Righteous Parking

I feel a burning need to gather all the drivers in the United States in one place and explain to them how handicapped permit parking works.

A. In order to park in a handicapped permit spot, you need to have — stay with me here — a handicapped permit! I know this is a shocking concept. If you don’t have a permit, you may not park there. Not even if you have five children under two. Not even if your back hurts. If your back hurts that bad, go to a doctor and get a permit.

B. Stripes on the pavement mean DON’T PARK HERE! The striped area next to a handicapped permit spot is called an access aisle, it is not called a parking space. Grandpa, just because you have a handicapped permit does not mean you may squeeze your boat of an Oldsmobile in the striped access aisle. You cool guys with your shiny red Suzuki motorcycles, they did not stripe that space so that you could park there. It’s there so that there will be room for the permit holder (the one parking in the REAL parking space) to:

  • let down the van lift, or
  • open the car door wide and get the wheelchair or the walker out, or
  • have a safe route to the curb

C. And while we’re at it…that spot where the curb has been lowered to meet the street — yes, right where you are idling your car, your Federal Express truck, your moving van — that’s called a curb cut. It’s the only place some of us can get onto the sidewalk.

Ok, I’m going to go home and yell at my dog. No, maybe I’ll just have a drink.

Here’s Bob Alexander’s much less sarcastic explanation.



  1. Brenda

    Hi – I found you in my referral logs – I wrote that rant about the dumbass blogger’s disclaimer ;-) – and I’ll be back.

    I’m able-bodied around 98% of the time, but I have chronic knee problems that flare up every now and again, during which times I am in considerable pain, and can’t walk without a cane. I ride public transportation, and because of where I live, buses tend to be pretty packed when I board. When my knees are okay, I am happy to stand. But when I’ve got my cane, the strain of trying to keep my balance while the bus navigates turns is almost too much to bear – not to mention it delays my (temporary) recovery considerably. The people sitting at the front of the bus obviously notice that I’m having trouble walking, because they stare at me, but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times someone actually got up to offer me a seat. As a result, when I’m not using my cane, and there are seats available on the bus I’m riding, I make a point of grabbing a seat at the front. That way, if someone who actually needs the seat gets on the bus, I will vacate it – because I don’t trust other riders to do the same.

  2. Katja

    Brenda, hi. I like the way you’ve got your comments set up (empty set, singleton, etc)! In my next life, when I’ve got time and no kids, I’m going to get a PhD in combinatorics.

    I was in your position (cane, bus) some years ago, and I got good at taking the cane even if I wasn’t sure I was going to need it because it’s a visible marker, and asking people to give me their seats without even worrying about it.


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