Letter I just sent to some random manufacturer of public bathrooom stalls:
I've had a long standing beef with public bathroom stall manufacturers, and you happened to be the first one I found online (hazards of good search engine placement) WHY, oh why do the doors on the "regular" (non-handicapped) stalls ALWAYS open inwards? Is this by design or default? Do your customers have the option to install the doors either way or do you specifically instruct them to install them this way? Is this an industry-wide standard or building code issue?
I ask because like the majority of Americans, I am a bit on the obese side. As such, when opening the door after using your facility, there is precious little clearance between the edge of the door and the toilet itself to stand while opening the door. I basically have to straddle the toilet seat (not pleasant, safe or hygienic) in order to open the door to exit. If I happen to be wearing a skirt or a long coat/shirt/sweater (and God forbid I have any sashes or drawstrings hanging down) the threat of the bottom of said item getting dunked is considerable.
And even if I were not on the obese side, I have a small child who many times must join me in the stall. Opening the door with BOTH of us standing there is impossible. Or when I'm out shopping and have many large packages.
For any of these reasons, I use the handicapped stall whenever possible instead of the regular stalls. And feel slightly guilty doing so. So I am launching a minor grassroots effort to lobby folks like you (or whoever actually decides which side of the door to put the hinges on) to design the doors on ALL stalls to open outwards. If it's a sutiation where you're afraid someone emerging from the regular stalls will open the door into the path of someone else walking by, I understand. But people are just as likely to exit into the path of someone from a stall that opens inwards as outwards (I've noticed). And in most facilities (office buildings, for instance), there simply isn't that high volume of traffic to make this a concern. In a sports stadium or airport I could understand that... but in those facilities the bathrooms are generally large enough to allow deeper stalls anyway.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to vent my frustration. If you can clear up this mystery for me I will be eternally grateful, and able to turn my mind to less trivial matters. Like how to cure poverty & famine around the world.
Sincerely, Mustang Sally