Protecting people from vehicle collisions with pedestrians, non-motorized vehicles and buildings has become a growing focus in recent years, especially given the rise of vehicle-building collisions. It is estimated that over 400 injuries occur as the result of collisions between vehicles and buildings annually, causing over 500 deaths each year in the United States alone. This is a concerning statistic for businesses and government facilities, as such accidents endanger their employees, buildings, operations, and security efforts.
For many, the solution is in a perimeter security measure, such as a fence, gate, or concrete wall. However, these solutions are not always appropriate, as they may not allow easy access by pedestrians or designated delivery, maintenance, and emergency vehicles. For maximum security, while still allowing pedestrian and provisional vehicle access, many businesses and government facilities incorporate bollards into their perimeter security solution.
If you have a need to secure a perimeter from vehicles, while allowing pedestrian access, Aotons’s bollards are an excellent option. To help you decide whether bollards are right for your next project, we have provided a helpful guide that includes bollard options available on the market and the variety of applications for bollards.
1. What is a bollard?
A bollard is a short post embedded into a street or sidewalk. These posts are common in city and building designs, acting as boundary markings or protective barriers. Originally made of wood or stone, bollards have been around since the Roman Empire. They served as barriers between pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles. Today, bollards guide traffic and protect pedestrians, buildings, and property from vehicle collisions.
2. Types of bollard
Although bollards can be a decorative feature to define the perimeters of a site, they are most often used as a safety measure for directing and controlling traffic. For buildings or sites particularly concerned with vehicle collisions, protective bollards can also resist vehicle impact, protecting pedestrians from injury and damage to property.
Bollards can be either crash or non-crash-resistant and may be static/fixed, removable, or retractable to suit different applications. Those bollards that are crash-resistant should be certified by way of a crash test in accordance with an accredited standard.
1) Non-Crash Resistant Bollard
Bollards are not only meant as protective barriers — they are also used to direct traffic, warn against attacks, and add to the exterior aesthetics of a building or location. Bollards can be used to block off alleys, bike trails, and sidewalks from vehicle access to prevent collisions. They may also provide a visual deterrent, indicating to passers-by that a building or area may be guarded by additional security. This can help deter potential intruders from attempting to forcibly enter the building. In many situations, non-crash-resistant bollards may be the most cost-effective choice.
Non-crash-resistant bollards can be more decorative and contain features that include a variety of lighting options. While they do not provide hard security, they do provide a visual barrier that everyone will recognize, and will typically deter vehicle ramming and prevent minor collisions.
2) Crash Resistant Bollards
Anti-ram/crash bollards are engineered and crash-tested relative to their ability to resist the impact of a vehicle. They are designed to withstand the impact of a typical car or truck traveling at specific speeds. Commonly, crash-resistant steel bollards protect government and military installations, both of which are more prone to vehicular terrorist attacks. Airports, seaports, energy facilities, and many commercial and industrial sites use anti-ram bollards to protect pedestrians their employees and facilities from harm.
3) Shallow Mount Bollards
New developments in bollard design have resulted in shallow mount bollards. This type of security bollard utilizes a spring steel bollard core, allowing the bollard to flex and absorb the energy from very high impacts. The design of these bollards allows them to have a very shallow foundation, around (8) inches for M30/K4 type systems, and (16) inches for M50/K12 type systems. This shallow foundation offers the potential to install above existing utility systems or constructions and provides an economic advantage as well. It expands the design possibilities of your exterior security system.
Additional benefits offered by shallow-mounted bollards include faster, easier installation than many other bollard types, which can save time and reduce labor costs. In fact, most business and facility owners and operators who install them experience substantial cost savings. They also minimize the disruption to the facility and its surroundings. Because shallow-mounted bollards do not require extensive excavation, there are fewer concerns about striking underground utility lines or harming the environment. Shallow-mounted bollards are an excellent choice in cities and downtown areas where digging at depth isn’t always possible.
4) Retractable and Removable Bollards
Both crash-resistant (anti-ram) and non-crash-resistant bollards can be removable or retractable. If your bollard/crash barrier must be removable to allow vehicular access periodically, bollards are still an excellent design choice. There is always the potential to incorporate a small quantity of removable or retractable bollards in a security plan to allow construction, maintenance, or delivery-type vehicles to be accessed when required.
