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Car Park Safety & Traffic Calming How-To Guide

1. Security Bollard

Do bollards stop cars?

Protecting your building fronts and busy walkway entrances from any potential vehicle mishaps is a serious business. Standard bollards are either surface mounted or potted, frequently installed without steel reinforcement, or concrete cores. Those bollards won’t be strong enough to stop a vehicle travelling at 5kmph. Quality bollards with impact testing results and capabilities are the right choice for a safer environment.

Are bollards safe?

Bollards become defective after vehicular impact or when poorly maintained.  A damaged bollard may cause a trip hazard. If a surface mounted bollard is impacted with great force, the bollard potentially could become a dangerous projectile, which could cause injury or fatality.  It is always recommended that you consult with your supplier, and choose the correct bollard for your application.

What is a security bollard?

Re-enforced bollards, aka ‘Anti-ram’ bollards are the preferred choice to create a pedestrian walkway, protecting glazing and building fabrics, while keeping your storefront secure. The correct choice of safety bollard protects against out-of-control vehicles.

Bollard types

Example security bollard specification:

  • Heavy-duty galvanised core for added strength.
  • Cast-in (potted) installation. Typically 1000mm above ground, 400 below.
  • Fill Bollard Core with concrete (usually 4:2:1 mix)

HSA bollard recommendation:

“Consider limiting vehicle speed using traffic calming measures, for example, speed humps, and bollards. However, ensure that the correct calming measure is selected for the traffic type as inappropriate use may create an additional hazard. Ensure bollards are clearly visible and if appropriate well lit and/or reflective.”

• HSA: Car Park Risk Assessment

HSA: “When assessing the workplace and planning traffic routes consider the work activities, the traffic type, the volume and circulation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Take account of commercial vehicles such as delivery vans, large goods vehicles, courier vehicles and tankers that visit the workplace.”

Consider vehicles that may infrequently if ever visit the workplace for example emergency vehicles. Include internal vehicles such as forklift trucks, tugs, visitor and staff vehicles which may include cars, motorbikes and bicycles. Remember to include pedestrian traffic such as site employees, other people’s employees, visitors and contractors.”

All traffic entering the workplace must be directed and controlled as far as practicable. If the place of work is a shared site or you do not own the site, you may have to work with other employers or the landlord to ensure that workplace transport is adequately managed on-site.

Due to the different site-specific variables, there is no set speed limit requirement, perform your own risk assessment and then decide what’s a safe limit for you. General car park guidance reccomends between 10 – 25kmph. We recommend 10kmph in a high pedestrian traffic car park like a supermarket or hospital.

Car park accident claim causes

  • An inattentive driver due to fatigue causing delayed reactions
  • Drivers being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Moving pedestrians on the road such as animals or children, causing sudden braking
  • Hazardous driving conditions e.g. snow, black ice
  • Drivers being distracted by their mobile phones
  • Faulty car features e.g. failed indicators

2. Armco Steel Guardrail

Do I need a car park barrier system?

  • Are my pedestrian walkways sufficiently safe?
  • Is there sufficient visability where vehicles are entering and exiting parking spaces?
  • Do pedestrian and vehicular routes overlap?
  • Do I need to segregate areas for different vehicle access?

AA Insurance on car park accidents

“Whether it’s a crunch, wallop, groan or bang the sound of your car crashing into another vehicle or object is a total misery for any driver.

Unfortunately, as many drivers discover, fender benders happen in car parks on a very regular basis. A recent AA car insurance poll reveals that 25% of drivers in this country have damaged their vehicles while parking over the last three years.”

Reducing car park accidents with safety barriers

  • Segregate pedestrians from vehicles.
  • Provide obvious separate footpaths or walkways for pedestrians. The width of the walkway should be wide enough for the number of people expected to use it. In our above illustration example, we’ve installed heavy-duty steel crash barriers to protect customers and staff.

Guardrail barrier types

Armco crash barrier system protects people, machinery and property against injury and damage from a moving vehicle.

