Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Handicapped Parking Etiquette

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.
Not okay

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 elses 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. Major pet peeve of mine is folks that abuse this privilege. Or worse, when folks that use the spot that do not have a sticker because they don't have the common sense to leave it for those that honestly need it. If you have been shopping with me, you know I let loose on these folks when I find them!!!

  2. Thanks for that posting. I totally agree with you. I know a man who has a permanent SC Handicap License on his car. From where do I know him? He's on the treadmill at the Fort Jackson Commmunity Center (Andy's) Gym, every day. I kid you not. He runs, walks, and lifts weights in order to stay in shape.

  3. Being of the group who fall into the category who are able to have one of these, I totally agree with all points – the one I do for myself and for others is to park in the spot – as close to the handicap spot – just so that if someone comes along who is worse off than I, (most are) has a spot. The sliding ramp concept is so foreign to most that unless they are educated by the visual, telling them about it goes in one ear and out the other. It is not until (like you Ann) are thrown into the know – you don’t….. anytime anyone is the wrong, we that are in the right – are allowed to comment