Bollards can be designed to be removed or retracted, either manually or mechanically. SafetyFlex bollards are removable and offer high crash-test ratings, while only requiring a shallow foundation.
Perhaps the most important advantage of using retractable or removable bollards is their flexibility: It’s easy to install them to accommodate a periodic security need, and then take them out when the need no longer exists. Examples of where retractable or removable bollards are frequently the best protection option include creating temporary barriers at sporting events or concerts, or for seasonal or periodic road closings.
#1. Advantages of Removable Bollards
If you need only occasional access control, removable bollards are the most sensible solution. These options usually come with different locking mechanisms depending on the level of security you need. That said, you can install and remove the bollards quickly, and they leave behind a covered ground sleeve that won’t impede damage/injure any vehicles or pedestrians that pass over them.
#2. Best Uses for Removable Bollards
Removable bollards work well for crowd and vehicle control during events or other temporary situations.
Place them in their slots when a parking lot meets capacity, or utilize them in streetscapes to ward off vehicles from events that feature a large amount of foot traffic. You can also use them to block off access roads in fluid areas, like worksites and even college campuses.
5) Rising Bollards
Rising bollards are a form of retractable bollard that can control access when needed, in some ways like a security gate. Some operate via hydraulic power, which raises and lowers them to permit or prohibit vehicle access. However, some bollards are manually operated which makes them longer-lasting in many instances. Typically made of solid steel, rising bollards provide reliable protection against ramming, as well as excellent resistance to corrosion. An example of a rising bollard application is controlling access at a high-volume location where vehicles enter and exit periodically.
6) Fixed Bollards
Unlike retractable and removable bollards, fixed bollards are intended to be a long-term protection and security solution. Depending on the model, the user can either embed fixed bollards or mount them to a surface. These bollards are typically the best solution at permanent facilities where the risk of a vehicle-based attack is relatively high. Examples include airports, government buildings, schools, and retail stores. The biggest advantages of installing fixed bollards are that the facility operator or owner doesn’t have to worry about moving them, as well as their ease of installation. These benefits also make them among the most in-demand bollard types.
#1. Advantages of Fixed Bollards
Some of your areas will be permanently inaccessible for vehicles or pedestrians, and you can make that clear with fixed bollards. Once you install these features, you can feel confident in their long-term durability and the restrictions they provide.
#2. Best Uses for Fixed Bollards
Some areas should never allow vehicles, and those places include government buildings, schools, airports, warehouses, stadiums, bike paths, residential areas, and more. Fixed-position security bollards will help to protect pedestrians from harm, and they can also prevent significant damage to buildings and equipment.
For example, I have a client who is a stability chamber manufacturer. His factory will produce many stability chambers and store them in warehouses. In order to ensure that the product is not damaged, and to ensure the safety of the staff. He installed bollards in front of the warehouse and along the sidewalks.
7) Stainless Steel Bollards
While bollards made of steel offer aesthetic benefits, they also offer the advantage of durability. Stainless steel provides excellent resistance to rust, enabling it to withstand the corrosive forces of rain and snow. This material is also easy to maintain, which can result in lower long-term ownership costs. Stainless steel bollards are typically made with a high percentage of recycled metal, which addresses the concerns of environmentally conscious facility owners and operators. Stainless steel bollards can be the best choice for applications that require a combination of reliable protection and pleasing visual presentation.
3. Bollard crash ratings
Bollards are crash-tested and rated in accordance with one of four commonly used standards (below), which are designed to inform the purchaser about the level of protection each bollard provides.
Department of State (DOS): Though the Department of State no longer certifies crash tests, this rating system is still very familiar. The DOS “K” ratings are based on the impact speed a crash barrier can successfully withstand in a certified crash test involving a 15,000-pound truck traveling at three different speeds. K4 certification indicates a crash test vehicle speed of 30 miles per hour, K8 indicates 40 miles per hour and K 12 indicates 50 miles per hour. In order to achieve certification, upon impact, the penetration of the cargo bed cannot exceed 1 meter.
Department of Defense (DOD): Barriers meet the certification criteria of DOS, with the exception of penetration. Three “L” designations describe penetration:
- L3 = 3 feet or less
- L2 = 3 to 20 feet
- L1 = 20 to 50 feet
In order to achieve certification, upon impact, the penetration of the cargo bed will determine the “L” portion of the rating (for example: if speed is 30 miles per hour and penetration is 3 feet or less, the crash rating is K4L3).
