Tuesday, October 16, 2018

10 Facts About Handicapped Parking

I'm 33 years old, and I have a handicapped placard in the glove box of my car.  I got it about a year or so ago, but I've only used it a few times.  There are three reasons for that.  The first is that I only use it on my really bad days when I literally can't handle walking very far.  The second is that often all of the handicapped spots are full, sometimes with vehicles that are parked there illegally.  The third is that I'm scared of backlash because I look healthy and normal unless I'm using one of my mobility devices, and people can be cruel about invisible disabilities.  Stories like this, this, or this seem to pop up at least several times a month, and I know that I just don't have it in me to deal with something like that on my bad days.

So, in light of all the misconceptions surrounding handicapped parking, here are 10 facts about it that might shed some light on their proper use.

10 Facts About Handicapped Parking

1. You can have my placard if you take my disability to go with it.

2. Handicapped parking isn't available just because you can't find a close parking spot.  I don't care if it's just sitting there empty.  It's not for you.

3. No, you can't use someone else's handicapped placard if they're not in the car.  Once again, it's not for you.

4. When I see a car parked illegally in a handicapped parking spot, the first thought that goes through my head is "What an inconsiderate jerk."  The second thought is "Where's my phone so I can report this?"

Don't judge me until you've walked a mile in my joints

5.  Handicapped spots are not for your quick 5 minute errand.  It's just as illegal to park there for 5 minutes as it is for 8 hours.

6. Yes, it is still illegal for you to park in a handicapped spot even if you're sitting there waiting for someone else, unless that someone has a placard.

Not all disabilities are visible

7. If someone has a handicapped placard, they have the right by law to park there.  You are not their doctor, you don't get to decide if they look "disabled" enough.  If you're jealous of their close parking spot, refer to #1.

8.  Those handicapped spots that have the yellow stripes beside them...those are for individuals who need space to get their mobility devices in and out of the vehicle.  Even though I have a handicapped placard, I avoid parking in those spots out of courtesy to others who may need them.

9. Some people who park legally in handicapped spots look completely healthy.  Sometimes being able to park in that close spot is the only way they're able to survive a trip to the store without collapsing.
But You don't look sick!
10. Handicapped spots are not just for people in wheelchairs.  They're for people whose doctor has deemed that it is not safe for them to walk long distances.  The universal symbol for disability has definitely contributed to that misconception.  They're also not just for elderly people.  Sometimes even kids need them.

Not everyone with a disability looks like this!


10 facts and misconceptions about #handicappedparking: https://bit.ly/2Cl1bVu


Have anything to add?  What kind of experiences have you had with handicapped parking, whether you're disabled or not?

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