The versatility of the Armco barrier allows it to be used as a single or a multiple height barrier. The legs can be either bolted down or cast into the ground. The legs can also be adapted to carry an integral handrail for effective pedestrian protection.

Technical specification & barrier regulations:

In most countries, the minimum height for pedestrian safety barriers is 900mm from the floor.

 

HSA barrier recommendation:

“If there is heavy pedestrian traffic on-site, consider traffic lights, subways or pedestrian bridges. Consider the provision of barriers, rails or pedestrian deterrent paving to direct pedestrians to designated crossing points and prevent pedestrians crossing at blind spots.”

• Diagonal or Horizontal Parking Layout?

Angled

90 Degree

Is there a minimum recommended lighting level in public car parks?

Lighting standards vary between a minimum of 75 lux to more than 300 lux. A good guideline is an average of 150 lux and a minimum of 100 lux in a public car park.

Customer versus staff car park space allocation

Shopping Centres: 5-6 spaces per 1000 sq. ft

Office Buildings: 1 space per 300 – 400 sq. ft

3. Bike Parking

Cycle / bike parking saves space; 10 bicycles can be parked for every one parked car.

Where should I install my bike rack?

  • Cycle parking should be in a prominent well-lit location in order to maximise surveillance throughout the day.
  • Install near busy areas like building entrances—position within 50 feet of these entranceways.
  • Study likely pedestrian movement patterns and direct paths to ensure that cycle stands do not obstruct routes.

Signage

Clear legible signage is essential to promote the allocation of cycle spaces, directions to the bike storage area, and signage within the racks themselves. Communicate the area is exclusively for bike storage.

Cycle parking allocation requirements

  • Multi-Storey Car park = 10% of car parking spaces
  • Public Buildings = 5% of the number of visitors per day
  • Train Stations = 5 per number of trains at peak period
  • Bus Interchanges = 1 per 50 passengers peak flow

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

  • Sheffield Hoop / U-rack
  • Bollard
  • Wave

What is the difference between long-term and short-term bike parking?

Long-term bike parking – (apartments, office, university campus)

  • Sheltered with added protection and enclosure
  • Bikes may be stored for over two hours
  • Lockers and storage

The benefit of long-term parking is more secure protection against bicycle theft as space is more enclosed with better surveillance. Illegal entry is greatly reduced, and cyclists can leave their bike attachments on their bikes.

Short-term bike parking – (supermarkets, car parks, petrol stations, public streets)

  • Unsheltered and unenclosed
  • Intended for less than two hours
  • Usually a bike rack

The benefits of short-term bike parking are, ease of use as it is positioned within close proximity to building entrances or high-traffic areas. It provides some security, but nothing major since bike stands are highly accessible in busy open public areas.

• Traffic Flow

Avoid congestion, allow ease of movement

Vehicle flow rates will need to be factored into calculations for the number of spaces to be provided, to meet demand at peak times, for example, a shopping centre or hospital car park.

Ideally there should be no dead ends in a car park. This results in cars needing to perform a turn around/reverse. Visibility is usually poor, so this can be very hazardous.

If you have no choice but to create a dead-end, make sure you allocate and mark ample space as a turnaround area. Drivers can safely turn around with better visibility.

4. Car Park Bollard

Why do you need bollards?

Hazards are commonplace in car parks.

Different bollard types are available for different scenarios.

Walkway Bollards: used to demarcate and identify pedestrian crossings.

Flexible Traffic Bollards: Delineate and separates pedestrian routes

Fold Down Bollard: Primarily used secure a reserved spot or private parking.

Flexible traffic bollard

High Viz Bollards are used by both pedestrians and drivers alike to create easy-to-understand safe routes and allow efficient and safer progression throughout the car park.

