If you’ve ever driven through a city, you may have noticed that bollards are an important part of the urban landscape. These sturdy columns are not just urban decoration; They act as important barriers, preventing vehicles from invading spaces reserved for foot traffic and providing visual and physical guidance for cyclists, vehicles, and pedestrians. But beyond these everyday functions, there is a category of bollards designed to provide protection in the most extreme situations – crash-rated bollards.

These sturdy fixtures are engineered to act as a line of defense in the event of a vehicle collision, mitigating the impact and protecting pedestrians and infrastructure from potential harm. But how can we ensure their protective capabilities? The key is that these bollards undergo rigorous crash testing and are ASTM-certified. In today’s guide, we’ll cover how to get a crash bollard certification. Read on to learn more.

1. What are crash-rated bollards?

Crash-rated bollards are designed to withstand impacts, meaning they can absorb impacts without breaking, bending, or being uprooted from their foundation. Although steel is the most commonly used material, plastic and aluminum are also sometimes used. In fact, crash bollards can be made from any material as long as the material is strong enough to absorb a crash with the required force. In order for a manufacturer to claim that its products meet specific crash standards, those products must first pass a testing program established by an independent third party.

In 1985, the Department of Defense established Class K for these bollards to demonstrate that they could stop medium-duty trucks at all speeds. A more comprehensive set of standards is now available from ASTM International, which includes a bollard testing standard.

crash-rated bollards

2. ASTM test standards

While there are many testing standards, they all assess a system’s ability to mitigate damage from a vehicle collision by defining acceptable penetration limits, which can be used to determine whether passive perimeter and active entry point barriers are suitable based on setback distance from a point. . specific location. ASTM provides standards for a variety of products and materials, including crash bollards.

As part of the ASTM protocol for testing the stopping ability of crash-rated bollards, basic and penetration ratings are assigned. The base rating takes into account the vehicle’s weight and speed, while the penetration rating indicates how far the test vehicle’s chassis is able to extend beyond the bollard. Under ASTM’s new standards, crash-rated bollards are being tested and certified for different types of vehicles and at different speeds. ASTM also classifies tested crash-rated bollards based on the distance a vehicle may extend beyond the bollard. The most common ratings in ASTM standards are:


Speed Rating

Penetration Rating

Medium Duty Truck
15,000 lbs
  • M30–30 mph (K4 equivalent at P1)
  • M40–40 mph (K8 equivalent at P1)
  • M50–50 mph (K12 equivalent at P1)
  • P1 ≤ 3.3 ft
  • P2 3.31–23.0 ft
  • P3 23.1–98.4 ft
  • P4 > 98.4 ft
Small Passenger Car
2,430 lbs
  • C40–40 mph
  • C50–50 mph
  • C60–60 mph

crash-rated bollards

3. Crash simulation test

Before bollards are tested, crash rating simulations are used to study the effects of a crash and the bollard’s ability to withstand an accident. These simulations are used to test engineered crash bollards that are created to pass specific tests at certain speeds.

The results of a crash simulation can be obtained without actually damaging the new car. In this approach, computer-based testing can be performed quickly and cost-effectively, allowing design improvements to be made before the crash bollards are produced. Before investing time and money in real crash testing, problems can be solved using simulations, which model the physics of the test vehicle and bollards, as well as the foundation and reinforcement design.

In crash rating simulations, numerical approximations are used; however, the accuracy of these simulations is limited by the algorithms used and the assumptions made when modeling the structure. The simulations use the finite element method (FEM), which means each part of the structure is modeled as a set of points connected by lines, called elements. Each element has its own stiffness and damping properties, which determine how it flexes and oscillates during impact.

4. Crash rating test process

To ensure the safety of pedestrians and drivers, crash bollards are tested by an independent testing agency. The testing process requires the crash bollards to go through several key steps before they can be certified.

For example, bollards can be placed in front of a heavy pickup truck traveling at high speeds. The test vehicle simulates what would happen if a large truck were involved in an accident, weighing and moving at the same speeds these vehicles often experience on city streets.

Cameras record the entire test so engineers can study the bollard’s ability to absorb the initial impact force. The documentation process included capturing the installation of the bollards and taking photos of the bollards and test vehicles before and after testing. This is done to document damage to foundations, bollards, and test vehicles. To accurately monitor and evaluate bollard penetration, cameras are installed precisely on lines P1 (3.3 ft), P2 (23.0 ft), and P3 (98.4 ft).

During the certification process, test vehicles collide with bollards at varying speeds, depending on the specific level of certification required. For example, if the goal is to certify a bollard for use in a high-impact scenario, such as being able to withstand a crash from a large truck traveling at 50 mph, the bollard must be tested at that precise speed.

Aotons’ crash bollards are engineered to meet specific ASTM ratings; this means they are designed to pass specific tests through calculations or computer simulations. Additionally, AOTONS’s crash-rated bollards are tested and certified, which means they have passed crash testing and received a specific rating.

Crash testing is a critical stage in the development of crash bollards, which are designed to strengthen the perimeter of any commercial space. The durability of these bollards is not only a structural requirement but also a commitment to protecting the people who frequent these areas. By prioritizing investment in crash bollards, companies are demonstrating their commitment to enhancing the safety of their sites and employee welfare.

The process of selecting the correct bollard type is critical and can serve as a proactive measure to prevent vehicle accidents. It’s important to understand the various certifications, such as those offered by ASTM, to discern which bollard meets your unique safety specifications.

crash-rated bollards

5. Conclusion

The above is what this guide will teach you about how to obtain certification for anti-collision bollards. Of course, these test certifications apply not only to traffic bollards but also to warehouse guard rails. I believe that after reading this article, you will be able to consider whether the bollard has passed the ASTM test when looking for a bollard. So that you can find better bollards. If you have any further questions, please contact Aotons for consultation.

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