General Question

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

How do you feel about "able bodied" people parking in a handicap parking space?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11973points) September 30th, 2009 from iPhone

When you see a person getting out of a vehicle that can clearly walk well and seems in fairly good health but is parked in a handicap spot do you get upset? Angry? Curious? Should getting a handicap pass be harder?

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59 Answers

RedPowerLady's avatar

I don’t get upset because I don’t judge people on appearances. My mother, for example, has a handicap sticker. She has MS. Her situation changes day to day and minute to minute. You might see her one day and she is walking great, the next she can barely move. She may be feeling great and still use the handicap spot because she doesn’t know how she’ll feel when she exits the store, perhaps unable to make it back to the car if it was parked far away. There are too many variables to be judgmental.

However I do think it is very wrong for someone to park in a handicap spot for convenience sake when they themselves know they aren’t handicap.

KatawaGrey's avatar

If they have the pass, I have no problem with it. I feel the way that @RedPowerLady does. Maybe you can’t tell what kind of condition that person has. On a personal note, my grandmother is legally blind and so has drivers who pick her up and drop her off. If the driver is driving her car and picks her up, he/she might use the handicapped parking spot so my grandmother doesn’t have to walk very far to get into the car. The way I see it, if they got the pass, they deserve it. Now, what I don’t like is people who just use their relatives’ stickers/cars in order to get the pass. That’s just dishonest.

Sarcasm's avatar

I never see more than one handicapped parking space (out of 6–10) used at a time.
So to be honest, it doesn’t bother me to see someone handicapable park there.
Now, if they were more regularly utilized (legitimately), I’d see a problem with it.

(I do not, and have not parked in a handicapped place, by the way)

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I’ve seen it before and I spoke up when I did. Upon mentioning that someone actually handicapped might need that space, I was returned without outright hostility. The person was not handicapped in any way, except maybe ethically which is a condition that does not qualify a person for handicapped parking.

My mother has a handicap placard and has had to deal with non handicap people taking those spaces before.
Not cool.

Judi's avatar

My dad had emphysema before they had handicap parking spaces. I would never judge someone if they had a placard. Just because someone walks well does not mean they can walk far.

JLeslie's avatar

If they have a handicap sticker I would not think twice about it. You don’t know what is wrong with the person. People can look fine and be in significant pain, or may have a heart or lung problem where a lot of exertion is difficult, all sorts of possibilities. If they don’t have as sticker I say tow. Let me clarify, if a car is “standing” in the space for a couple of minutes that would not upset me, if the driver was there the entire time and there were several handicap spaces available.

Zen's avatar

It’s always been fairly simple for me: Handicap Sign means handicap parking only. I honestly never even considered parking in one, and always thank God I don’t have to.

YARNLADY's avatar

I know for a fact that there is no way to tell from looking at a person whether they have a disability or not. If they have a permit, they are entitled to park there.

I am very much against people with no handicap permit parking in the reserved spaces.

Bluefreedom's avatar

When a non-handicapped person does this, it is very rude, inconsiderate, and disrespectful in my opinion.

mcbealer's avatar

The integrity of handicap placard users is not something I question. As mentioned above, it’s not always apparent what their exact disability is.

In south FL the abuse of the placards is so rampant that at certain venues during peak hours or high attendance the police create a separate flow of traffic for that section of the parking lot, and to get through you have to present not only the placard but the permit ID card with a photo ID.

Disc2021's avatar

Some jackass would always park his Porsche in the one at my college – no handicap card/plate and somehow he never got ticketed.

Sooo tempted to toss a rock through the window (though I would never).

DominicX's avatar

Reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Homer parks across 3 handicap spaces…

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Disc2021 It was probably the college president.

casheroo's avatar

There’s no way to tell by just looking at someone. I do have a habit of looking for a tag in the window, or on the plates..if I don’t see anything, I automatically feel disgust towards the person.

I also hate people who park in “mother to be/parents to infants” parking. Those spots are for pregnant women, or parents of young children, and also handicapped people. (sometimes all the handicapped spots are taken, especially at a grocery store, and they get next dibs on those maternity spots) I find it incredibly rude when I see people parking in those spots.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@casheroo Who has those spots (mother to be/parents to infants)? There is none where I live and I could seriously use one!

casheroo's avatar

@RedPowerLady Pretty much every grocery store in my area, and Babies R Us. I can’t think of any other store. I wish Target had them. I’d say it’s more useful when you have young children!

