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What Everyone Should Know About Disabled Parking Spots

Updated on February 17, 2014

Answers to Common Questions and Concerns About Disabled Parking Spaces

If you aren't disabled, you may not have given much thought to the blue specially marked spaces you see in most parking lots. Or perhaps you have wondered why there are so many of them or why the folks getting out of the cars parked in those spaces don't always "look" disabled. Maybe you've looked at an empty disabled parking spot on a rainy day and wished you could park there.

If you've ever wondered about disabled parking spaces, I hope this page can answer some common questions and concerns.

(Photos by Lisa Howard)

Why Am I Writing This?

And why do I care about disabled parking?

I drive a wheelchair van. Fortunately, it's not for me. I am lucky to be able-bodied, but my partner is disabled due to a car accident. She was on the freeway when traffic suddenly stopped in front of her. Unfortunately, the car behind her didn't stop. She was hit from behind by a pickup truck that forced her car into the back end of another truck. The fire department had to use the Jaws of Life to get her out, and she suffered three broken vertebrae in the accident. After surgery, she was in a half-body cast for several months. She lost everything - her car, her job and eventually her life savings because the insurance company hurried her to settle just a few months after the accident and before she really knew the full extent (and cost) of her injuries. She was young and trusting, thinking everything would get better. It didn't.

She was able to walk for a long time, but never for any distance, and always with pain. The original injury has gotten worse over the years, as scar tissue from several surgeries has formed, the vertebrae have degenerated where the doctors have removed discs, and the nerves in her leg have been impinged to the point that she can no longer feel one leg or walk on it. She started using a scooter as her condition got worse, and then finally ended up in a wheelchair.

So we now drive a very "sexy" (haha!) Braun wheelchair van. I'm sure wheelchair vans are right up there with Porsches and Corvettes as top vehicles everyone dreams of owning, right? But we are actually very thankful for our van. It has an automatic ramp that lowers so my partner can drive in and out of the van easily. After years of having an outside rack on our van to carry the scooter she used before getting the wheelchair, I am very grateful for the ease of our van. Believe me, I stay much, much drier in a downpour!

So now that you know my story, here are some common questions and answers about disabled parking spots. (Note: This information applies only to the United States. Laws will vary in other countries.)

how many disabled parking spaces
how many disabled parking spaces

Why Are There So Many Disabled Parking Spaces?

And how come they aren't full?

The minimum number of accessible parking spots is set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is based on the size of the lot. The larger the lot, the more spaces are required.

However, the ratio is not consistent. For instance, in a lot with 25 or fewer total parking spots, there must be one disabled parking space, and it must be van accessible (more about that later). In a lot with 301-400 spaces, there must be eight disabled parking spaces, but only one of those is required to be van accessible. In a lot with more than 500 spots, 2% of them must be accessible and one in every eight of those must be van accessible.

These are the minimum federal requirements. State and local jurisdictions may implement stricter guidelines.

When you go to your local Costco or Walmart and see an entire row of disabled parking spaces that are empty, you may be wondering why there are so many. But look around you. Are there also plenty of empty regular parking spots? During slow times, disabled spots are usually empty. But during busy times of the day, week or year, the disabled parking spaces will fill up, just as the other spots will.

I rarely can find a van accessible parking spot at our local Costco at any time of day at any time of the year, and during the holidays, I frequently cannot find an empty disabled parking space (much less a van accessible one) at our local shopping mall, toy store or any popular store where people are doing holiday shopping. So if you always thought the right to park in a disabled spot meant you could just whip into a parking lot, get a close spot and zip into the store, think again!

A parking area with 301-400 total spaces must have the same number of van accessible disabled parking spots as a lot with 25 spaces - only one.

What if I See a Healthy-Looking Person Using an Accessible Parking Space? - Do you think this man really needs a mobility scooter?

I have seen plenty of "perfectly healthy-looking" people using disabled parking spots, and I don't judge them. Why? Because you can't always see someone's disability. You can qualify for a disability placard due to a variety of mobility issues, as well as disabilities such as heart or lung conditions that make it difficult to walk without getting winded.

