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Old 02-01-2001, 06:13 AM   #1
Rollwithit
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Just a little vent....but is everyone handicapped these days?

Maybe you notice this too, but it seems everywhere we go, there's not a handicapped parking spot to be found. We don't even bother trying to get them anymore, we just park out in the boonies so my husband has enough room to pull his chair up to the side of the vehicle.

And while I'm on a roll, what's with all the tags hanging from rear view mirrors? I guess I'm just of the mind that if you are permanently disabled, you might as well go out and get the proper license plate. I know some people have multiple vehicles, but I think the tags just make it way to easy to pull something that's not quite on the up and up.

Thanks friends......this too shall pass.
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Old 02-01-2001, 06:49 AM   #2
yoopermom
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Sorry this is long, but...

I agree about the parking spaces, especially when they haven't been cleared of snow/ice, so are unuseable by anyone!

However, I am one of "those" people with a hanging placard, and let me explain why. At least in this state and the one I grew up in (MI/WI), you are only issued a plate if you have a "permanent" disability (my father has one since he has fibromyalgia and can barely move on most days). However, if you only need to use the parking spaces in certain situations, your dr. can okay the placard (and,yes, there was appropriate paperwork that had to be filled out). My mom and I have them because our scoliosis doesn't "usually" impair our walking in from a normal parking spot, but if we're having a flare up, or if there is little or no parking, we use it. Also, there is a stiff fine for using a placard without that person being in the vehicle, which we would never do. I can't tell you the number of times I've been screamed/sworn at/thrown dirty looks because people can't "see" my disability. It is heartrending to explain to my 6DS why a stranger is acting that way towards his mommy.

Sorry this got so long, but since any type of handicapped sticker/plate has to be authorized by a dr., I hate to see us fighting among ourselves. Instead, maybe the states should raise the required number of handicapped parking spots in relation to the number of placards/plates issued.
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Old 02-01-2001, 06:58 AM   #3
yoopermom
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Rollwithit, I'm sorry, I forgot to mention...
Saw that your husband is in a wheelchair, and I did want to mention that if the only handicapped spot left is a van spot, we park in regular parking, because I appreciate the fact that a van needs the extra room to unload the wheelchair. I am sensitive to other handicapped peoples' needs, really!
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Old 02-01-2001, 09:59 AM   #4
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We didn't have a permanent license plate until this summer when we got a ramp van. We had a hangtag since dd (who is now 15 yrs old) was 3 since that way we could use different vehicles to transport her. I agree there is more potential for abuse with those. One of the TV stations here did a "sting" operation and found the cards were being used by people they were not issued to. In one case a family (legally) got one to be able to take Grandma in the nursing home on weekend outings, but another family member without a disability was using it during the week. They also found members of the University of Minnesota basketball team using them to come to practice. There are a few bad apples and the sad part is that they make it hard for people who have a legitimate invisible handicap to get the close parking that they need. There is also a lot of hostility by the general public against handicapped parking. I have heard interviews where people said they could not understand why someone who can walk INSIDE the store needs close parking. That's ignoring that there may be limited endurance or difficulty with rough or slippery surfaces. Many also couldn't understand why a person in a wheelchair would need to park close since "they aren't walking anyway". I would invite those people to try to get a wheelchair through 2 inches of slush.
Now that we have a van with a ramp, we frequently find that IF a spot is available, it is a car spot and doesn't do us any good. And if you park in 2 regular spots, someone is very likely to park next to you. I have even had someone (without a permit)park in the crosshatched loading zone so when we came out, we could not get in our van. It would be nice when they gave out the permit if they also gave a little lesson in parking courtesy, since not everyone is as thoughtful as yoopermom. In fact, I was mentioning to a Physical Therapist at work how hard it is to go shopping when you need a van accessible spot. He mentioned the difficult time he has had trying to explain to his mom (who has a permit)why she should not just park in the first spot you see or maybe even park in regular spot if there is a close one.
One of my other pet peaves (besides lots where they plow all the snow into the handicapped spots) is people leaving shopping carts in the handicapped spots. I realize that some of these may be people with handicaps who just can't push the cart to where it should be left. But, I have seen people without any apparent handicap or a parking tag push their cart into that spot and then leave. In my case, I can still park there, move the cart and then get my dd out, but there are people in wheelchairs or otherwise handicapped driving their own cars who can't park because they can't move that cart. If I see some when we are coming or going, I move them since I am able to do that.
Courtesy and cooperation go a long way toward making things work for everyone.