YARNLADY's avatar

@casheroo there are ‘pink and blue’ spaces in shopping centers in San Diego. That’s the only place I’ve seen them.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@casheroo Well that’s awesome. I’ve never seen one in Oregon.

Judi's avatar

Fresh and Easy Grocery Stores and Babies R Us has them here.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@RedPowerLady: We have them in Tennessee!

Supacase's avatar

I realize there can be a legitimate reason for someone to have handicapped tags that I can’t see. I do have a pet peeve about it, though.

My mother-in-law has a placard because she has arthritis in her hip. She does not use a cane, walker or wheelchair. She appears perfectly fine (and in truth, I think she exaggerates for sympathy) and can get in and out of the car normally.

So, she can use the spaces. What annoys me is that she will pass up a spot right beside the handicapped spot just to park in the blue one. Seriously, they could both be right in front of the store door, equally as close, and she will still take the handicapped spot. What if someone else needs the extra space afforded by a wider handicapped spot and a ramp? If she takes the spot beside it, the handicapped spot is still open for another person who needs it, but if she parks in the handicapped spot then the space beside it will probably fill up quickly with someone who could reasonably park anywhere. The way I see it, she could make it so that two people who need it could benefit, but she chooses to do it so that only she does.

oratio's avatar

I suspect that people can feel a jealous suspicion that they cheat and get the best spot in the parking place which is mostly free.

I used to cruise around the parking lots to get as close to the entrance as possible, until a girlfriend asked me why it was important to me to avoid walking a few meters more.

It doesn’t really matter where you park if you are healthy. For people that isn’t it matters. Most probably they they really are handicapped, in one way or another.

Walk the few extra meters. By the looks of it, most people need the walk more than finding the closest spot.

Judi's avatar

@oratio, When I started to get fit I thought I should park at the back of the parking lot. I can walk, why not?
What I reused was, I try to park close so I can find my car when I get out!

augustlan's avatar

I qualify for a handicapped tag, but have not gotten one yet. I may be in good shape when I get out of the car, but after an hour in the grocery store, I am often limping on the way out. Never, ever, judge a book by it’s cover.

*Edited to add: I do not park in handicapped spaces… without the tag or placard, I would never do that. I do, however, look long and hard for a close spot.

Sarcasm's avatar

An hour in the grocery store? What could you do there for an hour?

augustlan's avatar

@Sarcasm Trust me. It can be done. Feeding a family of 5 on a budget is not so quick and easy. ;-)

oratio's avatar

@Judi Ha ha, funny you would say that. For some reason I often forget where I put the car. The car I had was a turquoise golf cabriolet. Very easy to spot. The car I have now is a silver SAAB, which is a very common color and car. Thank god for the radio key.

oratio's avatar

@Sarcasm Oh, I can spend hours in the grocery store, walking around thinking about what I could cook with this or that. It’s great.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

they are lazy or mentally handicapped. what more is there to say?

dalepetrie's avatar

I’ll agree with what has been said about as long as they have the proper permit, I’m not going to judge. I know two people…the first is a friend, my age, basically had congestive heart failure at the age of 35 due to untreated pneumonia, lost 85% of the function in her heart and became permanently disabled. She walks around just find and you wouldn’t know by looking at her that she’s disabled, but the extra distanced saved does less wear and tear on her weakened heart.

My diabetic father who is 68 can also walk, but has neuropathy and has a hard time being on his feet. He walks very slowly, but can still walk upright for fairly long distances if need be. He too has a handicapped tag, but a person might not know he’s handicapped by looking at him. As far as I’m concerned, it’s posted, $200 fine if you park there without the proper permit, I fully support ticketing anyone in one of these spots who does not display the proper permit, but if they do have one, I don’t question it.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I knew a guy whose wife was in a wheelchair. One day he kinda went nuts and started busting the windows out of cars parked in handicapped spaces without having handicapped permits. I don’t condone his actions, but I understand the sentiment.

