Have you ever waited for someone to pull out so that you could take their incredibly-close-to-the-entrance parking space and then had a car steal your prized spot at the very last second? Imagine that level of frustration magnified by 100 when an accessible space is taken by an able-bodied person.
If you are not disabled, do not have the proper permit, placard or handicap license plates, do not park in the designated accessible parking spaces. Not only is it frustrating for those that actually need the accommodations these spaces provide – but it is the law.
The misuse and abuse of disability permits is one of several issues the disabled community faces today. Misusing someone else’s disability parking permit means taking away a safe, accessible space for somebody that is genuinely disabled. Even if a friend or family member offers, just say no. Be courteous, walk the extra distance and help a disabled person get to their destination safely.
On the contrary, accessible parking space courtesy doesn’t stop at able-bodied people because not all accessible parking spaces are created equal. There are three different types of disabled parking to accommodate different needs and are clearly marked to identify the type if space it is. “Van accessible” parking has more space to accommodate wheelchair lifts, so if you are disabled, do not need a wheelchair lift and there are other accessible spots available, use those instead.
You probably have also noticed that there are white stripes next to certain handicap parking spaces – do not park or leave any items there! These are called access lanes and they are marked to provide extra space for those using wheelchair lifts or other assistive devices. If you are disabled and park in the adjacent spaces, make sure that your car is not encroaching on any part of the white striped lines. You could be limiting the amount of space for the adjacent vehicle and make it difficult or impossible for the disabled person to enter or exit their car. After all, what is accessible parking if the disabled cannot actually access their vehicle or the designated paths to their destination?
Coming next: Parking Tips for Mobility Vans