When my partner was in her early 30s, she used to get a lot of dirty looks when using disabled parking because people just saw a fairly young woman who was walking. They didn't know that every step was difficult and walking from the car to the store was about the limit of her walking ability.

What do you think of the photo above? Does the man look like he needs a mobility scooter?

I took this photo of our very good friend Devin when we took a trip to Disneyland together. When I took this photo, Dev was standing up on his mobility scooter, letting the kids ride on it and acting like a clown. I'm sure many people saw him that day and thought he was one of those folks who pretend to be disabled just so they can go through the shorter disabled queues at Disneyland. They would be wrong. Dev was injured when a full forklift bucket with several hundred pounds of weight fell on him, leaving him with severe back and neck injuries. He walks with a limp, can't walk far or lift much, has chronic pain, and pays dearly every time he exerts himself like he was doing when I took this photo.

By the end of that day at Disneyland, Dev was really hurting. He knew he would be, but he wanted his son to have fun. People who saw him goofing around in the beginning of the day never saw the pain on his face later that day or knew the choice he made to help his son have fun at the expense of his personal pain. I bet many people judged him.

Just because someone in a disabled parking spot doesn't "look" like they should be using it, that doesn't mean they're doing anything wrong.

I never use my partner's parking placard when she's not with me, and there are three reasons for this. First, I know there are people who really need those parking spaces. Second, I need the exercise! :-) And third, the DMV could revoke her parking placard if I got caught using it. I'd be the one breaking the rules, but she'd be the one who would pay.

However, if I drop her off somewhere and come back to get her later, I will park in a disabled spot while I go in to find her. In that case, you'd see a perfectly healthy person (me!) hopping out of the car, and you might think I was abusing the system.

So remember, just because someone "looks" healthy, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be in a disabled parking space. If the car has a disabled placard or plate, I assume it is being used responsibly.

However, there certainly are people who park in these spaces who shouldn't. If you see a person who looks able-bodied and they do NOT have a visible placard or plate, feel free to call the local police department and report them. If the person really has a right to park there, they will probably just need to show that proof to the DMV and they won't be fined. (That's the way it works in California, at least.) But if they don't have the right to park there, they will be fined and will probably be discouraged from parking illegally again.

disabled parking - van accessible
disabled parking - van accessible

Why Do Some Disabled Parking Signs Say Van Accessible?

Is there a difference?

There is, indeed, a difference between van accessible spaces and regular accessible spaces. The difference is the amount of room next to the parking spot. A regular accessible parking spot must have a 5-foot access aisle (the area with the white diagonal stripes) next to it, while a van accessible spot must have an 8-foot access aisle next to it. The difference allows a wheelchair van to lower a ramp so the wheelchair user can enter and exit the vehicle.

Finding a van accessible spots isn't always easy. As noted above, federal law only requires one van accessible parking space for every eight accessible spaces, and these spaces are not for vans only. Anyone with a disabled placard or license plate can park in these spots.

I frequently can't find a van accessible spot at all when we go shopping, even during the middle of the week when it's not the holidays. As a result, you will often find our van parked at the very far end of the parking lot even when the lot is half-full. That's because I need to be sure no one is going to park next to us while we're in the store, or else I will have to move the van again before I can put down the wheelchair ramp. The only way to ensure this won't happen is usually to go to the very end of the lot.

It's really not a big deal most days, as I can walk just fine and it's not a problem for my partner to go the extra distance in her wheelchair. The only time it's really a pain is on rainy days, when I find myself wishing we could use the disabled parking spots up front or at least park somewhere closer. Having the right to use disabled parking spots doesn't mean you can always find one!

disabled parkiing - van accessible access aisle
disabled parkiing - van accessible access aisle

Is it OK to Park in the White Striped Lines Next to a Disabled Spot?

How about parking my shopping cart there?

I think there's a common misconception that it's ok to park in the white lines next to a disabled parking spot. In fact, it can create just as many problems for a disabled person. The striped area has two purposes. First, it allows room for someone to maneuver a wheelchair, scooter, or walker next to the vehicle and transfer out of the vehicle. Second, it provides an accessible path from the parking area to the store.

