Oh the times we’ve pulled into a parking lot looking for one of the very few handicapped stalls ever provided and there is a car parked illegally. All the other handicapped stalls (if there even are any others) are filled legally. Now we have to find a place as close as possible to the entrance and with enough space between cars to get our loved one out of the car. And if the parking lot isn’t completely paved, and involves your disabled loved one having to use a walker on gravel or you having to push a wheelchair on an impossible surface, it may involve changing your mind about even being there at all.
Aside from being downright rude and inconsiderate, parking in that spot when you have no placard visible, no disabled plates, or even when the disabled person isn’t in your car, is illegal and subject to a hefty fine. But the trouble is, those fines are rarely enforced and often even the business owner really doesn’t care to be bothered enforcing that law.
The excuse most often given by the illegal parker is “I was only going to run in for a minute.” But unfortunately when that person “just runs in” is invariably the exact time a handicapped person needs that very parking place.
In fairness, handicapped people have a variety of impediments and problems allowing for issuance of disabled placards or plates, so just because a person doesn’t appear to have an obvious infirmity doesn’t mean the handicapped placard or plate is being used illegally
Another irritant is when people park on the stripes which are part of the stall – how is a person supposed to exit the vehicle if you are parked there? And when a person parks in such a way that the vehicle blocks either the parking stall or the handicapped ramp, it makes it difficult if not impossible to get into the building. This, sadly, is something inconsiderate delivery truck drivers do all the time.
And we caregivers are often hesitant to say anything to the violator or complain to the business owner because often, even if we do, the response we get is flippant and/or insulting. But maybe we need to swallow our pride and just plain complain. Perhaps if more people griped about it the laws would be enforced with more regularity. We can only hope.
Sallie can be reached at email@example.com