Parking Lots Hidden Danger
Bet you thought you were the only person who found those little concrete bumpers in parking lots more than annoying. Not so – as I discovered recently after a dear friend face-planted after tripping over one. What is intended to keep vehicles from running into buildings, or each other, turns out to be far more dangerous to pedestrians than cars and buildings.
Just recently a friend was leaving the Black Bear Restaurant in Sonoma, and as she stepped off the sidewalk, she immediately tripped over one of those concrete wheel stops. By the time the ambulance arrived she was lying in a pool of blood with a massive concussion, bleeding from her head, nose and mouth, side of her hand ripped open down to the bone and more damage that wouldn’t be discovered until later.
As she arrived at Sonoma Valley Hospital, one of the nurses on the Day Surgery Floor saw the extensive cuts and bruises on her face and said, “Dare I ask?”
My friend replied, “Yes. I tripped over a wheel stop in the Marketplace parking lot.”
The nurse’s response was, “Oh my goodness, we do so many wrist surgeries here for people who trip over those things. You guys keep us busy!”
What is most interesting about these concrete wheel stops is that they seem to be used infrequently and fairly randomly. Some parking lots use them everywhere – some not at all – and some only at what appears to be a random selection of locations. What gives? Are they necessary or not?
The parking space right next to the one my friend tripped over doesn’t have one.
In the entire shopping center, there are only about a dozen of them. If they are random, people aren’t expecting them and therefore more likely to trip over one.
So now that the initial bruising and cuts have healed, my friend has been in physical therapy for a crack in her hip bone, and is scheduled for surgery to fix a torn rotator cuff, both the result of this fall. Her nose was cracked, her teeth jarred loose and the story keeps getting more complex.
She’s on fixed income, only has Medi-Care which doesn’t cover everything, and is having a very hard time figuring out how she is going to pay for all these medical expenses. When she asked the shopping center to consider helping her, they refused. An attorney advised her that a lawsuit is possible, but they would need to find more people who have had similar experience with tripping over wheel stops and sustaining injuries.
Even the physical therapist she is working with said their department has been working with another woman who tripped over a wheel stop and badly damaged her elbow.
Perhaps if enough people realize it’s not just them – it happens all the time – we could get some consistency about use of wheel stops or eliminate them altogether. For my friend, I’d like to hear from others who have tripped over them and hurt themselves to see if she can at least get some aid with her medical expenses. Is that too much to ask for?
I would love to hear from people, especially if you or someone you know has suffered by tripping over these concrete wheel stops. Please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop me a line…Vesta, c/o Sonoma County Gazette, 6490 Front St. #300, Forestville, CA 95436. I need your written stories. Thank you. Maybe we can make a change that many will benefit from or at least get my friend a little financial assistance.