, the speed of the vehicles, where those vehicles park, how far the parking is from your property, the frequency of traffic, the safety of your surrounding neighborhood and the type of property you are securing. For instance, a sidewalk cafe in a congested tourist area with heavy traffic will likely need higher security than a cafe in a rural downtown. Other properties, like banks and government buildings, require high-speed barriers regardless of their surroundings due to the increased chances of break-ins or intentional collisions.
  • Possible threats: Make a list of all potential risks to your property, like the average speed of passing cars, the size of the vehicles that frequent your neighborhood or storefront and the threat of a robbery or planned assault on your property. Proximity is also an important factor. Tightly packed traffic moving outside your storefront is usually less of a threat than more open spaces because vehicles will not be able to accelerate and gain as much momentum before impact. You should also consider what establishments and risks are nearby. For example, a quiet storefront with minimal traffic may not need high-speed bollards on its own, but if it’s located near a rowdy bar or in an area where drunk driving is prevalent, you might consider a higher rated barrier.
  • Site considerations: Is this a residential or commercial property? What is the terrain like? Is pedestrian flow an important factor for bollard placement? How visible will the bollards be once you have installed them? You should also account for your local climate and weather conditions. If the roads near your establishment get icy in the winter, there is an increased risk for accidents. This information will help you choose the type, color and location of your barriers.
  • Legal requirements and codes: Consider all local, state and federal regulations for security barriers. Some properties have specific building and property codes you must follow. Certain industries may also have specific standards and rules you must abide by during the selection and installation process.
  • Appearance and installation: What do you want the final product to look like? How important is the appearance of your bollards? Will they remain in place, or do you need a more portable barrier? You can choose between fixed and removable bollards and add decorative accessories to customize your finished look.

Visit other sites within your industry and examine the types of security barriers and crash rated bollards they use. You can also ask whether their chosen speed rating has been effective against collisions in the past. If you’re unsure what type of crash rating you need or what level of protection is best for your property, contact a professional who can perform a thorough risk assessment and help you make the right choice.

Accessory Options for Crash Rated Bollards

Once you have chosen between high-speed or low-speed bollards, you can customize your barriers with additional accessories that meet your chosen aesthetic or make them even more functional for your property. Make your crash rated bollards your own by pairing them with one or more of the following:

  • Bollard covers: Use a bollard cover on your square or rounded bollards to improve their appearance or visibility in low-light areas. Covers come in all varieties, including plastic and decorative.
  • Bollard WrapCovers: WrapCovers are similar to standard covers because they can freshen up the look and style of your bollards and display logos or signs. However, they are made of dyed fabric rather than plastic.
  • Bollard lights: Lighted bollards are ideal for dark parking garages, downtown sidewalks, alleyways and other low-light or indoor settings. Lights come in a variety of shades, intensities and designs.

Find Low- and High-Speed Crash Rated Bollards at Blockaides

If you need new or updated crash rated bollards for your property, Blockaides can help you choose the right rating and type of bollard for your specific needs. With security and crash rated bollards, and bollard accessories, we have everything you need to protect you, your property, your business patrons and nearby pedestrians against low- and high-speed collisions. Contact a representative today and let us know more about your property and security concerns, or visit us online to learn more about our step-by-step process.

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