Friday, May 17, 2013

Handicapped Parking Etiquette

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I was so excited the day I got the Handicapped Placard for the wheelchair van. There's a ramp that comes out of the side of the van, so that I can roll Eliah's wheelchair down. It's awesome. The only problem is, it requires a LOT of room....which brings me to this post.

I don't know if it's true or not, but it seems that many people that have a handicapped placard think that all handicapped spaces are for them. It seems that if they have the placard, they are required to park in a handicapped space, even if there are regular spaces free nearby. It seems that people with a placard think the extra space in a handicapped space is for their bad parking skills. And while some of this may be technically true, it's really not polite at all.

Every day I search for a handicapped space to park the wheelchair van. No ordinary space will do. It has to be large enough for the ramp and wheelchair to come out on the side. Basically, it requires the space of two vehicles. And every day I see compact cars in van accessible spaces, with several vacant regular-sized handicapped spaces right next to it. Every day I see cars parked in the ramp space, not the actual parking space. It's so frustrating.

It also seems, at least where I live, that everyone and his brother has a handicapped placard. I'm not saying they don't deserve it, but it seems excessive when I pull into a Walmart parking lot and all 20 of the handicapped spaces are filled, and I see people that walk without difficulty jump into those cars. There are even people that park in someone else's ramp space, as if it were an actual handicapped space. I've even been unable to get the ramp out, because someone used my ramp space as their handicapped parking space.

Yesterday we went to Walmart, and like other times, every handicapped space was taken. So, we drove around looking for two empty spaces together. When I finally found them, a good distance from the door, we parked and quickly got Eliah out of the van, through the rain, and into the store. By the time we got back to the van, I was greeted with dirty looks from several people for taking up two spaces. I even had cars honking at me, because they needed to park and I was hogging two perfectly good spaces. In the past, I've even gotten a note on the windshield calling me a jerk for taking up two spaces.

So, I am letting all of you with handicapped placards know, that just because you have the placard, it doesn't mean you HAVE to park in a handicapped space. Please TRY to look nearby, or at least save the van accessible spaces, because there may be someone that really needs that extra space. And if you need to park in a handicapped space, please try to stay in the lines.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the feedback. I just got a ticket this week for being a half a tire width over the line into the space between the disabled spots and I was wondering about this. Part of my trouble is that I have severe pain with turning my neck, so the more I have to wiggle around to get in and out of a space just so, the more pain I'm in. The extra space with the disabled spots does help a lot, even though I'm pretty good at parking usually. I will keep in mind to try to keep the van spaces open when possible.

    I'll also leave some feedback on why people who seem perfectly able often have to use a disabled parking spot. I have an invisible disability--a genetic connective tissue disorder. My joints and muscles are very weak and painful. However, I often can walk with normal appearances. Sometimes I will even walk quickly because standing up or being out in the hot or cold is increasing my back or shoulder pain so much that I just need to get into the car asap.

    Other times, I'm feeling okay as I enter the building to go shopping, but by the time I'm done I may not be able to walk well at all or will have great difficulty carrying any packages back out to the car. Sometimes it's hard to predict if I'll desperately need that closer spot or whether I would have been able to manage without it. If I am having trouble getting around, then I need to be able to open the car door all of the way, in order to pull myself in or out of the seat without also having to hold onto the door and squeeze around it to avoid hitting another car.

    Thanks for the post.