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Navigating the rules and regulations for car parking signage

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Keeping staff and visitors safe is often the number one priority for a business or organisation. After all, if an accident occurs on your premises, you could be found liable if your health and safety commitments are not up to scratch.

This responsibility extends to the outdoors, particularly if you have a company car park. Car parks, large or small, can be dangerous places if they are not well managed. From having clearly marked parking bays, to displaying informative signage, it is vital to keep a car park well maintained.

Who is responsible for your car park?

The responsibility for car park management varies depending on its location. If it is situated on public land, it will likely be maintained by the local council, or a private parking company, outsourced by the local authority.

However, if your car park is on land you own, lease or rent, this is classed as private land so the health, safety and maintenance regulations fall on you. It is the business owner’s responsibility to ensure that any car parking provisions are suitable for staff and visitor use.

Rules and regulations

Private car park owners need to keep up to speed with all associated rules and regulations. They must be a member of a DVLA recognised Accredited Trade Association (ATA).

The British Parking Association (BPA), which represents the UK parking and traffic management profession, has its own Accredited Trade Association called the Approved Operator Scheme (AOS), which is specifically for organisations that undertake the management of parking on private land. All members must adhere to the British Parking Association’s Approved Operator Scheme Code of Practice.

The Code of Practice sets out specific guidelines for car parking signage, which covers the size, placement and content of all signs.

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 legislation also covers a range of advice for signage use, from speed and parking restrictions to directional and hazard signs. All signs must comply with the designs outlined within this guidance.

Why is signage so important?

Car park signage plays a vital role in keeping its users safe. Signs help to direct and inform road users, encouraging them to adhere to the rules set out. They promote parking etiquette and help keep drivers on the right side of the law.

Investing in high quality signage will not only increase compliance from road users, but it can also save a lot of time and money.  By clearly presenting the rules, such as where people should and shouldn’t park, and the directions in which they should travel; there is less of a need for manned patrols from parking attendants.

Clear communication is key, so selecting the right signage is crucial.  

Choosing the right signs

Directional – Helping drivers navigate your car park isn’t always an easy task, particularly if you have a one-way system or multiple levels to contend with. Clearly signposting entrances and exits, along with the direction that traffic should flow, can help keep accidents to a minimum.

Staff and visitors – if you have specific parking bays for staff and visitors you should clearly identify them to avoid confusion.

Disabled drivers – The British Standards Institution (BSI) recommends that commercial premises with designated off-street parking should have one space for every employee who is a disabled motorist, with an additional five percent of the total capacity for visiting motorists. In addition to having enlarged bays for this purpose, these parking spaces should be clearly identifiable to drivers. From signs that point out where the disabled parking is located, to ‘blue badge’ signage, it is vital that these recommendations are promoted and observed.

Cautions and penalties – It is often wise to remind drivers that they should not leave valuables in their vehicle, particularly if it is not covered by manned security. You should also give road users the heads up on penalties if parking restrictions are breached. Signage providing this advice should be placed at numerous points around the car park.  

Considerate parking – blocking access routes or parking in bay designated for specific uses, such as emergency vehicles, can cause major problems in a car park. Having signage, such as ‘no parking’ and ‘keep clear’ signs, to remind drivers to park considerately can help keep car park operations running smoothly.

Getting car park signage right can make the visitor experience, and yours as the car park owner, a positive one, ensuring you remain compliant at all times.

To find out how we can help you increase the efficiency and safety of your cark park with high quality signs, get in touch today on 01285 650441 or email Brian@jpsonline.co.uk

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