Our local police are pretty much on top of it. Drop a dime on an offender, and he finds a $100 ticket on his windshield. I mean, they’re right there; they will send the nearest available cruiser.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Supacase: This may be a harsh thing to say, but I have little sympathy for your mother in law. My own mother has had arthritis since she was 25 and has it everywhere. She doesn’t have a handicap placard and would never dream of getting one.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Since when is a heart condition or lung ailment physically visible?

Sometimes people have handicapped stickers because a spouse or child is handicapped. It’s not just the driver.

DarkScribe's avatar

Where I live the requirement for possession of a handicap permit and use of a handicapped space requires the driver to be incapable of walking for one hundred metres without the use of an aid or wheelchair. Even if the vehicle has a permit, the driver must meet the requirements or be in the process of dropping or picking up someone who meets the requirements. There is a fine of between seven hundred dollars and several thousand for “fraudulent” misuse of the permits, yet hundreds of people who are capable of running into a store still have them in their name. It is often mentioned in media along with yet another promise to “tighten up” on issuing permits. They annoy hell out of me.

I spent several months in a wheelchair a couple of years ago, then several more on crutches, and would often find that when parking the car alongside me contained fully able bodied people, driver and passengers yet had a sticker. I only used the space (once out of the wheelchair) if the weather was bad and I needed to avoid getting soaked moving slowly over a long distance. Whenever I discover able bodied people using the spaces I use a pocket camera to video them walking to or from the car and take a still image of their permit, then email it to transport. I have no idea if transport follows up (they say that they do) but it makes me feel better.

If they really annoy me – get abusive and walk away when asked about their eligibility – I keep a valve tool in my pocket and use it to let all four tyres down while they are away. That makes me feel much better.

JLeslie's avatar

We have the mother to be parking at one of the supermarkets where I live in TN.

sakura's avatar

I am probably going to get shouted at for this but here goes… I have waited to pick my daughter up from the local swimming baths in a disabled parking bay. Before you all jump on me let me explain!

There are LOTS of disabled spaces near the entrance of the pool, which are NEVER taken I know my daughter is only going to be a matter of minutes, and I don’t want her to walk a distance to my car through the car park…she doesn’t want me waiting at the door… she’s at that age (also if I park anywhere else she may not realise I am there as the car park is VERY busy and any spare spaces are usually right around the corner. She won’t be getting a mobile phone until next year when she goes to high school (we live in uk)

I may also state that if any body appears to be looking for a disabled spot I would immediately move for them, if they couldn’t find one (highly unlikely as there are at least 15 spaces, most left empty)

I would never park in a disabled spot at the supermarket or in town and would hope no one else would, my grandma needs a disabled badge as she can’t walk very far (osteoporosis) and can’t see very well, but local council won’t grant her one!) Also I have 2 brothers with special needs that were denied permits when they were in my mums care

I also find it most annoying when people park in mother and child spaces with no child… and have reported people to the supermarket desk for doing this.

Am I hypocritcal? I hope not…

tinyfaery's avatar

Since when did having young children and/or being pregnant warrant a special parking space? My mother had one toddler, was pregnant, had MS, and never needed a special space.

sakura's avatar

I guess it is to make it easier for the mum or dad, because of teh sufferings our parents went through now that generation are in charge and recognise the difficulties so want help??

casheroo's avatar

@tinyfaery Your mother could have had a handicap spot, because of her MS or if they even had mother to be parking, she could have parked there. It should be used as next available for handicapped people. Not all places have it, I’ve only ever seen it at grocery stores or bulk shopping stores (like BJs, Costco etc) Probably because grocery shopping includes lifting a lot, and you really shouldn’t lift over 25lbs while pregnant. And all the walking isn’t always great for pregnant woman. I know I feel like my muscles are being torn apart if I walk for too long.

tinyfaery's avatar

It was the 70s. She didn’t get a placard until I was 13 or so.

JLeslie's avatar

@sakura you are “standing” in the space not parking. You describe exactly the exception I illustrated above.

oratio's avatar

@sakura I don’t get why you just don’t give her a mobile phone.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

wow, people, apparently, are really uptight about parking spots or getting parking spots or being cheated out of parking spots

SuperMouse's avatar

I am answering without reading through the thread.

