Author Katie Mettner

Handicapped Parking Abuse has to stop!

HERE WE GO AGAIN!

I've done posts like this in the past where I try to educate people about handicapped parking and it falls on deaf ears. I'm saying this again FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK! I see so much handicapped parking abuse right now it's frustrating. There are so many people parking the wrong way in spots who even have a handicapped sticker on their car! It's important to understand the laws of parking as a handicapped person and non-handicapped person. These spots aren't for a free for all or to be used how you see fit. Even if you aren't disabled, please read the information below and pass it on to people you do know who have handicapped placards. You'd be surprised how many people don't know this simple information!


The spots aren’t close to the door because we’re lazy.

This sounds like a silly thing to have to say, but it apparently needs to be said. Handicapped spots are close to the door for the safety of those in wheelchairs. While it is convenient for people with all mobility issues to be close to the door, especially in areas with cold, snowy, and slippery weather, that is not the true purpose. The true purpose is so that people in wheelchairs don’t have to roll behind cars that could back out without being able to see them. When all the handicapped spots are full and I have to park in the middle of a row (I have to park on a line of two spots so I can get my wheelchair in and out from the side door of my van) I have to consider the danger I’m about to face. There’s a good chance if I have to roll  my wheelchair past multiple vehicles, the majority will be SUVs or trucks that have no ability to see me in a wheelchair behind their vehicle if they start to pull out. Remember, when you’re backing out of a parking place, be aware of your surroundings and who is coming toward you from all directions.

The diagonal painted lines next to each parking spot are NOT a parking spot.

Image courtesy of patpitchaya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is something even people with handicapped parking permits are guilty of. The truth is, they aren’t a parking spot, they’re there for people who have side ramps for their wheelchairs, who get walkers down from their vehicles, or have a child in special mobility equipment etc. It’s illegal to park on these lines, EVEN IF YOU HAVE A HANDICAPPED STICKER. You can be fined up to $200 for parking in the diagonal lines. That’s true even if you hang a placard. Be aware of this and just don’t do it.

Handicapped spots that say VAN on them are actually for van parking, not compact cars.


SAY THAT AGAIN FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK: DO NOT PARK A COMPACT CAR IN A VAN INDICATED PARKING PLACE

Handicapped vans have unique parking needs. They require a longer stall to allow the ramp to come out the rear of the vehicle. If there are no van spots, people in those vehicles are often blocked from accessing the business. The same goes for the diagonal lines on the front and back of these spots. Do not park in those, they are there to allow for the ramp. I see so many cars who park in these spots diagonally. One person parks there and then two and three, all parked illegally. Again, you can get fined, even if you hang a handicapped tag. If you park a compact car with no wheelchair ramp in a van spot, you may or may not get ticketed, but it is rude and disrespectful to those who actually need that spot for their larger wheelchair van. A good rule of thumb is, if your car will fit in a handicapped spot that has the diagonal lines on the side, then park in those and leave the van spots for those who have no other place to park.


If you are handicapped and hold the placard in your name, you must exit the vehicle in order to park in a handicapped spot.

This sounds like common sense, but it isn’t always followed. If you are being driven by someone else, but you are not getting out of the car, the driver cannot park in a handicapped spot and leave. If you are staying in the car, you must park in a regular spot. If you are getting out of the vehicle, then, of course, you can park in handicapped and get help from the driver. The same applies to parents with disabled children. If the child is not with you or the child is not leaving the vehicle, you cannot use the handicapped placard. Some states are moving toward having the picture of the person who holds the placard on the tag. That would prevent misuse of the placard by people not authorized to use it. I would not be surprised if this became a standard-issue across all 50 states shortly.


Whether you are an abled driver who is ‘just going to park here for a second so I can run in and grab something’ or a disabled driver with a placard, it’s important to remember the purpose of these spots. Ultimately, the spots are to allow for safe passages of people with mobility aids to get in and out of businesses safely and with as little disruption as possible. When vans don’t have a spot to park, they have to unload the wheelchair user a long way from the door, which then puts the wheelchair user at risk of being hit while trying to do something as simple as going to the clinic or the grocery store. If you don’t have a handicapped sticker and you use those spots, you need to stop. Not only is it illegal, but you are putting other human beings at risk of being hurt in a parking lot, and I know no one wants that.

Remember to use common sense when you’re in a parking lot. I know we all get busy and distracted, but a moment of distraction can be a lifetime sentence of pain and injury to another person. Also, while that handicapped spot might be tempting, since you’re just running in for a quick second to grab a Coke, that Coke could cost you two hundred bucks if you get ticketed or reported for handicapped parking abuse. Handicapped people deal with enough inconvenience living in an abled world where they face more obstacles in a simple trip to the store than most people do in an entire week. Try to think about how you would feel if your only access to a store, business, or event was blocked off by someone who has other options for parking.



If you see handicapped parking abuse or fraud occurring, you can still step in without confronting anyone. All you have to do is visit handicappedfraud.org and file a complaint. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Katie Mettner writes small-town romantic tales filled with epic love stories and happily-ever-afters. She proudly wears the title of, 'only person to lose her leg after falling down the bunny hill,' and loves decorating her prosthetic with the latest fashion trends. She lives in Northern Wisconsin with her own happily-ever-after and three mini-mes. Nothing aggravates her more than going to the store and having to hunt for a place to park to get her wheelchair out of her van, as this post probably indicates well.

No comments