In the last year, we had two instances where we had to wait for a driver to come move their vehicle out of the striped zone so my partner could maneuver her wheelchair. The first time, someone parked in the striped area, apparently not realizing (or not caring??) that the striped zone provided the only ramp up onto the sidewalk in the entire lot. We had no problem parking in the accessible spot they had left empty, but once my partner got out of the van, she couldn't get up on the sidewalk until the driver came out. Fortunately, he had just run into a copy shop and was out quickly.

The second time, we went to a program at our kids' school and parked in a van accessible spot. We left the performance about 15 minutes early and discovered someone had parked in the striped area next to us, thereby making it impossible for us to lower the wheelchair ramp and impossible for my partner to get in the van. It was December and it was cold (although we live in California, so that's a relative term!). If the program hadn't been ending so soon, we would have called the police and had the vehicle towed. Instead, we waited in the cold for the driver to come out. She seemed embarrassed but not remorseful and jumped into her car before we could even finish talking.

As for shopping carts, these often seem to end up in the striped access aisles. Sometimes it is because the people using the disabled spot can't walk the extra distance to put the cart back . In other cases, able-bodied people just think it's a nice big place to leave a cart. If you're in the latter group, please walk the extra distance so your shopping cart isn't blocking the path for someone using a wheelchair, walker or scooter.

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    • profile image

      Elie 2 years ago

      Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank disability placard form to fill out?

    • profile image

      spottswood1 3 years ago

      @ksawkins: It may refer to "handicap" as in horse racing where a stronger horse may have to carry more weight. At least a book I read as a child talked about one of the early famous horses being so strong they had to make him work harder to make it fair to the others.

    • profile image

      ksawkins 3 years ago

      Please - why do.US say handicapped? It is considered disrespectful here in the UK, I'll explain why, in the industrial age- before welfare or benefits people (often injured in factories) disabled people would have only one option to survive, and that was to put their "cap in hand" - or handicap and beg -so as u can see it implies disabled people 1) are of no economical value 2) are beggars. I always use the term disabld- my own son was "disabled" - by society who failed to see the value of his life, rather saw the " drain on resources" -though my husband worked a high paid job and contributed into that same society.

    • profile image

      bugmann 3 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes I live in Coraopolis pa near the little leage field and have limited walking and had to provide a complete medical file for our Chief of Police to consider providing me a sign in front of my home. I did get the sign but I am at least 200 yards away the bleachers andwhen games are played others with placards use my spot leaving me nowhere to park. Ive called the police when I have seen 20 some year old women apparently using her Dad's car and placard but the Police say its properly parked and will not even go see if the owner of placard is present at the game???? If I must provide a complete medical file on my disability to get a handicap only parking sign in front of my home I feel its unfair to me to allow anyone with a placard to park in front of my home

      MB

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 3 years ago

      @steven-mahlberg: Good to know, Steven. In California, anyone can park in those spaces, but I'm glad to hear it's different in Nevada.

    • profile image

      steven-mahlberg 4 years ago

      Number 2 is wrong; in the state of Nevada you cannot park in a handicapped space that is van accessible unless you have a wheelchair vehicle. You will be given a ticker even if you have a handicap placard.

    • profile image

      skye-starkey-brand 4 years ago

      @anonymous: WTF? What sort of jerk gets mad about how long it takes someone with mobility issues to load/unload? I'm so glad I don't have to deal with these sorts of people as I'm sure I would end up arrested for running some moron over.

    • profile image

      skye-starkey-brand 4 years ago

      Ugh! This is one of my big pet hates...our local shopping centre has three disabled spaces, four parents with prams spaces & three seniors spaces. These are all close to the entry & you get out of the car & are on a covered walkway. They are also wider than standard spaces which allows for easier parking as well as easier exiting of the vehicle with mobility aids, kids, prams, etc.

