Improving Car Park Safety Guide & Case Study

1. Security Bollard

Do bollards stop cars?

Protecting your building fronts and busy walkway entrances from any potential vehicle mishaps is a serious business. Generic bollards are surface mounted or buried 2 to 300 millimetres, frequently with no concrete or steel reinforcement. Those bollards won’t stop a vehicle from as slow as 5 to 10 kilometres per hour. Examine the product specification. Quality bollards will provide impact test results and capabilities.

Are bollards safe?

Bollards become defective when poorly maintained or a trip hazard after a vehicle collision. When surface-mounted bollards are impacted by an out-of-control vehicle, they can fly into an unsuspecting pedestrian. Consult with your supplier what is the right bollard and installation type for your needs.

What is a security bollard?

Anti-ram bollards will not only form protective walkways, protect glazing and building fabrics, but keeps your storefront secure. The potted installation ensures it will stop an out-of-control vehicle in its tracks.

Bollard types

Example security bollard specification:

Heavy-duty galvanised core for added strength. Cast-in (potted) installation. 1000mm above ground, 400 – 600mm below. Cast into ground 250mm diameter x 600mm deep approx. Fill Bollard 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.”

SVL 4 C's - How to choose the right impact protection solution

Impact protection can be a bollard, wall guard, safety barrier, PVC cladding or handrail.

Your investment/purchase has to stand up to the required onslaught. But you also don’t want to pay for unnecessary features.

We demonstrate the SVL 4 C’s buying criteria with the example of a security bollard


For storefront and building structure protection, the bollards should be spaced  3 – 5ft apart. This allows wheelchairs and pedestrians through, but not cars. It should be installed at least 25cm ‘from target’. ‘From target’ references the intended area or object that needs protection. For example, a walkway, building substrate, or EV charge station. A potted or cast-in installation means it will stop a moving vehicle.

Potted/cast-in bollard installation means it’s buried below ground level, not bolted to the ground surface.


The height above the roadway or footway of each bollard shall be not less than 1 metre. Road Traffic (Bollards and Ramps) Regulations, 1988

Traffic source: vehicles, and pedestrians.

Cast-in/potted security bollard is necessary because if hit it won’t fly out and hit a pedestrian and will stop a moving vehicle.


Red: signifies a serious action to be taken or serious prohibited action in dangerous areas. Emergency stop sign, fire fighting equipment, emergency stop buttons, no smoking.

Green: emergency escape routes and emergency exits. First aid equipment signage.

Blue: Use for any signage or communication demanding explicit behaviour or action. Example: pedestrian walkway route, or compulsory PPE required.

Yellow: safety colour signifying concern or need to be mindful of a potential hazard.  Slippery surface, chemicals, electrical danger.


Typically range from €150 – 600 per bollard. Bulk discounts will apply to most suppliers. There are a few exceptions that exceed €1000 per bollard.

Bollard price factors. Material: steel, stainless, galvanised, polymer. Features: retractable, removable, key and lock, or fold down.

2. Armco Steel Guardrail

Do I need a car park barrier system?

  • Are pedestrians walking in plain sight when cars are backing in and out?
  • Are drivers and pedestrians focused on their electronics?
  • Do drivers understand to yield for the right of way pedestrians?
  • Are my pedestrian walkways sufficiently safe?

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.

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.”

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. It can also be used as a warehouse wall protection barrier. Typically used in car parks, warehouses, delivery yards, stockrooms and distribution centres.

Technical specification & barrier regulations:

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

Galvanised anti-rust or polymer barriers are designed to withstand the weather.

• 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.”

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 kids, 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

3. Bike Parking

Cycling bike parking reduces costs and saves space; 10 bicycles can be parked for every one parked car.


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.

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.

Cycle parking allocation requirements

(Minimum of 10 spaces in each case)

  • 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 2-hour peak period Park and Ride = 20% of car parking or as agreed
  • Bus Interchanges = 1 per 50 passengers peak flow

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

  • 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.

• Diagonal or Horizontal Parking Layout?


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

4. Car Park Bollard

Why do you need bollards?

There are many types, that specialise in different scenarios. Bollard types include steel, polymer, security and traffic safety to name a few. 

Hazards are commonplace in car parks. Pedestrians and cyclists can be hit by moving cars and trucks, or squashed.

Flexible traffic bollard

Bollards are a highly-vis visual cue to both pedestrians and drivers alike to create easy-to-understand safe routes to 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 bollards are supplied with screws & fixings

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.

• 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 in, for example, a shopping centre or hospital car park.

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.

