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grgowl (Civil/Environmental) (OP)
19 Jan 07 0:13
Earlier on this forum, dhjdhj launched a thread seeking statistics that might document whether backing into a parking space, or pulling forward into the space results in more accidents.

see this thread:
thread163-148923

Many helpful responses were provided, but most referred to ANGLED parking, and we are specifically interested in PERPENDICULAR parking.

Many people provide opinions that it is safer to back into a parking stall, because you can see where you are going when it comes time to pull out, and avoid collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists.  They point out that backing into the parking space is safe because the driver would have already driven past the stall and seen if there were any potential problems, before starting the parking maneuver.

Conversely, it has been pointed out that drivers who have backed into a parking space may tend to zoom out of it, and thereby have a collision.  This apparently accounts for regulations in some cities that prohibit back-in parking.

Can anyone provide a link to an authoritative study that examines this issue?

Thanks
Erik Hendrickson
francesca (Civil/Environmental)
19 Jan 07 10:09
I can't provide a link, but some food for thought.

When you back into a parking space, it takes longer, meaining that your aisles are blocked for a longer period of time. This can lead to circulation issues.

When you pull forward into a parking space, it is much quicker, and backing out again is easier (therefore safer?) than backing in because you have more room in the aisle than you do in a parking space.

Another complication of backing into a parking space is that you cannot see the lines very clearly (if at all) in your mirrors, which means that sloppy parking is more likely, and that will further compound the accident risk and convenience.  
civilperson (Structural)
19 Jan 07 18:07
Wheel stops are set for the overhang of front wheels, backing in crowds sidewalks, lawns and pedestrians and is practiced by idiots in a hurry.  Should be prohibited everywhere.
ACtrafficengr (Civil/Environmental)
23 Jan 07 13:18
When you back out of a parking space, it takes longer, meaning that your aisles are blocked for a longer period of time. This can lead to circulation issues.

In addition, if you have a van or SUV parked to your right and you are in a passenger vehicle, you are backing out blind into traffic.

     "...students of traffic are beginning to realize the false economy of mechanically controlled traffic, and hand work by trained officers will again prevail." - Wm. Phelps Eno, ca. 1928

"I'm searching for the questions, so my answers will make sense." - Stephen Brust

francesca (Civil/Environmental)
6 Feb 07 9:06
ACtrafficengr I'm amazed that it takes you longer to back into a wide open space than a narrow space demarcated by lines you can't see. Perhaps this should be my masters thesis topic so we can settle it with facts instead of opinions?

As for if you have a van or SUV next to you and you're in a passenger vehicle, then you're also pulling forwards into traffic blindly. The point is moot.
ACtrafficengr (Civil/Environmental)
6 Feb 07 10:20
Somewhere, Francesca, we have a failure to communicate. I'm not sure if it is me or you, but what you thought you read is not what I meant to type. I meant it takes longer to back out than to drive out, not that it takes longer to back out than back in. Actually, I can see the parking stall lines quite well. Power mirrors are a wonderful invention.

And the point about visibility is not moot. In most vehicles, the distance from the front bumper to ther driver's eye is shorter than the distance from the driver's eye to the back bumper. With back-in parking, you only have to pull out a meter or two to see around a larger vehicle, not most of your car length. Try it next time you are in a parking lot.

Believe me - I drove a Civic for 10 years. Almost everything was a larger vehicle.

But most importantly, I don't think perpendicular parking has any place on a public street!
 

     "...students of traffic are beginning to realize the false economy of mechanically controlled traffic, and hand work by trained officers will again prevail." - Wm. Phelps Eno, ca. 1928

"I'm searching for the questions, so my answers will make sense." - Stephen Brust

francesca (Civil/Environmental)
6 Feb 07 11:21
Regardless of which way you pull out of a parking space, the passing traffic (hopefully in a parking lot/garage, not a street!) will see you before you see them, and hopefully they'll yield to you.

