The other day in Monterrey Mexico, protesters blocked of 20 of the regular parking spaces of a major mall with wheelchairs, leaving the Disabled Designated Parking Spaces untouched. They left notes on the wheelchairs. The notes were typically the same that are left by non-handicapped people parking in the handicap spaces. The notes said things like “I’ll be back in ten minutes”, “Just picking someone up” and “Just picking up lunch”.
This isn’t the first time that this type of protest has happened. There was one in Boa Vista Brazil on December 3, 2013. December 3, is National Struggle for the Disabled Day in Brazil. The same type of protest happened in Lisbon Portugal in December 2013, March and April 2014. It happened again in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia in November 2014 when protesters blocked off all of the regular parking spaces to the main train station with wheelchairs, leaving the lone handicap parking space untouched.
Violence even occurs over Disabled Designated Parking Spaces. Outside of a Walmart in Greenfield Wisconsin, in the USA, on March 4, 2015, a 32 year old woman was arrested for knocking down and breaking the leg of an elderly woman who cut in front of her to park in a Disabled Parking Space. The elderly woman was recovering from hip replacement surgery and will have to have another hip replacement as a result of the attack. The 32 year old had a Disabled Placard but it wasn’t hers. She borrowed it from a friend.
The protests the violence and the headlines that accompany them give one pause to think. How often have you seen cars without a Disabled sticker or placard, parked in a Disabled Designated Parking Space? How often have you seen someone who obviously wasn’t disabled, parking in one of those spaces? How often have you seen people who don’t appear to be disabled getting out of a car that had the handicapped sticker or placard? Do you confront them?
Do you leave a note on their car if they park in a Disabled Designated Parking Space without a sticker or placard? Do you confront people coming out of their car and ask them what their disability is? Do you try and find a police officer and ask them to ticket them? These would all help but perhaps you don’t want to put yourself in danger. The good news is, you don’t have to. We live in a technological world. If you want to stop non-disabled people from parking in Disabled Designated Parking Spaces, just point your phone and click. Snap a photo of the offending vehicle (including the license plate) and email it to the appropriate website. Quick, easy, painless (for you) and effective. There is a list of websites to send your photo to at the end of this blog.
Disabled (or rather handicapable) people have enough problems. They really don’t need inconsiderate jerks parking in the few spaces they are allotted to get them a little closer to the door of a place they need to shop at, eat or patronize. Help them out. Snap and photo and send it off the appropriate website. It will take napping photos, confronting offenders and getting offenders ticketed to put enough public and financial pressure open offenders to end the illegal practice of non-disabled people parking in Disabled Designated Parking Spaces.
If your city, state or nation doesn’t have Disabled designated Parking Spaces look for your local organization that advocates for the disabled. Find out what they are doing to get laws passed that will create Disabled Designated Parking Spaces. Join with them in advocating for such laws.
Parking illegally in Disabled Designated Parking Spaces is a form of discrimination. Not having laws to allow for Disabled Designated Parking Spaces is a form of discrimination. We live in a world that is rapidly becoming closer to global equality. Let’s work together to make sure that disabled people allowed an opportunity to participate with us as equals.
Parking Mobility Volunteer Site: (also gives you a free ap to download)
Handicapped Placard Fraud Reporting Site: (To report fraudulent placards it even lists offenders)
Handicapped Parking Wall of Shame on Facebook: (Show your photos of offenders on Facebook)
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