      These 10 spaces are often occupied by young, able bodied people displaying no permit because the senior & parent parks are courtesy spaces & non enforceable & the lack of local constabulary means that the enforcible disabled spaces are never patrolled. I have twice seen people with valid permits leave because they were unable to find somewhere to park!

      It's such a shame that taking a photo of a vehicle parked illegally & sending it to the police holds no weight!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hello, I was wondering if you knew what the clearance is around a reserved parking spot in front of a house in Pennsylvania ? My fathers neighbor keeps putting a trailer about a foot away from it so my dad can't get into his truck from the one side.. so my father has to get in and out on the street.. his neighbor is a jerk and keeps messing with my father.. long story short.. if you know the clearance or who I can call and report it too that would be great.. thank you

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I don't know anything about the laws in Pennsylvania specifically, but I'd suggest calling the Department of Motor Vehicles or the local police department. I'm sure they could tell you what the laws are and whether there's anything your dad can do about the situation. Good luck!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for posting this info. There are so many people I want to educate on this stuff regularly. My husband and I are both disabled and both have scooters we have to use to do normal everyday errands. We have a full sized extended length handicapped van with two lifts. One inside one on the back. We have to be careful anytime we park because we are so long and have to drop that lift AND we have to be able to open the side door to drop that lift. People sometimes get upset at how long it takes to load up both scooters and get us both back into the van since we are both on walkers if we aren't on our scooters. (I have a rare nerve disease and he had an accident at work). To make things worse the rear lift on our big van went out last month so now we have to take both of our vans (we have a mini van with a rear lift also) if we want to go anywhere that requires any walking. I guess what I wish is that people would just try to put themselves in the other people's shoes when they get angry because we aren't moving fast enough and just have some patience because we didn't choose this life we just have to live it the best we can and deal with the obstacles the best we can manage.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I feel for you my wife God rest her soul had lupus and heart problems and couldn't walk very far so many of time we ran into people that parked in spots for people with a disability

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am in a wheelchair and get aggravated when people park so close I can't get in my car. I have gotten our Civic Center to put cones where the striped lines are because of this situation.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have a handicap spot where I live in Coraopolis, Pa. I'm in pain all the time..sometimes hardly able to walk around, but still some rude person parks in my spot. I really understand your situation!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Finding a van accessible spot in my experience is hard because those spots almost always are located closest to the store entrance. This makes them prime locations for placard users who are ambulatory. So most times the van spot has a non van in it while there are plenty of non van handicap spots open.

      As far as non-visual disabilities go, I firmly believe that a significant portion of placard owners get and use them for convenience rather than need. They may save walking a few minutes in the parking lot but somehow manage to walk for hour(s) inside the store. Only time this makes sense to me is if walking in the parking lot is more hazardous then inside the store, like if it's slippery in the parking lot due to weather conditions.

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 4 years ago

      Wow, great information. I never thought about how someone could look healthy but still have a disability. I'm always shocked when someone parks in a handicapped spot and then walks into the store, but what you said makes total sense. They could be in a lot of pain. Very interesting lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for spreading the word. I would like to add that if a shopping cart is parked by the handicap sign, please leave it there! It has been left there by a handicapped person for the next handicapped person. We use those carts as handy dandy walkers to get into the store and back. Our neighborhood grocer now keeps shopping carts at the front of the parking space to the side of the sign to make it easier for us to get in and out.

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Chris, if there is only ONE disabled spot in the entire parking lot and a person who is able-bodied and doesn't have the right to park there is always in it, I would mention it to the hotel manager. If you want to remain anonymous and it's a large hotel chain, try emailing their national customer service department. I don't know if they have any liability in this case, but I think they should be concerned if one of their employees is breaking the law.

      Let's assume that a disabled person came to the hotel, couldn't park in that space, had to park farther out and tripped or fell and was injured for some reason because they weren't physically able to walk the extra distance. I think that's a real problem for the hotel.

