Hope for Disabilities

Fulfilling unmet needs in the disability community

Wheelchair Parking Etiquette

Posted by Ask Emily on May 5, 2018 at 8:20 PM

This blog post, is probably seriously long overdue, but better late than never.  We see posts almost on a daily basis where people are violating handicapped parking privillages.  We decided to shed some light on this to help educate the public of the challenges when it comes to wheelchair parking spaces.  Every so often, we come across a post where a car has decided to squeeze in between two cars parked in designated wheelchair parking spaces either oblivious to the white lines on the space in between, or not caring that this space is not an actual parking spot.  Some people may lack the common sense to know that those lines actually serve a purpose.  It doesn't take rocket science to know that typically, the ramp in an accessible van lowers out of the sliding door on the passenger side of the van onto...you guessed it, the white striped space between the two parking spots.  If a car parks there AFTER the wheelchair has been lowered, they can't get back into their van and have to call law enforcement and then they either do a courtesy to the illegally parked car's owner and try to locate them in a reasonable amount of time, or they call a tow truck to have the car towed and then the illegally parked car's owner has to pay an impound fee to get their car back for doing something that could have easily been avoided.  Another thought to keep in mind, if you do think that space is an actual parking spot and you spot it and go racing in there in hopes to beat another driver to it, chances are that A) No one else is going to try and take that spot because they know that it is not a legal parking spot and B) if you go flying in there and the van's ramp is down and you run over it with your car that you are attempting to illegally park, you are going to have to pay the cost to repair the persons now broken ramp and they are going to have to find an alternate way home which in most cases, is easier said than done.  

Since we are on this topic, we also want to bring up a few other points.  A wheelchair parking permit or license plate is designated typically to one person, and if that person is not with you when you use it, that is also ILLEGAL and morally wrong for that matter.  In some states, you are required to carry an ID card that goes along with your parking permit or license plate that lets law enforcement or parking enforcement know who the permit actually belongs to because they are trying to crack down on people ILLEGALLY using these permits.  We have even heard of cases where people are actually breaking into cars and the only thing that they are stealing is the parking placard not knowing that it can be traced to a specific individual and it is a crime to use a placard with someone elses name on it. 

If you see someone who is illegally parked in a wheelchair parking space, call your local law enforcement and you can tell them it is not an emergency, but you would like to report their license plate and have it documented that the person appears to be illegally parked.  This way, if they are a repeat offender, they can be fined for what they are doing or if they may have accidentally forgot to hang their placard, they will get a reminder that they forgot and the fine will be dropped as long as they can show proof that they actually have a placard.  We hope by writing this post, we can actually help educate those who need to be educated or a refresher course on the do's and don't when it comes to Wheelchair Parking Etiquette.

Categories: Disabilities and Special Needs, Discrimination , Handicap Equipment