Wheelchair users face a multitude of challenges navigating transportation. Fortunately automobile makers have made these constrictions easier by manufacturing quality and easy to use wheelchair accessible vehicles! Today’s mobility vehicles feature innovative technology, helping the handicap enter and exit their van as well as safely operate and park. But what happens when other drivers obstruct handicapped parking spots?
Nobody intentionally wishes to prevent individuals in wheelchairs from being able to access the supermarket, doctor’s office or other important destinations. Typically, blocking a wheelchair user is accidental. Familiarize yourself with the following information and laws to ensure you are not unknowingly keeping a wheelchair user from safely entering or exiting their vehicle!
Handicap parking spots can vary!
Not all handicap parking spots are created with the same purpose. There are two common types of handicap parking spaces.
- Standard Handicap Parking Spots (Non Van Accessible): These spots are designated by the standard, ADA Symbol. Businesses and establishments are required to keep the parking area closest to the building allocated for those who have physical disabilities or require assistive devices. The Federal ADA laws require that these spots be level (in order for a wheelchair or crutch to land) and leave a 60 inch aisle adjacent to other parking spaces. These spaces are for standard vehicles, without wheelchair ramps and lifts.
- Van accessible parking spaces: These spaces are designated specifically for minivans and conversion vans. Sometimes the handicapped parking space will specifically read “Van Parking”, other times you will notice the aisle with diagonal marks indicating space for a ramp or lift to deploy. There are two types of Van accessible parking spaces:
- One-Sided Entry: This space has one 96” aisle marked with slanted lines to the right of the passenger side door.
- Two- Sided Entry: This space has two 96” aisles on both sides of the space, marked with slanted lines. These are the easiest spots to park your mobility van in; particularly in you have a side entry ramp.
Not all parking lots are clear in their delineations of Handicap and Van Accessible Parking Spots. Often times drivers will accidently obstruct the white or blue spaces meant for wheelchair users to exit or enter their vehicle. Be careful! Depending on the circumstances of handicap parking fraud, the offense can be a violation or charged as a misdemeanor. The violation ticket can be anywhere from $250-$1000. A misdemeanor can mean up to 6 months in Jail. If you are living with disability that requires closer parking, you know how difficult it can be when you are unable to find a spot. Even worse, if you have a Mobility Van that you exit or enter with either a van or a lift, someone parking or obstructing your spot can be a nightmare!
Be considerate of others, especially those with mobility impairment.
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