Dear Annie: I had to respond to the letter from “Seeing Red About Blue,” whose son is in a wheelchair. She often finds the striped area next to the handicapped parking spot occupied, blocking safe passage back into her van.
I have a motorcycle. I used to park in those blue-striped areas because they were a perfect fit for my bike. I had a feeling they might not be OK to park in, but I had no idea what they were for and didn’t see any harm in leaving my bike there.
One day a woman approached me and actually explained that parking my motorcycle in the striped spot made it difficult for someone in a wheelchair to safely access their car, because I was blocking the route.
Annie, I should have known better. I didn’t realize I was causing undue hardship, and I immediately apologized and moved my bike into another spot. I will never again park in those striped areas. I appreciated being put in my place.
Found a New Spot To Park
Dear Found: Thank you for taking responsibility for doing the wrong thing and then correcting it. We hope other readers will make the same effort. Read on for more:
From Chicago: I appreciated all the information in that letter. I never knew what those striped areas in parking lots were for. I honestly thought they were for emergency vehicles. I never thought they were there to help with ramps, walkers, wheelchairs, etc. I am very glad that your writer explained the purpose. Education is power. Thank you. I am now enlightened.
Los Angeles: I believe there is an easy solution for drivers who park in the striped lane between handicapped parking spots, preventing a side exit for handicapped passengers. These lanes should also have a posted sign that says, “No Parking, Handicapped Access Lane,” complete with corresponding fines. Usually, those signs are only placed in front of the actual parking spot and not the striped area next to it.
Wisconsin: I am handicapped and often see people parked in handicapped spaces when they have neither a handicapped license plate or placard. I have begun to leave notes on those people’s cars saying, “You are not handicapped. You should not be in this space.” It also might help to back into the space so that the striped area next to the ramp cannot be blocked by another car.
Michigan: I, too, have a side-loading wheelchair van and have also been “parked in” by people choosing to use the striped area. I’ve also seen small cars with handicapped placards parked in van-designated areas. And it’s exceptionally common for people to leave their shopping carts in those striped areas.
My husband purchased a small orange cone and printed RAMP on it in large black letters. He attached a 6-foot rope to it and tied the other end to the front passenger seat of the van.
When we park, we pull the cone out and place it in the adjoining space. And do call the police next time there is a car parked in the striped area. When I did this, they didn’t tow the car, but they did write a ticket. If we make this an issue, the police will enforce the law.
Baton Rouge: How about utilizing two plastic pylons (easily purchased at an athletic equipment outlet)? Affix long pieces of bright tape to each pylon, and attach the other end to a magnet. Attach the magnets to your vehicle, and leave the pylons (with the tape attached) to the amount of space needed for your ramp. The entire package can be rolled up and placed inside the car for reuse when you’re done.
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