Demarcation and delineation

  • Traffic lanes
  • Cycle tracks
  • Pedestrian walkways
  • Prohibited zones
  • Light-duty security
  • Sharp bends

Polymer Car Park Bollard​

Flexible Bollard Technical Specification:

  • Reflective warning bands, therefore, improved high visibility safety
  • Flexes on impact, returns to an upright position
  • Highly durable plastic
  • Quick bolt down installation
  • Check the correct anchors and fixings are supplied

How much bollard spacing?

Bollards should be spaced  1 – 1.5m apart. This allows wheelchairs and pedestrians through, but not cars.

HSA road markings and signpost recommendation:

Mark and signpost all vehicular and pedestrian traffic routes both internally and externally. Mark or signpost information such as any restricted/no parking areas, pedestrian crossings, traffic lanes, directions, junctions, stop lines, changes in gradient, kerbs, bollards, route edges, limited head space areas, speed limits and sharp bends.

• Avoid Reversing

HSA: Eliminate the need for reversing, where possible. Consider one way systems and drive through loading and unloading areas, turning points or if space is limited consider engineering controls such as turntables.

HSA Tips

• Remove the need for reversing
• One way systems
• Identify & mark reversing areas
• Install wheel stop blocks or buffers to prevent vehicles from reversing into resticted areas
• Reversing aids

HSA Parking Recommendation:

Ensure that parking areas do not obstruct key access routes or fire hydrants. Where possible provide drive-through parking spaces. If this isn’t feasible, encourage staff to reverse into parking spaces as this reduces the number of vehicles reversing out into a flow of traffic and improves visibility for departing vehicles.”

5. Lampost Protector

The AA says that at least 20% of all insurance claims come from car park accidents – the most common category of car insurance claims.

Customers or staff damaging their car by reversing into a lampost or opening their door into a steel pole is unsafe and expensive.

Why use lamp post protectors?

Lamp post pole protectors safeguard vulnerable lamp posts against shunts and low-speed impacts. Some are high visibility making them stand out to pedestrians and drivers.

Who is liable for damage in a car park?

Lawfully, car park proprietors are only accountable for damage or loss that has been caused by the negligence of the company or its employees, and vehicle owners need evidence of this.

HSA car park   recommendations:

Provide impact protection for vulnerable parts of the workplace such as lamp posts, pipework, and columns

Polyethylene lampost specification:

  • Polyethylene Lamp post protectors are quick and easy to install. Tough moulded Polyethylene and high-density foam core will absorb vehicle nudges and low-speed impacts, avoiding damage to vehicle bumpers and/or the sign post itself
  • Hi-vis yellow with 3 bands of diamond grade reflectors – visible in all weathers
  • 7 year colourfast and UV stabilised material formula

• EV Electric Charge Point Protection

EV (electric vehicle) charge points are high value items.

To adequately protect your commercial EV charge point, install either a potted security bollard or low level safety hoops. Potted protection offers greater impact protection than a bolt down option.

6. Convex Traffic Mirror

Why use a convex traffic mirror?

There are many areas in a car park where a driver’s field of vision could be decreased leading to dangerous manoeuvres. Narrow corners, blind spots, and ‘turn-around’ areas.

Avoid accidents and claims

Dealing with collisions is time-consuming and stressful. An insurance claim can take months or longer.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Do convex mirrors work?

Traffic mirrors provide a wider field of view for both pedestrians and drivers.

They help in identify oncoming hazards, eliminating potential impact.

 

Where should I place my car park convex mirror?

Position your convex mirror in such a way, that allows optimal viewing and best possible angle.

Mount a convex mirror on a suitable pole , typically 2-3 metres high. The bigger the mirror, the wider the viewing distance.

HSA Visibility & Reversing Aids Recommendation:

“Improvement in visibility is achieved by fitting appropriate aids such as extra (convex) mirrors and CCTV to give adequate visibility to the front, sides and rear and work place layout.”

 

7. Pedestrian Crossing Ramp

Why do you need pedestrian crossings?

HSA Pedestrian Safety: “People being hit or run over by vehicles is one of the main causes of workplace fatalities. By law pedestrians and vehicles must be able to circulate safely in the workplace.”

