Guide to Bollards for Parking Lots
Parking lots are convenient places for people to leave their cars as they shop inside their favorite stores. They are also high-traffic areas for vehicles trying to maneuver in and out of tight spots. Pedestrians walk between the cars with their children and pets, who often have unpredictable walking patterns. Add in shopping carts and people checking their phones, and you have safety issues.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. Parking lot bollards increase safety in parking lots for everyone involved. Bollards can define safe areas for vehicles and pedestrian zones. Different types of bollards are best for different situations and can be used in public areas, streetscapes, historic buildings, churches and parking lots. Bollards can be fixed or removable, which can be a great option for parking lots that serve different audiences.
ASTM International introduced a standard to minimize damages to storefronts. The ASTM WK13074 standard covers the separation of pedestrians and traffic and protection for stores.
An Introduction to Parking Lot Bollards
Parking lot bollards and barriers are items used to separate areas of a parking lot to keep pedestrians, shoppers and motorists safe. You may recognize them from their tall, cylindrical appearance along walkways or in front of stores. Bollards can come in different sizes, colors and materials with various customization options. Bollards serve a triple purpose:
- They give pedestrians a safe, vehicle-free area to walk.
- They guide drivers away from pedestrian areas and protect cars from damage.
- They safeguard structures such as buildings, storefronts, parking offices and green spaces from drivers crashing into them.
These three purposes make them essential for everyone’s safety when designing and building a parking lot. Be sure to check your local building codes and regulations. These rules may require you to install bollards to create a safer environment for pedestrians, drivers and buildings alike. Regardless of mandates, you should consider installing bollards for your current parking lot project. When you finish the process, you’ll be glad you included this extra safety measure.
Bollards have existed for centuries. In the United States, the Department of State standardized the design in 1985. Since then, bollards have evolved from simply acting as a light barrier to designs with higher impact resistance. Different standards for testing exist for low-speed and high-speed crashes. Low-speed bollards are the most common in parking lots and storefront areas.
Why Are Bollards Important for Parking Lot Safety?
Bollards help keep traffic in appropriate areas. They are a visual reminder and create a barricade to prevent vehicles from entering certain areas. Some bollards are mostly a gentle guide, while others can withstand collisions. A particular bollard’s characteristics determine its intended use and function within a space. Bollards improve parking lots in the following ways:
- Encouraging traffic flows
- Providing both a visual and physical barrier
- Determining zones for pedestrians and zones for vehicles
- Improving the aesthetics of the parking area or public space
- Stopping cars from crashing into storefronts or areas with pedestrians
In the U.S., over 100 incidents happen daily where vehicles crash into storefront areas. These crashes are usually due to the driver losing control temporarily of the vehicle by accidentally pressing the gas pedal. Storefronts in front of parking zones or where vehicles face the storefront must be mindful of the potential for accidents. Businesses can place bollards designed to slow or stop cars in front of their storefronts to create a barricade and stop vehicles before they can damage property or injure pedestrians.
How Bollards Increase Parking Lot Safety
You can increase parking lot safety with bollards by placing them strategically. Here are some ways to use bollards to improve parking lot safety:
- Guide traffic in an organic flow
- Create barriers in front of storefronts
- Create zones where pedestrians can move safely
- Protect structures such as security stations or pay booths
- Use removable or manual retractable bollards to restrict areas for events or in high-traffic zones
Choosing the Right Bollard for Your Parking Lot
Once you’ve decided bollards are the answer for increased safety in your parking lot, you must determine the right kind for you. Many types of bollards exist to meet a parking lot’s unique needs. You’re sure to find the style that will help keep everyone safer in your parking lot in a way that suits your purposes. Consider the following questions when looking for the right bollard for your space:
- What are the traffic patterns?
- Where are zones for pedestrians only?
- How much space is there between your security barrier and the buildings?
- Do you need to use bollards to guide traffic, add aesthetic value or provide protection?
As you learn more about each type of bollard, think about your safety goals for your current project to determine which kind or kinds would be best. Many bollards have various styles and color options.
Mobile or Collapsible Parking Bollards
Also called removable parking bollards, this style is ideal for short-term events and other temporary applications. You can set up a removable parking bollard where you need it, and if the time comes when you need to move it somewhere else, you can do it with ease. Here are some examples of this type of bollard.
- Automatic retractable bollards: Automatic retractable bollards use pneumatic, electric or hydraulic power to automatically move up and down. Integrate them with an access control system to enjoy increased safety when you need them without having to do any heavy lifting. Since you can lower these bollards at will, they’re an excellent choice if you care about an area’s aesthetics. Raise them again during special events or rush hour to keep everyone safer in a matter of moments.
