Bollards are one of the most effective and durable solutions available for pedestrian protection. They are very commonly seen outside buildings and also at high-security facilities like military bases embassies. As their main use is to prevent vehicles from reaching a building or property and reduce injuries in case a vehicle runs over the pavement. Bollards come in various styles, there are aesthetic bollards installed for pedestrian management to prevent terrorists from entering secure facilities.

However, when you are a security integrator or even construction consultant, you might have come across safety standards and crash ratings that help you in choosing the bollards that meet your security needs. Crash testing is basically a regulated part of purchasing vehicle security devices and can help you make the right buying choice.


What is Crash Testing for Bollards?

Bollard’s ability to resist high-impact collision is rated by ramming the bollard with vehicles at a different weight and approaching speed. Initially, K ratings were created to define bollard’s capacity to stop a vehicle when its bumper hits it, but eventually, bollard’s ability to resist high-impact terrorist actions became important.

And they were tested with a large vehicle at high speeds, possibly with explosives on board and M ratings, which tested barriers for their ability to stop a 15,000-pound truck at 30, 40 and 50 miles per hour (mph) came into being.

There are different organisations like American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Publicly Available Specifications (PAS), as well as the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and the British Standards Institution, have introduced their rating systems.

Both K and ASTM ratings are now used for classifications based on the vehicles they address. ASTM bollards cover a wider range of impact types and include low-speed bollard crash testing

Why consider crash test rating while buying Bollards?

Bollards that are not certified cannot promise definite resistance. They could be suitable for your needs or not at all good. Certification helps in both ensuring that you make an informed and safe decision. In a lot of countries, projects have regulations on certified bollards.

Crash testing allows you to select bollards that fit the specific needs of your building. You need to also know that just because it is “certified” does not mean it is appropriate for your project. So make sure you know your environment before you choose a bollard. For example; a high-security location needs more protection than some park pedestal. Be certain you have a thorough understanding of what each part of the crash codes means.


Most common crash ratings for Bollards

ASTM Bollard Standards – F3016, F3016M and F2656-07

  • F3016 – It is commonly used in reference to medium-duty vehicles that weigh 15,000 pounds.
  • F2656-07 – It typically covers high-security requirements, such as those for military areas, financial institutions or government buildings. They are rated with speeds of 30 to 50 mph.
  • F3016 – The ratings address vehicles at lower speeds and allows minimal penetration lengths, with a maximum of 4 feet.
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ASTM categorised in many ways depending on speed, weight and penetration distance

  • Speed ratings (these are based on 5000 pounds vehicles)
  • S10: Nominal minimum test velocity of 10mph and a permissible speed range of 9.0 to 18.9mph
  • S20: Nominal minimum test velocity of 20mph and a permissible speed range of 19.0 to 27.4mph
  • S30: Nominal minimum test velocity of 30mph and a permissible speed range of 27.5 to 32.5mph
  • Penetration ratings are also a part of both low and high-speed ASTM standards.
  • P1: Less than 1 feet

P2: 1 to 4 feet
Failure: Greater than 4 feet

High-speed crash codes are divided into sections based on the size of the car used for testing.

  • C ratings: For small passenger cars of 2,430 pounds
  • PU ratings: For pickup trucks of 5,070 pounds
  • M ratings: For medium-duty trucks of 15,000 pounds
  • H ratings: For heavy goods vehicles of 65,000 pounds

Penetration ratings for high-speed standards are as follows and apply to all vehicle sizes.

  • P1: Less than 3.3 feet
  • P2: 3.31 to 23.0 feet
  • P3: 23.1 to 98.4 feet

K-Rated Bollards and M-Rated Bollards

K ratings were developed by the DoS in the ’80s based on the penetration distance of a vehicle’s front bumper past a security barrier. Both the K rating and M rating certification involves the medium-duty 15,000-pound vehicle.

Did you know?

K ratings are still used frequently in industry talks, but officially, the M ratings are more appropriate in many countries or projects as they follow the latest testing methods.

K ratings are divided into the following distances:

  • L3: Less than 3 feet
  • L2: 3 to 20 feet
  • L1: 20 to 50 feet

M ratings are categorised into:

  • M30: Vehicles going 30 mph
  • M40: Vehicles going 40 mph
  • M50: Vehicles going 50 mph

Low-Speed vs. High-Speed Crash Testing

Various crash testing focus on different factors like speed, weight and support structures. The potential for vehicles to penetrate a security barrier rises with speed and weight. These ratings are also applied to certify other installations like vehicle barriers and road blockers. Some places need bollards to stop vehicles at highway speed while others require to block slow-moving vehicle incidents (eg; storefronts, drive-thrus, urban areas). Each type of crash can be reduced in severity with a different type of bollard.