      You might also want to consider making a call to the police department, telling them the situation and asking them to come by and check the lot periodically. Maybe if they happen to come by at the right time and give her a ticket she'll rethink her parking preferences.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      How can you get it across to someone who continually parks in a handicap spot, the only one, that its not okay. She says, "I'll move my car if its needed," but the person needing the spot would have to park somewhere else, go in to ask and then go back out to move their car. It's just inconsiderate. The perosn works where my wife does (I'm the one who is handicapped). At a hotel.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      @LisaDH: Thanks! My stepson and I got into the habit of feeding meters when I walked him home from school. We'd always find one or two expired meters and buy that person a few more minutes of parking time. Of course, the parking enforcement folks were not happy about it. They're far too aggressive in our neighborhood, which is the main drag and shopping hub in Eagle Rock (part of Route 66).

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @KimGiancaterino: Btw, I think it's great that you help folks out by adding quarters to expired meters. What a great way to practice random acts of kindness. :-)

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @KimGiancaterino: Kim, thanks for the compliment!

      In California, yes, you can park in a metered zone without paying the parking fee, and you can also park there for an unlimited amount of time. So even if the meter says 2-hour limit, it doesn't matter how long you stay there if you have a valid parking placard or plates.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Since you live in California, maybe you know the answer to this ... are cars with disabilty placards exempt from paying meter fees? I often pop a quarter in an expired meter, but lately I've noticed that most of those cars are displaying a blue placard. Great job on the lens!

    • AmandaTWaH profile image

      AmandaTWaH 5 years ago

      Great lens. This is stuff people need to know. I have a disabled sister as well as a disabled sister-in-law and it drives me crazy to see these spots being abused. They are there for a reason.

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 5 years ago

      Very good lens on something we might need because you just don't know what life will bring.

      thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanki you!

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @SheilaMilne: I love it! I think we should have signs like that here in the US, too.

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 5 years ago

      ~blessed~ by the way...

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 5 years ago

      Sorry to hear about your partner :( My partner is partially disabled but he no longer needs the placard. It still annoys me to no end when I see someone parked illegally in a handicap spot.... grrrrrr.

    • nickybutler profile image

      nickybutler 5 years ago

      Incredibly informative, thanks!

    • MrInfopreneur profile image

      MrInfopreneur 5 years ago

      Thanks for the info. Didn't know there were so many considerations

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Thanks for all of this useful information. I didn't know any of the laws and regulations. Good to know!

    • msalada lm profile image

      msalada lm 5 years ago

      Nice lens. Thanks for taking the time to educate people.

    • profile image

      grifith 5 years ago

      Very Good Lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great page!

      My husband had knee surgery several years ago, and used a scooter at Wal-Mart. He was only in his 20's at the time, so boy did he get some dirty looks. Knowing that his situation was temporary, I just kind of laughed to myself about how rude people could be! If it would have been a chronic condition however, those dirty looks would be a lot harder to handle!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Lisa, thanks for this terrific lens. My state (Alabama, USA) uses both placards and tag stickers. I'm not sure what the law here is, but I wish we would just use the stickers because the placards are easy to take out of one car in order to use fraudulently in another car.

    • suzy-t profile image

      suzy-t 5 years ago

      Very informative lens! I get very upset when a non-handicapped person takes up a spot that is reserved. Working as a teacher's aide in a disabled class, I know lots of parents that need these parking spaces and none of them would use these spots unlesss their child was with them. Thanks again for sharing this important info. Blessed and pinned by a squidangel.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      Great information. Glad you are speaking up on this topic of parking spaces for the disabled.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Very informative Lens, I don't have a car so I'm not familiar with the rules; what I do notice and thing is a real issue here in New York is that most subway stations aren't handicapped accessible and almost all the lights have no audio signal for the blind (only some have them here in the Bronx and they're usually by a hospital).

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I do frequently see people misusing the parking spaces. I'm just back from France where they have a notice by the disabled parking saying, "If you take my parking place, also take my disability".

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Awesome lens, many people need to understand more about these parking spaces. Btw, I got 100% on the quiz.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      It's good that you posted this lens, more people need to understand what these spaces and rules are for. And to note not everyone has a visible disability. I have been in and out of a wheelchair for a while (4 back surgeries - not done yet), MS and list of other letters of the alphabet. Yet I often appear to be a healthy person. What they can't see is the pa,in, the effort it takes to just go to the store or go on a short walk with your child. No one sees the after effects. I still choose not to use the spaces provided me if it's a good day, I just have plenty of bad ones too.