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?

Lamppost 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 obstructions  recommendation:

Keep routes free of obstructions, but where unavoidable ensure that they are clearly marked. 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 slip-on fit. Tough moulded Polyethylene and high-density foam core will take 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

• 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 onto people/structures
• 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.”

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 is decreased leading to dangerous manoeuvres. Narrow corners. Blind spots. Turn-around parking spaces or designated turn-around areas.

Avoid accidents and claims

Dealing with collisions is time-consuming and stressful. A claim can go on for months or longer. More serious is the potential for people to get hurt or worse. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Do convex mirrors work?

They provide visibility for blind corners, particularly for protecting pedestrians or vehicles from oncoming traffic. Steel outdoor convex mirrors are tough enough to be hit with rocks, they can even be driven over and are weather resistant.

Where should I place my car park convex mirror?

A typical use case is at a tight or blind corner where the driver is unable to see around it until they drive around it. There could be a pedestrian pushing a trolley. Place the convex mirror on the right angle of the corner. This is where the two sides meet that are perpendicular at the vertex — that’s where the right angle is.

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.”

• Space & Aisle Dimensions

The drive aisle or the road between the spaces is always between 20 and 24 feet wide

The average parking space is approximately 9 feet wide by 20 feet long but it always must be at least 8 feet wide

Similarly, vehicle circulation can be organized by:

  • Combined or separate entry/exit
  • One-way or two-way traffic

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 Specification Checklist

  • Usually rubber, and modular allowing you to create a ramp size specific to your road width
  • They 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)
  • It should be UV resistant to reduce colour fading

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.”

• EV Electric Charge Point Protection

EV charge point protection: how do I stop vehicle collisions damaging my change station?

To adequately protect your commercial EV charge point, use a potted security bollard with a buried core to ensure its safety. Bolt-down surface bollards aren’t durable enough for this situation.

Install EV charger protection bollard at least a foot “from target(charge station)” 

8. Shelters Types

Smoking Shelter Regulation Checklist

  • Check with your local council if you need planning permission. In most cases, provided the shelter is detached and not too big, no planning permission is needed
  • Could noise from staff smoking in the shelter cause disruption for neighbours?
  • If it has lights, will it cause light pollution?
  • The 50% Rule: legally the smoking shelter surface area must cover no more than 49% to allow smoke safely escape
  • Consider if the shelter is against a wall it may not comply with the 50% rule
  • 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?

2 generic shelter sizes:

  • 2m width x 2.5m height = 6-8 people
  • 3m width x 2.7m height = 12-15 people

Commercial Shelter Types

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

What surface type should you attach your shelter to?

  • Concrete or tarmac are ideal surfaces for installation. The surface needs to be hard/robust
  • You can also do a cast-in /potted concrete installation into grass areas, consult a specialist

• Disabled Parking & Restricted Mobility Access

Is there a minimum percentage of total 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.

  • Access space should be no more than 200ft from the building entrance
  • Access aisle should be 5ft wide
  • Spaces to be clearly marked with signpost and surface marked disabled logos

9. Speed Ramps

Car park human error

People drive too fast, are impatient, and get distracted by their children or electronic devices. Pedestrians are pushing shopping trolleys, carrying shopping bags, leading their children, chatting on their smartphones, etc.

Residential estates and busy car parks are the most unpredictable aspect of driving. High volumes of pedestrians combined with a limited field of vision and reduced space to maneuver can lead to serious accidents.

What speed bump type should I pick?

All speed bumps aren’t suitable for all traffic types and load weights. Be sure to check the speed bump product specification. Look for:

  • Traffic type: low or high volume
  • Trucks and HGV compatible 
  • Suitable for busy bus route

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.”

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. Typically a bit lower than speed bumps. More commonly seen in residential estates.

How far apart should speed bumps be spaced?

Standard road practice is to space ramps or cushions as regularly and frequently as practicable (70m to 100m). In a car park where it’s already a lowered speed environment, consider much less spacing than 70m – 100m.

Is there a standard height for speed bumps?

The recommend speed bump height depends on your country and road type. Generally, the smallest height is 25mm, the maximum height is 100mmm.

• 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.

10. Trolley Bays

Why install a trolley bay?

Missing shopping trolleys have to be replaced, and they are not cheap. Plus, if lost trolleys end up in local neighbourhoods and could lead to an accident and 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. They 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?

Ensure convenience by never needing to walk more than 40 or 50 meters to get to a trolley bay, think elderly shoppers or mothers with children. Ensure they are highly visible from distance.

• 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.

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”