Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Parking Unnecessarily in Wheelchair Spaces is Bad Karma

Filed under: Accessibility 100 — by at 2:06 pm on Sunday, June 1, 2008

Accessibility 100

The Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC) reminds everyone that parking unnecessarily in handicapped or wheelchair spaces can have undesirable consequences. Listen to SPARC radio ad that will air on stations across the province this week, promoting Access Awareness Day on Saturday, June 7th.

Wheelchair parking sign
(Photo credit: Dani Simmonds)

The transcript reads:

Female: Yeah, we can’t park here.

Male: Why not?

Female: It’s handicapped parking.

Male: So?

Female: We’re not handicapped. That’s bad karma.

Male: Karma sharma, I’ll be right back.

[Male gets out of the car and slams the door]

Male screams in pain: Owwwwww!

Announcer: Parking in specially designated spaces without a permit is not only bad karma, it’s illegal. While you may not slam the door on your finger, you may get a fine. And remember, you’ll be taking that space from someone who truly needs it. SPARC – the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia – reminds you to be access aware. When it comes to designated parking, please cooperate. No permit, no parking. Now that’s good karma.

Accessibility 100 is a series of 100 easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. This is a community project. Feel free to leave your comments, questions and ideas for future Accessibility 100 posts.

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Comment by Mary

June 1, 2008 @ 5:26 pm

Glenda, this is one of my pet peeves – my cousin is in a wheelchair, and when I travel with her I am amazed at the number of folks who ignore the signs, or park so close that she can’t activate her ramp. Oftentimes she is forced to unload in the road, then move the van into the spot (she can walk for very limited distances in a pinch)

In my more rambunctious days, I would walk by someone obviously with no physical disability who was parked in handicapped, and wonder aloud (loud enough for them to hear) — Well, no physical impairment – they must be mentally impaired! THAT would get a few hard stares – and I’d stare right back!

Comment by Glenda

June 1, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

Mary, yes, it is frustrating when other drivers park in wheelchair spaces or don’t leave enough room to get the lift out – while they jump out of their sports car for a six pack!

However…some mobility impairments, such as heart conditions or arthritis, are not obvious, yet they may have a parking permit and be eligible to park in those spaces, legally.

Comment by Karen Putz / DeafMom

June 4, 2008 @ 7:37 pm

Way back in my CIL days, I used to ride around town with my co-worker looking for people in those spots with no placard. We towed quite a few cars one summer and a few people learned to leave those spots free.

Comment by Glenda

June 4, 2008 @ 8:07 pm

Sounds like fun, Karen, in a sadistic sort of way!

I know of one woman who would let the air out of tire on car without a placard and leave a note on the windshield, “Now you ARE disabled.” Not that I’m (officially) condoning such behaviour!

Comment by margalit

June 5, 2008 @ 1:59 am

Just because you can’t SEE a handicap doesn’t mean there isn’t one. I do have a handicap placard (legal) and often when I park in a handicap space people challenge my right to park there, even with my placard. I’ve had so many people say “you don’t LOOK handicapped” or “what is your handicap?” like it’s any of their business. If someone has a placard, and the photo on the placard is of them, believe that they are handicapped. Don’t ASSume that you know more than the handicapped person.

FWIW, I have congestive heart failure and can’t walk more than about 50′ without getting faint and dizzy. I’m FINE sitting down, but walking is very tough for me. I look like any regular person, but I’m not. I’m tired of being challenged, too.

Comment by Glenda

June 5, 2008 @ 11:43 am

Margalit, thanks for sharing your frustrations with parking and for reminding people that not all disabilities are visible.

Comment by Karen Putz / DeafMom

June 5, 2008 @ 12:28 pm


My parents have a placard– my Dad has some days where he can walk well and other days when he can’t. My mom has a heart condition. So I never question a placard.

But if someone is parking in a space without a placard– then that’s a whole different ballgame. 🙂

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