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Old 02-01-2001, 10:15 AM   #5
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Yoopermom (I love your name), I'm so sorry you've had to deal with being verbally abused. I can't imagine saying something to someone when there are so many non-visible handicaps! As far as I know, Michigan doesn't have the same rule or law about having to have a plate if one is permanently disabled. That alone might solve part of the problem.

I am also aware of the fines associated with improperly using a placard but I have yet to see anyone checking whether a placard is being used with the appropriate vehicle. It all gets old after a while and most of the time, I'm just not up for the fight - shoot, I've even seen able-bodied people back into handicapped parking spots that are up against a wall so you can't see their license plates. If someone is that bold and desperate for a closer parking spot, I hardly doubt they'd back down to me.

And as for the plates/placards having to be authorized by a doctor....I'm not prepared to tackle that one yet. It would appear it's not too difficult a task.

Again, I'm sorry for the ignorant people you've encountered and what your son has had to witness.
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Old 02-01-2001, 10:32 AM   #6
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I agree with everyone, and must say that I try to think of "those people" as giving DS and I some basis to have serious talks on how "God made us all different, but some people think we should all be the same", etc. I would give up almost anything that I have NOT to need a handicapped placard! But, with limited energies, I just pick my battles and try to make them good ones. I have a little notecard (nicely worded, but truthful)that I put under peoples' windshields who leave their dogs in the car in hot weather, I wonder if they have something like this for people who park illegally in handicapped spots? And lets not forget to publicly praise businesses that have plentiful handicapped parking spaces (Wal-Mart comes to mind, plus they will do *anything* to help you with a smile, carrying heavy bags of dog food out to the car for you, etc.).
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Old 02-01-2001, 05:37 PM   #7
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Rollwithit, I think you are being a hard in your initial post to those of us who have "tags hanging from rear view mirrors." My recently diagonosed knee condition is permanent, but I was given the option to get a permanent handicapped license plate or a handicapped hanging tag. I chose to get the hanging handicapped tag rather than the permanent license plate. My orthopedic doctor filled out the Motor Vehicles form before I could take it to MV. We have more than one vehicle in our household, so for me "the proper license plate" is the hanging tag. I have never used the hanging tag "to pull something that's not quite on the up and up." Also, if I am the passenger in someone else's vehicle, I am entitled to use it there. For example , we frequently meet friends at WDW. We take turns driving to the parks. If they drive & I am a passenger, then I am allowed to use my hanging tag in their car. It clearly states in my paperwork that I must be the person using the tag plus I have a form from MV that I must present if asked.

An added note - I have a friend who is a county policeman. He recently pulled into a parking lot while he was off duty & found only one car "legally parked" in the handicapped parking spaces. All the other cars parked illegally received a $50 ticket. I wholeheartedly thanked him.
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Old 02-01-2001, 06:08 PM   #8
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I have noticed in all our travels that Michigan is the worst state to try and find a handicap parking space. It is far to easy to get a pass renewed. When I renew my plate on the van I am never asked if the disabled plate is still needed nor when I renew my DD's hanging permit which by the way she is usually at school when I take it in and no one asks any questions. I know for a fact people take them in and get them renewed when their family members have died since a former co-worker did this. She would brag about it until she got turned in and now she herself needs one because of a stroke.

I hate it when people park in the van accessible spots when they have a car or a van without a side lift. I also think they should make people read an information sheet telling them what the blue lines are for next to the spot and that no this isn't where you can park when all the other spots are full. My next van will have a rear lift I will never own another side lift again just to many times where we just don't even go where we intended to because I can't find a spot to put the lift down.

There is a mall in Hixson Tennessee where my Mom's family lives where the handicap spots have a sign that says handicap or expectant mother parking. Now that really burns me up.
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Old 02-02-2001, 05:10 AM   #9
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Let's not be too hard on rollwithit. I bet that there was a "one more straw to break the camel's back" situation that prompted this post. I know I have felt that way sometimes.
Here's another one of my pet peeves: people who are legally parked in the handicapped spot, but they don't park straight, so they take up more than their space or they intrude into the lift space next to them.
I've seen TV stories about those "expectant mother" spots and some places also extend the invitation to anyone who is over 65. I just got finished watching a TV segment about exercise during pregnanacy and how most women can be very active during their pregnancy. If pregnant women or the elderly need handicapped parking, they have the option of applying for a parking permit.I think it's ridiculous to make people with disabilities jump thru hoops to be allowed to use those spots and then just hand them to other people. The problem is the people making the rules have no clue of why the parking spots are important to the people who have the permits.