Vulnerable car park users

Occasional customers, or new staff are likelier to have an accident due to their unfamiliarity with the car park routes and traffic flow system.

Pedestrian Crossing Ramp - rubber specification

  • Usually manufactured from rubber, modular in design, allowing you to create a ramp size specific to your road width
  • Crossings should be non-slip surfaces. The non-slip surface structure standard is European 45SRT
  • Pick a colour variation that is high-visibility and contrasts from roadway, making it visible from a distance
  • They should have an elevated rubber threshold that slows down vehicles (double up as a speed ramp)

Traffic island refuge

HSA Pedestrian Safety Recommendation:

“Provide pedestrian crossing points which have good visibility for both the driver and the pedestrian. If the road is wide, provide a central refuge for the crossing pedestrian. If there is heavy pedestrian traffic on site, consider traffic lights, subways or pedestrian bridges. Consider the provision of barriers, rails or pedestrian deterrent paving to direct pedestrians to designated crossing points and prevent pedestrians crossing at blind spots.

• Disabled Parking & Restricted Mobility Access

How many spaces in a public car park that must be reserved for disabled motorists?

Each local authority sets out its own parking standards in the current Development Plan. Minimum requirements for disabled parking provision are usually included and these tend to be incorporated into planning permissions. In most local authorities the current requirement is for 1% of total spaces to be set aside for disabled motorists. Note: UK standards tend to be higher than Irish standards.

  • Parking spaces should be no more than 160ft / 50m from the building entrance
  • Access aisle should be 4ft / 1.2m wide
  • Spaces to be clearly marked with signpost and surface marked disabled logos

8. Shelter Types

Smoking Shelter Regulation Checklist

  • Check with your local council if you need planning permission.
  • Could noise from staff smoking in the shelter cause disruption for neighbours?
  • If it has lights, will it cause light pollution?
  • Ensure your shelter complies with the OTC (Office of Tobacco Control) regulations, whereby 50% of the wall open area is ventilated
  • Perform a risk assessment to ensure car park shelter is safely located
  • Will exiting smoke go into adjacent building windows or vents?

How many people fit inside a smoking shelter?

Depending on how many employees / visitors you need to accommodate, there are typically 2 different shelter sizes: 6 person / 10 person

Commercial Shelter Types

  • Taxi
  • Ticket/payment machine
  • Staff/smoking
  • Bike storage
  • Trolley bay

What surface type should you attach your shelter to?

  • Concrete is the ideal surface for installation. The surface needs to be hard/robust and level.

• Car Park Signage

  • Clear, visible, pictorial, colour coded, logical and informative.
  • Use internationally-recognised pictograms
  • Regular inspection of signs is required to ensure the display is correct, and have not been defaced by graffiti, or obscured by weather damage.

Well designed and informative signage helps maintain a recognised circulation of traffic and safe operational conditions.

Signs should be consistent through and continuous along vehicle and pedestrian routes.

Ensure legibility by attention to lettering size and style, use strong colours on a non-distracting background, good lighting without glare. Good contrast is also critical.

9. Speed Ramps

Human error

Careless drivers, impatience and distractions are all cause for human error.

Pedestrians pushing loaded shopping trolleys, carrying young children, or immersed in their electronic devices could also lead to serious accidents.

“The majority of road crashes are caused by human error. Research has shown that driver error accounts for over 80% of all fatal and injury crashes on Irish roads”

What speed bump type should I pick?

All speed bumps aren’t the same.

Be sure to check the speed bump product specification. Look for:

  • Traffic type: low or high volume
  • Trucks and HGV compatible 

How far apart should speed bumps be spaced?

“Good design practice is to space appropriate features as regularly and frequently as practicable (70m to 100m).

Poor design practice is to have features that encourage harsh braking and consequent heavy acceleration in between (severe features or spacing greater than 120m apart).