- Removable bollards: Removable bollards are a portable solution to your parking lot’s safety needs. These bollards slide into a sleeve in the ground and lock in place with either an internal or external locking mechanism. Disengage the lock to remove the bollard and reattach it to another sleeve wherever you need it. And with durable materials including steel, stainless steel and aluminum, removable bollards provide years of easy, customizable use.
- Manual retractable bollards: Manual retractable bollards allow you to conceal them in an underground casing when not in use. You can raise them again whenever your parking lot needs extra safety. Some manually assisted bollards even have a lift-assist feature to simplify the raising and lowering process.
Use retractable bollards in scenarios that demand a larger presence than traffic cones can offer. These bollards provide a durable solution while letting you move them in ways that suit your needs. Direct traffic and block off restricted access areas with removable and retractable parking lot bollards.
For a sturdy option that also offers some of the freedom of mobile bollards, choose bolt-down bollards for your parking lot. These bollards secure to the ground to provide increased security against vandals who might steal your parking lot’s bollards and any cars that may drive into them. They’re strong, but they also offer a level of flexibility in where you put them. You have the option of removing the bolts, which would allow you to take the bollards down or secure them in another location.
Bolt-down bollards work best attached to a concrete pad. This solution offers a level of convenience in the construction process. If the area you’re working with contains thick layers of rock, you may be unable to pour a deep concrete pad to hold permanent bollards. Bolt-down bollards only need a shallow area of concrete in which to secure them. If you need a sturdier, more permanent and more customizable solution than removable bollards, semi-mobile bollards are for you.
Use semi-mobile bollards for the following applications:
- Defining pedestrian pathways
- Separating areas throughout your parking lot
- Deterring vehicle traffic from specific areas
Heavy-duty parking lot bollards take security and safety to the next level. These bollards can take a beating, but they must stay right where you put them because they lack the flexibility of the options mentioned above. When you pick locations for your heavy-duty bollards, you need to be sure the places you choose can hold a bollard for years to come without needing removal. These bollards exchange freedom for enhanced security.
The most popular form of heavy-duty bollard is the embedded fixed bollard. These are aluminum, steel or stainless steel poles with their bases underground for greater security. These bollards work best when you can pour a deep concrete pad around the bollard itself. Once the concrete sets, you can enjoy a steadfast, durable bollard that can help keep your parking lot safer from various accidents. Your pedestrians and drivers alike can feel safer with heavy-duty bollards around.
If your parking lot needs a security measure to stop even a moving car, you need to install crash-rated bollards. These bollards are the peak of parking lot protection and are beneficial for the following applications:
- Shielding a storefront from damage from a moving vehicle
- Defending pedestrians walking in front of shops near a road or busy parking lot
- Securing property or landscaping areas from any destruction caused by vehicles
Protect a business’ assets and people’s lives with the help of crash-rated bollards. And thanks to crash rating safety standards, you can know that your crash-rated bollards can protect people and structures from vehicle speeds of up to 50 mph — far faster than the average parking lot speed.
Benefits of Bollards in Parking Lots
Parking lot bollards offer undeniable benefits. As you’ll see, the advantages of bollards can include so much more than safety — though that is the foremost reason to install them. Realize the vast possibilities you can achieve with parking lot bollards by discovering their many perks. The benefits of bollards for parking lots include:
1. Visual Protection
Manufacturers design bollards to be noticeable to the human eye. With their upright position and bold appearance, bollards are hard to miss. This characteristic of bollards is one reason they are so helpful in achieving improved parking lot safety.
Accidents often happen because confused people end up driving or walking somewhere they should have avoided. The sight of bollards could be enough to stop these incidents from happening. With the visual cues bollards provide, pedestrians and drivers can better understand where they can walk or drive to stay safe.
2. Physical Protection
Bollards create a strong barrier for the physical protection of pedestrians and buildings. They can also restrict unwanted automobile access while allowing safe pedestrian access. Made of structural-grade steel or other durable materials, heavy-duty bollards are ready to enhance safety in various circumstances, including the following.
- Vehicle accidents: Bollards can stop moving vehicles from entering specific areas and endangering storefronts from damage and people from injury.
- Robberies: Some thieves may try a smash-and-grab operation, and strategically placed bollards can remove that possibility.
- Safer pedestrian traffic: When pedestrians walk on the safe side of a line of bollards, they can feel shielded from the dangers of moving vehicles and distracted drivers.