  • High-speed ASTM standard – F2656
  • Low-speed ASTM Standard – F3016 (below 30 mph)

Remember, The distinction in speed criteria will help you to select bollards that will respond best to the traffic conditions and likely potential threats.

Points to consider before buying crash rated bollards?

Purchasing bollards needs you to know the nature of your environment, especially what is the potential threat. Here are some points to ponder.

  • Traffic Patterns: What kind of vehicle may enter and at what speed?
  • Threats to the environment: What are the most likely damages that a vehicle crash can cause?
  • Damage Type: The damage is to pedestrians or the building?
  • Space between bollard and building: How much space will you have between the bollard and building that needs protection?
  • Use case: Do you need the bollard to streamline traffic or improve aesthetics?

Knowing the answers to questions can help you in deciding what bollard is suitable for you.

Operational features to look for in automatic bollards:

EFO- Emergency Fast Operation – Often comes as a feature for automatic or semi-automatic bollards. EFO, or Emergency Fast Operation, is high speed rising of bollards from the lowered position into a protected position in the time of emergency. This speed ranges from under 1 second up to 5 seconds.

The fastest speeds will be around .75 seconds. Considered as the anti-terrorism feature in bollards the EFO when activated during the lowering operation of the bollard causes it to at once. It is a priority command which overrides all safety functions of induction loops and light beams as well as the “fire brigade” command.

Hydraulic/ Electromechanical Operators – Automatic bollards are usually operated by a hydraulic or electromechanical operator. Where electromechanical bollards are used in places with moderate frequency traffic and hydraulic operators are high-frequency areas, and offer up to 2,000 movements per day.

Buy crash rated bollards that fit your needs from Stebilex

Now that you know all about what goes into crash ratings for bollards and what are some of the operational features you should look for, you can make a more informed decision about which ones to implement in your site. Here is our product recommendation from leading brands like FAAC, Armakontrol and Hormann.

Arma control High-security PAS68 Rising Bollards is an automatic bollard system. Operated with a hydraulic operator, it offers best deterrence to even larger vehicles and can be integrated with License Plate Recognition, Automatic Access System (AAS), Card Readers, etc. The powerful hydraulic unit offers fast operation with rising/falling time of 7-9 seconds. The bollard meets the ASTM F2656-15 C740-K8, PAS68 2013- N3 7500-65, IWA 14-1:2013 N3C 7200- 64 standards and another model in the series is certified with K – 12 crash rating.

M rated Bollards

FAAC J355 HA M30-P1 Bollard

Ideal for public facilities with heavy vehicular and people movement automatic bollard, FAAC J355 HA M230-P1 is designed to stop a 6,800 kg lorry travelling at 50Km/h (=30M/h). The bollard is operated by a hydraulic operator, which has an IP66 protection rating and raising the speed at 6seconds and lowering time of 2 seconds. The high-security bollard is also available in EFO (Emergency Fast Operation) version.

M rated Bollards


The automatic J355 HA M50 from FAAC is a crash rated bollard perfect for perimeter protection at high-security facilities. They are tested in accordance with PAS 68:2013 impact test and are capable of stopping a 7500Kg truck running at a speed of about 80km/hour (50Mph). The J355 also comes in an Emergency Fast Operation (EFO) with a fast emergency rising time of 2seconds.


The automatic high-security bollard A 275-M30-900 H from Hormann (Pilomat) is suitable for high-frequency usage. The bollard offers up to 2000 movements/day. The integrated hydraulic unit can be configured with a control that can operate multiple bollards remotely at an 80 m distance. The M30 models are fast and come with the soft-start and soft-stop functions. Moreover, the optional EFO (Emergency Fast Operation) enables the fastest opening time of just within 1.5 seconds.


The A 275-M50-900 H meets the highest safety requirement and is suitable for critical facilities like ministries and government facilities and is certified M50, K12. A 275-M50-900 H also features Emergency Fast Operation (EFO) and allows remote installation of control units. The controller unit of A 275-M50-900 H is capable of handling multiple bollards from an 80 m distance.


The A 275-M50-1200 H is suitable for critical facilities like ministries and government offices and is certified M50, K12, PAS68. The automatic bollard offers up to 2000 cycles a day and almost 300,000,0 cycles over its service life, making it suitable for very frequent use. With an impact energy destruction of 2000000, the bollard offers maximum resistance on impact. The A 275-M50-1200 H features Emergency Fast Operation (EFO).


Let Stebilex Systems help you

We supply products from leaders in the physical security industry including FAAC, Armakontrol, and Hormann that feature modern design, fast operation, and powerful deterring power. Our portfolio includes the highest crash rated and high-security products like crash bollards, automatic, semi-automatic, and fixed traffic bollards with EFO operation. Stebilex Systems is a leading supplier for bollards and traffic barriers in the Middle East. Get the right solution for your facility at great prices from us, talk to our product team today.

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