I definitely don't think that perpendicular parking (or angled, for that matter) has any place with a traffic speed of 15-20 mph. The only place I can think of where I've seen perpendicular parking on high speed streets is where there is a driveway connection and it's possible to exit the parking space before entering the traffic stream.
grgowl (Civil/Environmental) (OP)
26 Feb 07 22:05
Thanks for the responses.

And hopefully the lively debate will draw others to share information (especially if it includes a study with real data).

I am exploring a policy at our large facility that applies to parking lots - not street parking.  Many of our lots are small (50 +/- vehicles), and shaped in a horseshoe.  Past policy has been to ask drivers to back into parking spaces, as a safety measure.

We've gotten away from that, and our safety committee would like good solid data on whether to recommend that the policy be reinstated.

Are there further comments?
Ussuri (Civil/Environmental)
28 Feb 07 8:12
In the UK, nearly all oil companies require you to reverse park (rear end in first)from a safety perspeective.

I understand this began at oil refineries as it allowed people to exit the car park in less time should there be an evacuation. I'm not sure if I believe this though but the process is still in force, to the extent you can be disciplined by management for not doing it.
grgowl (Civil/Environmental) (OP)
28 Feb 07 20:02
The original thread, thread163-148923, included posts with a similar idea - that "back-in" parking was safer from a common sense view, or as part of "tradition".

Surely, in the event of a catastrophic explosion at a refinery, it could not possibly matter whether you backed out or pulled out of a parking space.

And, requiring drivers to back-in may lead to more "fender benders" because drivers pull out too quickly at the end of an ordinary day (rather than backing out slowly and cautiously).

But - without the data, it's all just guesswork.
Erik
jkellerfsu (Civil/Environmental)
1 Mar 07 11:42
I would LOVE to see data on this.  Maybe I will initiate a study here in Baltimore City.

A few years ago, I had proposed reverse angular parking along a road that had existing front-end angular parking in a commercial district. Existing Speeds were posted at 30 mph, 2 lanes each direction with 5' "shoulder" btwn the thru lanes and parking.  This was a state-owned road.

I was laughed out of the room for even suggesting rear-end parking.
ACtrafficengr (Civil/Environmental)
2 Mar 07 8:06
jkellerfsu, DC has some reverse-angle parking (in the Adams Morgan area, I think). Why don't you call them? Seattle also has made pretty extensive use of it.

     "...students of traffic are beginning to realize the false economy of mechanically controlled traffic, and hand work by trained officers will again prevail." - Wm. Phelps Eno, ca. 1928

"I'm searching for the questions, so my answers will make sense." - Stephen Brust

trsidn (Civil/Environmental)
4 Jun 07 12:04
I don't know if I have any hard evidence, but as a motorist, I have much less patience for a driver blocking the lane backing out than I do someone taking time and space as he/she backs into a space.

I also figure that you are generally backing up into more space if you are parked normally. The other way you are backing into a relatively confined space, therefore, less safe.
ACtrafficengr (Civil/Environmental)
4 Jun 07 13:00
trsidn, how do you define safety? I'd say backing (blindly if youa re parked next to a larger vehicle) into moving traffic is more likely to result in injury than backing into a space between two stationary vehicles.

Given a choice between scrapes and dents on one hand or rear-end crashes on the other, I'd choose the scrapes and dents.

     "...students of traffic are beginning to realize the false economy of mechanically controlled traffic, and hand work by trained officers will again prevail." - Wm. Phelps Eno, ca. 1928

"I'm searching for the questions, so my answers will make sense." - Stephen Brust

peter111 (Civil/Environmental)
5 Jun 07 23:37
Surely the issue for Traffic Engineers is safety on the public highway.  Because on the public highway speeds can be higher any accident is likely to be more serious not just a paint scratch.  Therefore you should stop on a public highway and reverse in, when you pull out you can see clearly and avoid an accident.  When you reverse in you are already on the public highway and people can see you and avoid you.  Emerging on to a public highway in reverse is very dangerous.

Therefore ALWAYS REVERSE IN for safety on the public highway

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