    • profile image

      YellowTaxis 5 years ago

      Fantastic page, A lot of able bodies do not take the time to understand why disabled parking is so important. If the general public increased their knowledge by only 1% it would increase the standard of living for a disabled person by 10%.

    • profile image

      BeadCatz 5 years ago

      What a great lens. I have a place card but at first glance, people don't think I'm disabled. I have severe back problems. Some days when I feel like walking, I don't use my place card but mostly, I have to use it because the simple thing of walking is painful.

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you so very much! I think most people really don't understand the importance of these spaces, so education is essential.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I shouted this important message on FB for you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You shared this important information that everyone should know about handicapped parking extremely well and very graciously out of your experience. Those numbers just don't compute and hopefully changes will be made soon. Van accessibility is essential just by looking at the advancing needs of baby boomers, the veterans returning with injuries and those like your partner who were in the wrong place at the wrong moment and are paying the price for it the rest of their lives. Very well done and congratulations on your front page honors and purple star!

    • PlethoraReader profile image

      Matthew 5 years ago from Silicon Valley

      While I have never needed to use one of these spots I have frequently had words with those that park in the spot that do not have a pass. My 'favorite' excuse is "I am just sitting in my car waiting for someone". Yet the person driving the parking lot doesn't see you in the car and thus the space is still not available. Great article. Blessed!

    • Merstarr profile image

      Merstarr 5 years ago

      Great lens. Hopefully it will remind some people to not be so judgmental. :)

    • Monica Ranstrom profile image

      Monica Ranstrom 5 years ago

      Thank you for this! I was aware of most of this, but really nice to have it all in one place!

    • MayaIxchel profile image

      MayaIxchel 5 years ago

      Great information! Thanks for all the details, I never knew! Greetings from 'the land of eternal spring'!

    • BillyPilgrim LM profile image

      BillyPilgrim LM 5 years ago

      Great lens and very true.

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm glad that you're willing to confront people who are illegally parked in a disabled parking spot, and it's definitely wise to check for a placard first. I think some people jump to conclusions, even when the vehicle has the appropriate plates or placard.

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @LynetteBell: Yes, you need a special license plate or placard to park in a disabled parking space anywhere in the US. They are issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles, and you need to pay an extra fee and have a doctor certify that you have qualifying disability to get one. Each state makes its own rules, however, about what disabilities make you eligible to get a parking placard. So a condition that qualifies in one state may not qualify in another.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I may have missed it but do you have to display a special card or something? In NZ a disable person can buy a card and I think it lasts for 5 years or something.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      Well done. I developed a new appreciation for disabled parking when I was pregnant with my first. Thankfully my temporary disability was gone after the pregnancy. I heard that Sacramento is rethinking their downtown disabled parking policies since there were people abusing the system.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @SheilaSchnauzies: I am one of the people who will confront someone who is parked in a handicapped space, who does not "look" like they need to be. But if they have a handicapped sign on their vehicle I do not say anything. However, I did not think about people like you, who "look ok", but are not. Thanks for pointing that out. I will only confront people who skip, run or jump out of their vehicles from now on, cause like you said, "you can't judge a book by its cover or a person by theirs"!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for trying to educate people. My father, may he rest in peace, had MS and walked with a cane, and then towards the end had to use a wheelchair. I did not think too much about handicapped spots until I became my dad's chauffeur. I do speak up if I see someone getting out or in a vehicle who is completely able bodied, and in a handicapped spot. The normal response from these people is..." I was only a few minutes in the store"... Well in those "few minutes", someone may have needed that spot!

    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @SheilaSchnauzies: I'm sorry to hear of your experience, Sheila. Sometimes people are so rude it's hard NOT to be rude in response. We were once sitting in the disabled section at an outdoor show and when the woman behind us just wouldn't believe we should be there, my partner finally said, "Do you want to see the scars on my back?" That finally shut her up, but not before her poor husband died of embarrassment over his wife's continued rudeness.

