Handicapped Parking Spaces…A Rant

Last year, I got a temporary handicapped parking permit for two months because I had broken my ankle. At first I was wearing a cast, then a pneumatic boot. I was hobbling to the door of the grocery store with a walker, then using one of their motorized carts, putting the walker in its basket. At work, I was using a wheelchair.
When the permit ran out, I wasn’t quite all good yet. I was wearing this Rube Goldberg cloth ankle brace, but I was better. Still, with no handicapped permit allowing me to park closest to the store, I was still not walking well and sad that I didn’t get my previous privileges.
Then I said to myself, who in the hell do you think you are? At least you can walk. Your handicap was temporary. You should be thanking your lucky stars. Attitude adjustment time.
My father was in a wheelchair from the time he was 35, and I can remember boiling anger at people who parked in handicapped spaces for convenience. I’d say that’s much less common now, because the fines are higher for it and people are more likely to report you.
It is not always obvious when someone has a disability, so if someone seems perfectly healthy to you but is parked in a handicapped space, lighten up. The only issue is if they have a permit. Those permits are issued by the state and can only be issued at the request of a doctor, who has to give a reason.
There is a loophole, almost. You can be perfectly healthy and use Grandma’s permit when Grandma isn’t using it. But. The permits are numbered, and trackable, and it’s against the law to “loan” them to other people. So if someone (like me, say) sees you run and skip out of a handicapped parking space, both you and Grandma are in a lot of trouble. Because I’ll go write down the permit number and call the police.
This whole rant is due to the fact that on Friday, a vendor of ours parked in a handicapped space inside the garage, and got a ticket. In my city, that’s a $250 fine. She came back in the office waving it around, asking what she could do. To make a long story short, my answer was, pay it. She claimed she had parked in handicapped spaces before and never gotten a ticket. So, if you did something wrong in the past but didn’t get caught, that means you can keep it up? And I guess the big sign in front of you saying “$250 fine” didn’t apply to you?
In any case, even if I could have done something about her ticket, I would not have. She came to the wrong person.


9 responses to “Handicapped Parking Spaces…A Rant

  1. Quite right too. I have no sypathy at all. The same goes for people who park in parent-with-child spaces. They’re there for a reason – and it’s not to serve people who are too lazy to park in a regular space.

  2. Parent-with-child spaces…we don’t have those in the US, but it makes perfect sense to me. There are similarities. In order to shop you mostly have to take your kids with you, drag out strollers etc. Do you have to have permits for them? And what happens if you go to the store without your kids? Is it sort of an honor system, where if your kids aren’t with you, you park in a regular space?

    • Generally there are no permits involved, but like disabled spaces they are situated close to store entrances and are extra wide. I’ve seen people with no child seats park in those spaces, which really winds me up. On more than one occasion I’ve commented on this and got an angry response in return, which to me just shows that people know it’s wrong but are too selfish to care beyond their own petty needs.

      Occasionally you see parents with child seats but no kids parking in them, but I don’t see that very often – parents of young children tend to be more understanding as to why it’s so annoying when someone with a genuine need for such spaces can’t find one because others are too selfish not to park in a regular space.

  3. I’m glad she got a ticket because a lot of folks think the probability is low. Hopefully, she’ll “advertise” that ticket and spread the word.

  4. Yes, we have space for expectant mothers and folks with kids here in America but they are absolutely on the honor system – no permits involved.

    As to your vendor, she’s just discovered that many things that are illegal only have occasional consequences. Like speeding.

  5. In GA at least, using a legal handicapped parking decal when not transporting the handicapped person is equivalent to parking in a restricted space illegally.

  6. Really, Fakesister? I haven’t seen any of those spaces, but you live in a more “metropolitan” area than I do. There was a short-lived movement here to provide spaces close to stores for people driving hybrid or electric vehicles, but there was such outrage that that movement quietly died out.

  7. With regard to not getting caught…years ago I went with a friend to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. There’s a minimal fee, $5 I think, and usually you would pay in the gift shop and get a ticket to display on your dashboard. This happened to be a Sunday and the gift shop was closed. There is a way to pay at a little kiosk, but we were too lame to figure out how to do it, so we just ignored it. On the way out–I mean literally, another 100 yards and we would have been home-free–we were stopped by the park ranger. While he was writing me a ticket, all these people were whizzing by (there’s a speed limit) and I said, “What about them?” The ranger said, I didn’t catch them–I caught you. I mean, what can you say to that?

  8. It’s mostly grocery stores that have spaces marked for folks with kids.

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