By Brie Peterson / Published October 2017
When many communities ask the question, they are hoping for a direct and simple solution that can stop gate strikes from happening. Unfortunately, there is not a method for communities to halt all gate strikes and the damage they can cause. Whether the entrance has barrier arms, metal gates, or both, some drivers will attempt to go through without stopping, some will tailgate, and sometimes accidents will happen. However, there are methods for preventing gate strikes as much as possible, as well as systems and processes for handling the damage when it occurs.
The cost of gate strikes varies for each community, every year. For instance, the cost for fixing a damaged barrier arm is likely not as costly as fixing or replacing a decorative swing gate. If the tower that controls the barrier arms or gates is hit, then a community should anticipate an even higher replacement or service cost. The amount will also differ greatly based on the community’s gate or security provider. Some communities can and will spend thousands of dollars a year on gate damage alone.
Before thinking about the best way to handle gate damage, there is equipment that can help prevent some accidents. One type of barrier arm that can help thwart accidents at night are LED barrier arms. These barrier arms work efficiently to illuminate a gated area, especially if the entrance is not well lit. When the arms are down, the LEDs are red. When the gate opens for a resident or verified visitor, the lights turn green. This can stop many accidents if drivers have a hard time seeing the barrier arms or the gates behind barrier arms at night.
If tailgating is a large part of the problem for a community, high-speed barrier arms are an option. Regular barrier arms often take three seconds or more to open, and another three-plus seconds to close. High-speed barrier arms can open in less than a second and close in less than a second. This does not give many drivers the opportunity to tailgate. When combined with gates to create a trap system, this method is very effective in only allowing verified visitors through, reducing tailgating, and decreasing gate strikes.
Often, part of the cost associated with gate strikes includes having a service provider re-install the gate or barrier arm, even if the device does not have to be replaced. This could be because the gate came off its track, or the barrier arm fell off the tower. For a gate, it is typically best to contact the provider. For a barrier arm, sometimes someone in the community can be trained to place the arm back on the tower. This can help alleviate some of the costs.
Also, some barrier arms have improved and are even easier to re-install. When these barrier arms are hit, they swing back instead of falling off. While they cannot automatically reset, a person simply has to press a reset button and pop the arm back into place.
Once a community has decided on the right equipment at the entrance, there are came-ras and systems that help handle gate strikes when they occur. First, a community will want an overall camera that captures vehicles going in, therefore capturing any damage at the gate. Next, a license plate camera to capture the tag of the vehicle is needed. This can be used to retrieve vehicle owner information. If possible, a third camera to potentially capture the driver’s face will also help. These are typically seen in the visitor verification lane or kiosk.
Some security services will install and monitor the entrance cameras for a community. If the service provider has a gate-strike sensor on the barrier arm, then they will immediately know when an arm has been hit. This allows the service provider to pull the correct video right away and notify the community. Community officials can then use that video along with the vehicle owner information to try to recoup damage costs.
While there may not be an absolute solution to end gate strikes for all communities, there are several options and services that can help prevent and handle the damage. With many choices for gates and barrier arms, communities can decide which method is best for their entrance and issues. Then cameras and security service providers can assist a community further to determine the culprit and recover expenses.
Business Development Consultant for Envera Systems