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Old 02-02-2001, 08:54 AM   #10
Michelle NY
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I agree with how difficult it is to find a spot. 90% of the time I can not get a spot at any of our local shopping malls. It is always more difficult durning the day time.
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Old 02-02-2001, 06:20 PM   #11
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Rollwithit,
I am another that has a hang tag. That is what we have in the state of Florida. On it is our driver license or Florida id number so a police offiecer can check if the owner is in the car. We have 3 cars so the hang tag can be used in anyone. I do not need to use my wheelchair at all times so I may be in my husband's or daughter's car. My car is lift equipped so if I am out on my own I take that one. Where can I do without the chair. Mostly at restaurants that do not require me to walk more that about 100 feet at a time. Btw I often will park out if there is only one spot available, I have a power chair and figure I can roll easier than some others can walk.

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Old 02-05-2001, 05:09 AM   #12
Rollwithit
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My apologies to anyone I offended with my original post. I took a chance at being flamed with my thoughts and that is exactly what happened. That's okay...I grew my tough skin over 19 years ago when that drunk driver put my DH in his wheelchair.

Michigan law states 1 out of every 25 parking spots be designated handicapped. Between that, the "Expectant Mother," "Mothers with Children," and "Senior" parking spots, what choices are left? And I will remain firm in my view that if a disabled person is a passenger in a vehicle being driven by an able-bodied person, they get dropped off by a door rather than use a handicapped parking spot. I would much rather those spots be left open for the lone disabled driver that is struggling to remain independent.

SueM - thanks for your comments.
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Old 02-05-2001, 06:10 AM   #13
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I was just reading this board because I didn't have anything better to do, and I had to comment. I have an uncle and a grandmother who both have hanging tags, and they've been wonderful. A few years ago, they both had regular plates, but since neither can drive, they were hardly ever in their own cars. Neither is in a wheel chair, but they both have extremely impaired mobility, and it's scary walking through a parking lot with them. They live in New Orleans, so ice obviously isn't an issue, but getting hit by a car is.

As for dropping them off at the door, that's just not going to happen. It takes them too long to get out of the car. People get really mad when you block traffic, and I'd hate to see someone take it out on either of them. I can defend myself unless it gets too ugly, but they're too confused most of the time to do anything. Plus, unless you have someone to stay with them while the driver parks, it's not safe to leave them alone. They frequently think they can handle things like shopping on their own, but most of the time they just can't.

I guess your perspective is a little different because your husband is an adult with his full mental capacity. You need to remember that a lot of handicapped people are either children or adults who've lost some of their reasoning capabilities.

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Old 02-05-2001, 08:11 AM   #14
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I have to agree with Kermit's reasoning. If I can't find a parking spot and I have my older dd or husband with me, we can pull up and let younger dd out at the curb with someone. I can't trust younger dd to stay if I am alone, so I need the handicapped parking then. Also a lot of places don't have room for someone to park and unload and the other drivers do get mad at you because you are blocking the path of traffic.
One of the things that does bother me is when I see someone parked in the handicapped parking spot with the motor running, waiting for someone who is in the store. Now, it is possible that the handicapped person is the one in the store. When I see this there are usually regular spots free and to my mind, there is no reason that the person driving the car could not park in one of those and watch for their companion to come out of the store.
The answer is that they need more handicapped parking spots and get rid of laws that allow anyone to use those spots just because they are old, pregnant or have small children. If they have a real need for the handicapped spot, they should be applying for a parking permit that lets them park there. v

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Old 02-05-2001, 01:01 PM   #15
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Rollwithit - I think you really have to be from Michigan to understand just how bad it is in our state. However, I have noticed since I have to travel to Grand Rapids and Flint on a regular basis that the Detroit area is the worst by far for no handicap parking places. When I take my kids to GR with me I never have a problem finding a place to park at places like Walmart. In the Detroit area you can never find one.

I can't just drop off my kids while I park in a regular parking spot 99% of the time we are by ourselves and I just can't leave an 11 & 3 year old both sitting there while I find a parking place. However my next van when the 3 year old is old enough to get out of the car seat and stay in her wheelchair in the van is going to be a 15 passenger van with a REAR lift. Never again will I not be able to get a lift down because of the lack of parking spaces.
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