It is advisable to locate the first feature in a system of traffic calming close (40m to 60m) to a point on the road where speeds are already lowered. Such locations include a junction, tight bend etc.30 Where this is not possible advance signing and gateways or entry treatments would help to alert drivers and riders to the need to slow down and take care.”

Traffic Management Guidelines Ireland

What's the difference between a speed bump and a speed hump?

Speed bumps are made of plastic or rubber and have high visibility and hazard markings.

Speed humps traverse the entire road width. They appear as part of the road itself because they are covered in asphalt or tarmac. More commonly seen in residential estates.

Is there a standard height for speed bumps?

Recommended speed bump height depends on your country and road type.

In Ireland, there are generally 2 heights, 50mm and 75mm high for a more severe warning.

HSA Traffic Control/Speed Recommendation:

“Consider limiting vehicle speed using traffic calming measures for example, rumble strips, speed humps, narrowing roads using bollards, raised curbs. However, ensure that the correct calming measure is selected for the traffic type as inappropriate use may create an additional hazard. Ensure that any traffic calming measures are clearly visible and if appropriate well lit and/or reflective.”

• Landscaping

HSA Landscaping Recommendations:

Ensure that drivers have adequate visibility to enable them to see hazards. Check that landscaping does not affect visibility especially at junctions. In certain situations, boundary wire mesh fencing may be more appropriate in certain site areas where a wall may restrict vision.

  • Use plants with a slow capacity for growth
  • Keep plants below 1 metre hight
  • Plan a maintenance regime
  • Prickly bushes are a useful disincentive on boundaries

Where car parks are developed on sites with existing mature plating, the layout should allow for the retention of good quality trees and shrubs.

10. Trolley Bays

Why install a trolley bay?

Missing shopping trolleys have to be replaced, and they aren’t cheap. Plus, if lost trolleys end up in local neighbourhoods, they can lead to an accident. This will hurt your brand and may lead to fines.

Loose trolleys are car park hazards

Loose trolleys become car park hazards and lead to vehicle impacts and damage. If a trolley bay isn’t clearly visible relatively nearby, customers will leave trolleys in stray places.

Trolley bay benefits

Convenient and prominent shopping trolleys bays help customers buy more products per visit. Customers don’t want to carry their needed items by hand. Bays also keep trolleys organised. It’s imperative you have multiple trolley bays in high traffic areas to create a seamless customer experience.

Mini trolley bay - suitable for indoor use

Generic modular trolley bay specification:

  • Material: steel frame & polycarbonate panels
  • Fits in a single parking space & accommodates a total of 36 trolleys (3 wide)
  • Dimensions: 4221mm long x 2473mm wide x 2302mm high

Where should I locate my trolley bay?

A customer should never need to walk more than 40 or 50 meters to a trolley bay. Think elderly shoppers and mothers with children. Trolley bays should be highly visible from a distance too.

11. Wheel Stops

Problems that require wheel stops

Sloppy and dangerous parking outside of the designated car park space markings can lead to vehicle collisions or pedestrian accidents. Vehicles reversing into dangerous low-vision or prohibited areas.

Why should I install wheel stops?

Installing and continually inspecting traffic calming solutions may take time and money. But leaving yourself open to future collisions and claims will cost you far more. As a car park owner or manager, it is your responsibility to ensure you have taken every possible precaution to ensure everyone’s safety. Wheel stops are an affordable solution that vastly improves car park safety. 

What do wheel stops do?

Wheel Stops add both safety and aesthetic appeal to your parking complex. A wheel stop alerts the driver about the designated parking zone. They can prevent vehicles from infringing on walkways or disabled spaces. Stop drivers reversing into dangerous areas.

Measure area beyond wheel stop that back or front of the vehicle will exceed

Wheel stop specification checklist:

  • Area of installation: residential, commercial, or industrial
  • HGV truck or car use
  • The volume of traffic: low or high

HSA wheel stop recommendation:

“install stop blocks or buffers to prevent vehicles reversing onto people / structures”