ASTM F 2656-07: ASTM crash ratings are the current standard in the industry, measuring the type, speed, and penetration of the oncoming vehicle, and assigning a rating based on this information.
- M indicates the vehicle tested was a medium-duty truck of 15,000 pounds
- C indicates a passenger car of 2,430 pounds
- PU indicates a pickup truck of 5,070 pounds
- H indicates a heavy goods vehicle of 65,000 lbs
The number following indicates the speed at which the crash test occurred, at intervals of 30, 40, and 50 miles per hour. For example, a bollard certified for a crash test involving a medium-duty truck driving at 30 miles per hour would receive a rating of M30. A “P” designation afterward describes the vehicle’s distance of penetration upon impact:
- P1 = 1 meter or less
- P2 = 1.01 to 7 meters
- P3 = 7.01 to 30 meters
- P4 = 30 meters or greater
For example, a medium-duty truck traveling 30 miles per hour with a penetration distance of 1 meter or less would be designated “M30 P1”.
BSI PAS 68:2010: PAS 68:2010 is a British crash test standard that is similar to the US standards stated above. Safetyflex crash-rated bollards have been crash-tested to the BSI standard. The speed of the vehicle is similar; the weights of the vehicles tested are a little heavier. For example, a 7500 KG (16,534 pounds) vehicle traveling at 48 KPH (29.83 miles per hour) is similar to DOS/DOD “K4” and ASTM “M30”. If penetration is 2.8 meters (9.2 feet) a comparable ASTM designation would be M30 P2.
Our bollards are rated according to BSI PAS 68:2010, offering ratings similar to ASTM – M30, M40, and M50 to suit the security needs of your facility.
4. Bollard applications
Bollards can be an effective method of perimeter security, preventing vehicles from accessing pedestrian sidewalks or restricted areas or colliding with buildings. Some of the more common bollard applications include the following:
Government Building Security: As seen in numerous terror attacks across the world, it is a frightening possibility that malicious parties can weaponize vehicles and convert them into lethal tools for terrorist groups. One such attack was the truck bomb explosion at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which left 168 people dead and hundreds injured. This attack, and others like it, has prompted many government facilities to look for methods of restricting vehicular access to areas around federal buildings.
For many government facilities worried about such attacks, crash-rated bollards are a security measure of choice. Crash-tested/rated bollards have the ability to restrict vehicle access to areas surrounding military and government facilities, as well as penal institutions. Unlike fixed solid barriers, bollards allow personnel access while restricting vehicles and can be removed or retracted to allow authorized vehicles access as needed.
Storefront Security: Another common use for crash-rated bollards is the prevention of vehicle collisions with storefronts. 23% of these crashes occur with retail stores, 19% with restaurants, 23% with commercial buildings, 9% with convenience stores and 7% with offices. In 2013 alone, 500 people were killed and 4,000 injured by such crashes, more than earthquakes, tornadoes, and lightning strikes combined. About 36% of the crashes were accidental due to pedal errors.
While only 7% of these vehicle-building collisions are intentional, deliberate collisions can be more troubling than accidental ones. Some of these intentional collisions are known as “ram raids” or “crash and grab” thefts, which are typically committed using two stolen vehicles — one to crash into the building, the other to get away from the scene. Typical targets for these crimes include electronics stores, gun stores, convenience stores, and ATMs. Other intentional building collisions may include terror attacks and murder attempts, such as an attack recently committed in Phoenix against three police officers, where a man attempted to run them over and collided with a convenience storefront.
Note: Statistics on types of storefront collisions courtesy of Storefront Safety Council. Copyright 2018 by the Storefront Safety Council. All rights reserved.
Traffic Control: Bollards are often used to create a border between cars pedestrians and bikes. These bollards help separate roads from sidewalks and walkways, reducing confusion for drivers and pedestrians and preventing collisions. They also enforce traffic laws by marking corners or intersections. Parking lot bollards also fall into this category, as businesses may use bollards to block entry to private parking lots.
Bollards may be used in public areas as a means to prevent cars from entering areas meant for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles. Such public areas include parks, playgrounds, schools, and bike trails, where an inattentive driver may accidentally pull onto the sidewalk and block pedestrian traffic or pose a danger to pedestrians.
Safety bollards are an important safety measure to protect pedestrians and vehicles. It is necessary to install bollards on the road.