    • Commandrix profile image

      Heidi 5 years ago from Benson, IL

      Whoohoo -- I got 3 out of 3 on the quiz. I try not to judge those people with the handicapped placards even if they don't "look disabled" because it's not like they want to advertise the full extent of their disability.

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      AngelaKane 5 years ago

      Great lens, I have never parked in the disabled parking spots. If you are able bodied and can walk, you should do so.

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      Sheila 5 years ago from Omaha, NE

      I applaud you for writing this lens! I "look ok" but I've had four back surgeries and two complete hip replacements. In between waiting for all of those there were 100 different flavors of agony walking. Once at Walmart someone actually had the nerve to say "She looks like she's got a lot of business parking there" right in front of me. Probably better I not say what I did at the time ;) But seriously, you can never ever judge a book by its cover or a person by theirs. Blessed.

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      WWurpleW 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this important piece of information. A lot of people are unaware of the importance of disabled parking spots.

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      MrMojo01 5 years ago

      Great lens. I just took a cross country road trip with my grandfather and he is in a wheelchair and drives a wheelchair van. I understand the importance of those spaces now more than ever!

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      EbooksFreeWeekl1 5 years ago

      Thank you for such an informative lens!

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      CuppaJo 5 years ago

      I hate people who park in the stripey spot. I guess they think that since it isn't marked as a handicapped spot they won't get a ticket? Nevermind that parking there renders the handicapped spots useless to people in wheelchairs, because it's often the only place with a curb cut.

      I drive around all day for work and I see people parking in handicapped / stripey spots all the time that aren't supposed to. At least 1 person per day. I wish anybody could just take a cell phone pic of their car, send it to the cops, and the person would get a ticket in the mail.

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      nicks44 5 years ago

      Nice lens, very creative way to raise awareness about this highly sensitive topic.

    • LisaDH profile image
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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @Craftypicks: Thanks for your comment. I think it's really helpful for people to hear from those who don't "look" disabled. I believes it does a lot to spread awareness. Thank you!

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      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      My husband is one of those normal looking disabled people. We have gotten a lot of dirty looks getting out of the car in a handicap spot too. My husband has cardio myopathy. His heart does not pump well enough and he gets winded. You can't tell when he goes from sitting to walking but follow us for around 200 yards and you will see us stop and let him catch his breath. Excellent Lens!

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      theallin1writer 5 years ago

      This is valuable info - thank you for sharing!

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      Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

      I am so sorry for the previous comment. No one images were showing up, so please accept my apologies and a blessing for your great lens.

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      Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

      This would be such a great lens if you added pictures.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @LisaDH: my husband and i got a ticket even though I had a permanent sticker plaque. I have multiple problems with walking and never know when it will hurt more than normal. We parked in the only left disabled spot at a hotel and we noticed it said for van access. We live in utah and it doesn't matter if you choose to use either one. We had no other choice since this was the only one left. It was 2 am and we had been traveling long. We got a ticket and they said we are guilty.. How do we fight this? Or can we. This was in las vegas Nevada. thanks Pam jst4pj@yahoo.com

    • LisaDH profile image
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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @treasuresabound: Thank you. I'm glad you learned something. I hope others do, too!

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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @SteveKaye: Thanks for visiting, Steve!

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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: It's something we've all got to remember. Thanks for your comment, Virginia!

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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @kerbev: I've never had someone say this to me, but I guess I'm not surprised. I suppose the best solution is to take down the placard when the disabled person isn't in the car. This is impossible, however, when you have disabled plates.

      It's sad that human beings would be so rude to each other over the need to walk a little bit farther. I don't know anyone with a disability who wouldn't gladly trade in their disabled parking spot in exchange for a healthy body and the ability to walk from the farthest end of a parking lot.

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      kab 5 years ago from Upstate, NY

      @OhMe: My mother has a handicapped parking placard in the vehicle. It is for the person who is handicapped - not for the car. If the person is not in the car, then it should not be used. I have also had people tell me I'm taking up a non-handicapped space. It's rude, and it shows how resentful they are to walk by those spaces.

