Safety Bollards, ADA Parking Signposts, and “Wheel Stops” (A Joint Position Paper of the Storefront Safety Council and Richard Avelar & Associates)
Our database of over 25,000 vehicle-into-building crashes in the United States has taught us many things about the safety of Americans where we work, play, shop, and dine out – not the least of these is that there are clear risks associated with unprotected storefronts:
Storefront crashes occur more than 100 times per day
46% of all storefront crashes result in an injury
8% of all storefront crashes result in a fatality
Each year in the US, as many as 16,000 people are injured and 2600 killed
Consider this helicopter video footage below (taken by Chicago’s ABC7 News) after an elderly customer drove into a Starbucks store when her foot slipped onto the gas pedal:
The collapsed ADA signpost and the severely damaged storefront present striking evidence of how a simple safety bollard, installed at the front of the ADA parking space, could have protected the driver, the building, and the store’s patrons from a simple pedal error accident.
Safety bollards are vertical posts, commonly fabricated from steel, that serves as a physical barrier against vehicle-into-building and vehicle-into-pedestrian crashes (and vehicle intrusions into ADA-mandated accessible pedestrian routes). Industry-standard ASTM F3016 (Standard Test Method for Surrogate Testing of Vehicle Impact Protective Devices at Low Speeds), 1 promotes and standardizes the testing of such safety bollards, making it easier for design professionals and property owners and managers to select crash-tested products to increase public safety and reduce risks and liability from these increasingly common incidents
Installing bollards at storefronts across North America would prevent numerous injuries and deaths
Section 502.6 of the 2010 ADA Standards3 requires parking space identification signs at accessible parking spaces. Such signage, positioned at least 60 inches above the surface, often is supported by steel signposts that provide very little structural resistance to vehicle impact when drivers mistake their gas pedals for their brakes. During such incidents, collapsing signposts have folded the metal signage and posts into pedestrians or into vehicle windows, resulting in serious injury.
Installing these ADA signposts into F3016-tested safety bollards would avert such injuries while also preventing vehicle-into-building and vehicle-into-pedestrian crashes.
Jointly, the Storefront Safety Council, the Storefront Safety Initiative, and Richard Avelar & Associates recommend that at all accessible parking spaces throughout North America, designers and managers should integrate the metal posts supporting ADA-required signage with safety bollards (complying with ASTM F3016) and should concurrently remove all associated wheel stops.
These simple measures would greatly reduce the risks of major property damage, pedestrian injuries/fatalities, and ensuing tort liability claims.
Let’s all work together for greater life safety and improved accessibility by promoting safety bollards and the elimination of wheel stops at parking spaces!
Storefront Safety Council
Richard Avelar & Associates (Oakland, CA)
and Storefront Safety Initiative