The Disabled Parking Spot Wars

Respect Blue SpacesThe parking spot wars is about to hit hard as the holiday shopping season begins. With Black Friday coming earlier and earlier every year, being the first to the door becomes the obsession of the deal busting holiday spender.

For those of us in the disability community who use the disabled parking spaces, now is also the time of year where frustrations mount towards the careless parker. While out and about with my parking tickets in hand, I have found that a lot of the disabled parking violators I’ve been witness to use the same excuses.

The reasons used to warrant their violation to the reserved accessible parking spots is, “I just need to run in for a minute”, or “I’m just waiting for someone to come out”. The spots designated for the use of disabled placard holders are nearest to the entrances of the businesses and storefronts, these spots are ripe to be taken advantage of.

When shoppers are looking into this years holiday shopping season, they are also contemplating the long walks through crowded parking lots and hours of walking and standing on their feet from shop to shop as their wish lists are met. People will tend to forget their manners over their sore heels.

Now, I don’t want to sound harsh, but this is just selfish. To knowingly take a parking space designed to help serve those with mobility issues because you want to save a little time, because it’s available, or because the walk through the lot from the available space is a long one, is just putting yourself ahead of those who really need to utilize those spaces.

Think about it this way: those reserved accessible parking only spots provide the accessibility and extra space needed for those with mobility equipment, like a scooter or wheelchair, to use safely and without the risk of damaging surrounding vehicles.

If you want to talk about time saving, having the designated spots near the entrances is key. When you have mobility issues, it might  take a little more time and effort to get around and to accomplish the same goals. Parking closer allows those who might use light mobility aids like crutches, canes, or walkers to get in and out of these businesses and stores as quickly as they can. Not all diseases are seen. Remember, you’re probably not a doctor and you can’t diagnose someone’s ailments with a glance alone.

My only advice to head off any awkward encounters is, if you don’t have a placard, don’t use the spot. Be patient and share a little cheer. Everyone has places to be and things to do this holiday season.  Don’t be a Grinch this year scoring the closest parking spot by stealing it from the disability community.