    • LisaDH profile image
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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @OhMe: Wow, I never thought of that. In a very crowded parking lot, I guess it could happen.

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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @grannysage: That's a hard way to learn a lesson, but I hope your experience will be helpful to others.

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      treasuresabound 5 years ago

      Wow, really learnt a lot from this lens. I wish more would be done to educate people offline and in the streets because a lot of people are ignorant of most of the facts you pointed out here. Well done

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      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      This is an important article that should be read by everyone. Thank you for publishing it.

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      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      This is an important topic. Thanks for pointing out that disabilities are not always visible. I must not judge just because someone looks young and able-bodied.

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      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I have a placard but don't always have to use it. One time I was parking in a regular place to save the handicapped space for someone who might need it more. To my surprise, someone questioned me stating that I was taking a space for the non handicapped and she couldn't find a parking place and couldn't use the handicapped but I could have. That really made me think. You have done an excellent job of explaining about Disabled Parking Spots

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      grannysage 5 years ago

      I learned my lesson about making judgements. We were in a building and a friend of ours came in, walking with a cane. He made a comment about parking in the handicapped spot. I scolded him for it, until he added, "I have MS." I immediately shut up and have remembered that embarrassing moment to this day. I watched as he got weaker and weaker and the last time I saw him he was bedbound. It is possible he is no longer with us. So I am an advocate for disabled people and I do get angry if I see someone without a placard parking in those spots.

    • LisaDH profile image
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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @hartworks lm: Glad you found it informative. Thanks for visiting!

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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @Bill Armstrong: That's very cool that you invented a wheelchair lift for cruise lines. I think it's a great idea, as those ramps can be kind of steep. Too bad it wasn't used, but maybe it will be viable at some point. As the population continues to age and more people are faced with mobility challenges, cruise lines and other types of businesses may find other ways to improve their accessibility.

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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @Frischy: Frischy, that's terrible about your car! If just one person reads this and learns to be more open-minded about disabilities, I will be happy.

      And regarding the bathrooms... Oh, I could tell some stories about that! Word to the wise: never take a mobility scooter into an old bathroom with tight corners because getting out can be difficult, time-consuming and embarrassing! :-)

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      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      I didn't know a lot of the details of this very informative lens. Appreciate your writing it.

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      Bill Armstrong 5 years ago from Valencia, California

      Very informative indeed, as you know with yesterdays lengthy discussion this is also a hot topic for myself, although very bodily able, I have family and friends with different situations and I have no hesitation in supporting any of them or anybody. My job also entails adhering to the ADA, my friend, who was actually on the board of the ADA, (yes she went to the White House) and I work on many projects, I am proud to announce that I actually invented or should I say created a wheelchair lift for use on Cruise Line Vessels, sadly it never got off the ground, they went cheaper ways. So as you can see, I support the movement in these types of issues, so lets see if we can raise the fines and enforce them more, after all the government are looking at more ways to squeeze cash out of everyone ;) Thanks for posting an awesome lens.

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      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I also have a handicapped placard and park in handicapped spaces. One time when I was younger someone keyed my car because I did not look handicapped enough to park there. That is a doctor's call, because as you mention there are a number of disabilities that are not apparent just from seeing someone walk across a parking lot. I am glad you wrote this, and I hope it will help educate people! Please consider writing a companion article about handicapped bathrooms and bathroom stalls!

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      lclchors 5 years ago

      thanks for providing needed information. great lens

    • LisaDH profile image
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      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @Nancy Hardin: Thanks for the blessing, Nancy! Yes, I do hope to expand this page and add more content as time allows.

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      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I know you will be adding more stuff to this page...because it's one that touches so many people in so many ways. My partner and I, (thank goodness she's still well!) have experienced just about every problem on this subject at one time or another. Thanks for sharing this lens...maybe some people will heed the lessons. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am disabled and am often confronted with all of the problems on this page. Thanks for clearning up some of the questions that both disabled and able bodied people have. This was very informative for me.