My boyfriend is quadriplegic. If he wants to get in and out of his van he must have the space to deploy the lift. The beauty of handicapped spots is that they have space around them so that this can be done. If there is not a handicapped space available, he cannot get out of his van. That is not ok. Able bodied people have absolutely no business parking in handicapped spaces. I have to say that Californians are trained very well in this fact because of the hefty fine imposed on those who park there without the placard or the plates. Where I live now there is a paltry $100 fine and there are consistently folks without the placards parked in these spots.

When I see someone in one of these spots with a placard and no visible handicap I remind myself that there is a very real possibility that they have a hidden disability. When I get really annoyed is when people like my ex-mother-in-law hand their placard out to anyone who wants it for a trip to the mall during the holiday shopping season. I was also pretty amazed when my ex-grandmother-in-law got one because she was legally blind. Why would a person who is legally blind need a handicapped placard – she doesn’t drive!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SuperMouse the fine should be higher, imo

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: Actually, I’m right there with you, as is my arthritis riddled mother. We often park far away simply because it’s easier than tryint o find a close space.

casheroo's avatar

@SuperMouse Only a hundred dollars?! The day I got my license, I parked in a handicapped spot (please don’t judge me, it was on South Street in Philadelphia, they keep the meters super low to the ground just for handicap spots, and I didn’t see it and wasn’t aware to look. I still feel awful about it.) I got a $300 ticket, and my parents made me pay every penny. he punishment should definitely be harsh!

YARNLADY's avatar

To all with stories of ‘someone I know had this or that’ and didn’t have handicap permit. Surely you realize that each person has to base their use on their own level of pain and disability. The story that one person can get along without one is a very judgmental comment. Good for your (story) person – they had too much pride, or not enough pain, or whatever to get a permit. That is not necessarily something to brag about.

Disc2021's avatar

@RedPowerLady Well his ass isn’t handicapped. Even then so, they get a nice big staff parking lot (and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had his own special one).

I’ve seen a lot of handicapped students that go to my college – I think whoever doesn’t respect that is just cruel hearted person in general.

Supacase's avatar

@KatawaGrey I share your sentiment and don’t give a rip if it is harsh. She has some nerve damage and maybe a slipped disc as well, so maybe she really is in a lot of pain, but I see how she can get around when she wants to. She made it an entire day at an amusement park and I don’t care how much you sit and rest, that would be damn hard to do if she is in as much pain as she claims. Something new comes up every time people stop giving loads of sympathy over the last diagnosis. She is desperate for attention and is not beneath accepting it in the form of pity. (Ok, now that was harsh.)

sakura's avatar

@JLeslie oops yep, I suppose so, sorry

@oratio her dad and I decided that she wasn’t getting a mobile before she went to high school, it’s all about waiting and appreciating something when you get it. Plus the swimming situation is really the only time she would ever need it she sees her friends everyday at school, she chats to them on msn, and shock horror if she wants to talk to them she can use the home phone!!

oratio's avatar

@sakura Sure, seems to work for you. I guess there might be a difference between countries there. Over here every kid has a cell. Me and most people I know don’t have a land line phone.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Supacase I’m fairly certain your mother-in-law and my ex-mother-in-law must be one in the same. Argh, her attitude annoys the heck out of me. If it’s not one thing it’s another and as people slow down on the sympathy the current ailment gets worse. Yet one more reason I am so happy to be divorced! What pisses me of is the number of people I know with legitimate handicaps, constant pain, trouble perambulating, etc, that don’t say a word about it, while all she does is moan and groan!

JLeslie's avatar

@sakura Oh, I didn’t mean to say you were being repetitive, you don’t owe me a “sorry.” I just meant that you have some understanding at least from me for what you do.

DominicX's avatar

I’ve never heard of this “mother and child” parking space. Where is this? Definitely not California or Nevada…

Judi's avatar

@DominicX; they are in California, at Babies R Us and Fresh and Easy Grocery stores.

DominicX's avatar


Never heard of the latter and I guess there wouldn’t be much reason for me to go to Babies R Us. I thought this was one of those things that was everywhere in some country like Sweden. lol

I just read up on it; “stork parking” it’s called. :P

sakura's avatar

they have mother and baby parking at all supermarkets over here in teh uk asda, tesco, morrisons they are useful

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