Parking is typically at a premium in schools, creating the need to fit as many spaces as possible across your campus. However, poorly designed car parks can put pupils, parents and staff at risk and increase the likelihood of life-threatening accidents.
Collisions between vehicles and pedestrians continue to be the second highest cause of fatalities in the workplace, so it pays to plan your site’s parking provision with safety in mind. Our top tips for designing parking areas at your school include all key compliance considerations – and can also be used to assess and improve your existing car park.
1. Segregated routes for pedestrians and vehicles
Wherever possible, place pedestrian routes away from your car park. Encourage the use of designated walkways and set up physical barriers to separate footpaths and parking areas.
If people must walk through a car park, consider marking the pedestrian route with walking symbols and zebra crossings. Also think about installing automatic barriers that limit unauthorised car park access, such as parents parking without permission during pick-up and drop-off times. Barriers should include safety features, such as sensors, to prevent the bar dropping when a person or car is underneath it.
2. Effective lighting and visibility
Clear visibility is essential to accident prevention, so ensure you’re providing well-positioned, functioning lighting along traffic and pedestrian routes. Survey your grounds for trees or other obstacles that may cause shadows and examine how structures, such as bin stores or tall vegetation, could restrict views around corners.
3. Ample space and layout
Reversing vehicles account for the majority of collisions involving pedestrians, so take all possible steps to keep cars moving forwards. Allow sufficient space for easy manoeuvring and, where it can be achieved, implement a one-way system.
4. Risk-free surfaces
To prevent slips and trips, provide a smooth, level surface with good drainage.
5. Separate areas for delivery vehicles
Review where delivery vehicles can safely park on your site. Ideally, you should provide a designated delivery bay within your one-way system so that larger vehicles do not need to reverse or park in places that create an obstruction.
6. Safe spaces for school vehicles and coaches
Minibuses, coaches and buses should be able to drop students without risk, allowing pupils to board and exit directly to and from a safe area, rather than into a vehicle route or road. Use lay-bys on the school side of your street to prevent students walking out into traffic from behind the bus. Provide sufficient lay-by space for all necessary buses, and do not allow pupils to disembark or board from other areas. Instead, train your bus drivers to wait for the designated space to become free.
Expert health and safety support for your school
If you have questions about any aspect of school safety, our education sector specialists are on hand to help. Talk to us about cost-effective compliance solutions – book your free call below.