- Parking booths: Protect the person in charge of your parking lot by including bollards around their booth.
Every year in the U.S., there are over 22,000 crashes into stores, offices, bus stops, retail centers and storefronts. Installing bollards adds another layer of protection to prevent your storefront from being part of this statistic. Many parking lots are designed to prevent vehicles from pointing directly into buildings, but there are places where this is not possible. Bollards offer a visual reminder to drivers not to drive into certain areas and guide them to where they need to be. If a car is out of control, the barrier can slow down the vehicle.
3. Access Control
Mobile and collapsible bollards are ideal for controlling access to designated locations and customizing an area’s daily or seasonal use. If you need to set up a reserved parking area for an event, you can use mobile or collapsible bollards to achieve this. Then, when the event is over, you can return the parking lot to the way it usually is.
Access control also provides an added element of safety. Collapsible bollards protecting the entrance to an area can allow security officials to control who has access. Verified people can enter as needed, and you can keep unverified people out by maintaining the bollards in place.
Bollards also restrict vehicles from using areas not created for them. A driver might consider a shortcut through a pedestrian zone. Bollards protect these areas and ensure they are being used correctly.
Bollards can help you secure an area by creating a perimeter around the location. Doing so will provide visual and physical protection benefits for whoever or whatever is within the boundary. Here are some ways a bollard perimeter can achieve this goal.
- A perimeter for pedestrians: Clear-cut boundaries can give pedestrians a visual clue that they should stay out of the area. When spaced closely enough, the bollards can even make pedestrian access to an area more challenging, further showing them that they should avoid entering the area.
- A perimeter for vehicles: Brightly colored bollards can instruct drivers to stay away from an area and physically stop them if they keep driving.
Children, older adults and people who use mobility aids such as wheelchairs are often vulnerable in parking zones. Drivers might not be able to see small children and pets as they are frequently below the line of sight. Bollards assist in creating perimeters and give added protection to vulnerable people.
Proper lighting is essential for parking lots. Lights help drivers see the parking spots and any pedestrians who may be passing by. Pedestrians also need adequate lighting to see where they are walking and avoid straying into unsafe areas.
Lighted bollards can help guide motorists and pedestrians even in the dark of night. Bollard lighting along a walking path can clearly show someone how to reach their destination. People can know where to drive without damaging their cars, thanks to illuminated bollards marking an area.
Parking Lot Bollard Accessories
Many business owners are interested in bollards because of their vast benefits, but they want to be sure they can maintain their parking lot’s and storefront’s visual appearance simultaneously. Parking lot bollard accessories are the answer to this dilemma. Bollard accessories make it possible to keep an area safe while providing visual appeal, among other purposes.
There are four ways you can enjoy the benefits of bollards while achieving your desired aesthetic.
- Decorative bollards: Decorative parking lot bollards can provide the safety of regular bollards while maintaining visual integrity with the surrounding area. You can customize them to meet your needs, turning your parking lot safety feature into an essential part of your area’s appearance. Churches, universities, historical districts and urban centers can all enjoy decorative bollards in their parking lots.
- Bollard caps: Plastic bollard caps sit atop bollards to make them more noticeable throughout your parking lot. Put down the paintbrush and use a bollard cap instead to make your bollards stand out. And if a driver runs into a bollard, the vehicle and the bollard will experience less damage due to the cap’s protection. Bollard caps also come in attractive colors, helping boost your parking lot’s aesthetics.
- Bollard covers: Plastic bollard covers offer the same benefits as bollard caps except with complete coverage of each bollard. Parking bollard covers provide enhanced visibility to drivers and pedestrians in your parking lot. They also come in different shapes to fit round and square bollards.
- Bollard WrapCovers: Bollard WrapCovers remove the need for painting your bollards while adding a touch of visual flair to your parking lot. WrapCovers can display your patriotic side, or you can showcase words and phrases that attract people to your business. Increase the parking lot’s visual appeal and protect your bollards with bollard WrapCovers.
Shop Blockaides for All Your Bollard Needs
At Blockaides, we prioritize parking lot safety. That’s why we offer high-quality bollards and bollard accessories to fit your unique needs. We understand that the sheer variety of bollards can be overwhelming, so we created our website to make navigating our complete selection easier than ever. Visit our helpful product pages to learn more about how we can increase your parking lot’s safety.
We offer several types of bollards, including fixed bollards, crash-rated bollards, lighted bollards and decorative bollards.
Please contact us online or call us at 909-217-3412 if you have any more questions about bollards or any of our services. We look forward to fielding your questions and helping you achieve a safer parking lot.