The legislation that made handicapped parking spaces available has made life much easier for disabled people. They have more access to establishments and are more independent. Handicapped parking spaces can be on public or private property, but can police enforce handicapped parking on private property?
The police cannot enforce handicapped parking on private property if the parking space is strictly for private usage. The only way the police can enforce handicapped parking on private property is if the public has access to use the space.
What is a Handicapped Parking Space?
A handicapped parking space also known as a ‘disabled parking space’ is an allotted space in a parking lot solely for people that are handicapped. These spaces are usually separated with enough room and don’t allow other vehicles to park too close.
Oftentimes, these spaces are located near the entrance of any establishment, this is so the disabled person won’t go through too much stress in getting in.
It is quite easy to differentiate a disabled parking space/lot from every other one as a signpost with a wheelchair symbol always in position.
These spaces are separated so it will be easy for the disabled person to set up any mobility equipment if available and improve accessibility. In order to easily access this space, there is a need for the disabled to apply for a ‘blue badge’.
A blue badge once placed on the car (most times on the ‘windscreen’) is an indicator that a disabled person is onboard and without fail they are allowed to park there.
The unfortunate thing is that some people who are not handicapped in any way have over time made use of these spaces for selfish reasons, this reduces the chances of an actually disabled person having access to the space.
Can Police Enforce Handicapped Parking on Private Property?
Yes and No. The police may or may not be able to enforce handicapped parking on private property, it really depends on what the private property is used for and those that have access to it.
For private property that is a residential area and not open or accessible by the public, the police cannot enforce handicapped parking, they don’t even have the right to do so. Trying to do this will be encroaching on the individual’s rights.
On the other hand, the police can enforce handicapped parking on private property that is open and accessible to the public.
The public includes physically fit individuals and those that are not physically fit, also those that have other forms of disability not visible to the eyes.
The enforcement of handicapped parking spaces on private property by the police is within the law, the police by law are obligated to protect the rights of disabled individuals and also ensure they have access to parking lots. Therefore, by whatever means, they should do so but with respect to the other parties.
Refusal to comply with the demands of the police to make available a handicapped parking space may result in getting a ticket or fine.
Some states actually have laws that private property open to the public should have handicapped parking spaces also with a signpost.
If you do not know what the local regulation is on having handicapped parking spaces, you can always check with the local police.
What Happens if You Park in a Handicapped Spot?
It has been established that handicapped parking spaces are designed for disabled people therefore only these set of people should park there.
However, despite this knowledge, some non-disabled people still park their vehicles in the space. Are there consequences when this happens? What happens if you park in a handicapped spot?
The consequences and what will likely happen depends on whether you are parked there with or without a permit or blue badge.
A permit or blue badge is issued to a person that is with one disability or the other. The permit is usually in form of a ‘plastic bag’ and hung in the car while the blue badge is most often seen on the windscreen.
If you are parked in a handicapped spot with a permit then you have nothing to worry about because you are within rights and have legal backing to do so. Parking there without a permit or blue badge on the other hand is quite different.
Parking without a permit or blue badge in a handicapped spot is considered illegal and therefore you will have to face the consequence.
If you think you really need a handicapped parking space, get a permit, you can even get a temporary permit depending on the situation rather than facing the consequences of illegal parking.
Benefits of Handicapped Parking Spot
The benefits of handicapped parking spots for disabled people are:
1. Less Worry
Physically challenged people are often times worried about their condition, then having to worry about not being able to go around or the difficulty of gaining access to some establishment can be another source of worry.
The availability of handicapped parking spaces in most places has given them something less to worry about.
Being disabled may make one dependent on others to an extent, for people that do not like depending on others the possibility of driving around or having a parking space specially designed for them is relieving.
Some disabled people are able to move around and set up their mobility equipment without much help because they have enough room to do so in some parking lots.
3. The Possibility of Going Wherever they Want
Another benefit of handicapped parking spots is that it makes it possible for disabled people to go wherever they want without much restriction.
The knowledge that they can park easily when they go out gives them the freedom to think of the many places they want to go and actually go there.
4. Shorter Distances to Journey
Most handicapped parking spaces are located close to entrances, this makes it easy for them to navigate and get inside without having to go the long route of getting in.
These parking spaces are designed not only to make parking easy but also to ensure they can get in easily without going too far.
If you want to get either a permanent or temporary permit, it is important to know the requirements. Some states require that you get a doctor’s report before you can be issued a permit while others don’t.
You should also know that the permit does not mean a disabled person can park in restricted areas, the use of the permit is limited to the handicapped parking space.