We have a bit of a discussion with the administration of our university about putting up posters on the glass doors in our campus buildings.

The hallways have a lot of doors made of glass which would make a great place for people to see information while they walk through. There is a rule here that forbids bill-sticking on these doors with the single reason that if the glass door is not 100% transparent anymore, people will hurt themselves on a regular basis because they cannot see if other people are on the opposite side of it.

For some reason this does not seems to happen though with every other type of door that is not transparent.

Is this just bureaucratic nonsense or are there any studies/experiments that actually proof that more accidents occur with glass doors that have an obscured view?

  • I'd be happy about help with tagging, not sure if there is any tag like architecture or something similar.
    – magnattic
    Jun 20, 2012 at 14:21
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    Anecdotal, but I am on their side. For many years I worked in a building with a men's room with no window on the inwardly-opening door (not even a translucent one, so you could see moving shadows). There were occasional rapped knuckles, bumps and startled people when someone suddenly pushed open the door and hit the person on the inside. Nothing requiring so much as a First Aid kit, but enough to conclude it was a poor design.
    – Oddthinking
    Jun 20, 2012 at 14:35
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    I think the greater issue is that a text heavy flyer may cause someone to block a doorway while they read said flyer.
    – Ryathal
    Jun 20, 2012 at 15:33
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    Many restaurants have swinging doors with a window in them going into the kitchen, to prevent servers with trays full of food from being clobbered by pedestrians going the other way. You don't need a completely transparent door to see what's on the other side.
    – Flimzy
    Jun 20, 2012 at 16:42
  • Do you have a link to some document in which the administration of your university argues that position? At the moment the way you present their claim it seems very silly.
    – Christian
    Jun 20, 2012 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


Your question title asks if you can run against a glass door you can't see through but the meat of your question asks if it's true that someone might get hit with a glass door you are opening when it isn't transparent, correct?

To answer though, I doubt it would take a study for either one of these, as they seem to be fairly common sense things (I could be wrong, government will fund studies on the dumbest, most self-evident subjects from time to time). I stand corrected: here is a study done on walking through glass door injuries. In fact, it is such a concern that the state of New York has a section of their building code dedicated to it: PART 47 TRANSPARENT GLASS DOORS. Can't seem to find anything on obscured glass door injuries though.

If you are approaching a clear glass door, you may not see the door and smack into it. You could even hurt yourself severely enough to require surgery.

If you are approaching a door that is not transparent (for whatever reason, building material, flyers, etc) you run the risk of 1)hitting someone on the other side with your swinging door or 2)being hit by someone opening it onto you from the other side.

Since many non-sliding glass doors have a metal separator with a handle in the middle of the door, a person will most likely SEE this as a door (and the people on the other side). I suppose it all comes down to what kind of a glass door it is: a divider or handle or some sort of appendage to suggest a door, or a sheet of clear glass that is begging to have your nose get squashed upon. If the glass door is then obscured with materials, people on the other side are no longer visible, and for safety's sake (and LIABILITY issues), the university errs on the side of caution, I would imagine.

  • to avoid people putting blood on your glass doors you can put some frosted strips on it, this will make it a true visible barrier instead of an extension from some frame Jun 20, 2012 at 23:16
  • More likely solution; submit an announcement advising people to take caution and not stand in the swing-path of doors to avoid being hit if someone were to open it quickly. Therefore you have delegation of responsibility. @huzzah, it seems the majority of your answer is just conjecture, can you beef it up with some direct quotes? Jun 21, 2012 at 10:15

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