Even after tens of thousands of slip and fall injuries nationwide, some commercial property owners insist on using concrete parking bumpers (or wheel stops) in their parking lots. While these devices are intended to block the forward motion of vehicles in parking spaces and prevent accidents, they are a serious danger to pedestrians and serve as the source of countless serious orthopedic and neurologic injuries.
Both the Traffic Engineering Handbook and The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) recognize the danger posed to pedestrians by wheel stops. The Traffic Engineering Handbook states, “ parking lots should be designed to avoid the use of wheel stops.” Where they are used they should not be placed in ”foreseeable pedestrian paths.” The American Society for Testing Materials publishes guidelines for the safe design and construction of parking lots. The Society warns that parking bumpers in the interior of a lot have disadvantages “for they may interfere with and present a hazard to people walking between cars….”
Both organizations tout the use of bollard posts in place of wheel stops. A bollard post is nothing more than a concrete cylinder that rises four to five feet above a parking lot surface. It too impedes the forward movement of vehicles. However, unlike parking bumpers, bollard posts can be seen more readily by pedestrians in parking lots. They are raised and are visible and therefore prevent tripping injuries that are common in parking lots that use wheel stops.