Handicap spaces are being abused

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dear Editor,

People with disabilities have long complained about people who do not have a disability parking in the spaces designated by law for us. They are able-bodied, or at least can walk without pain or difficulty and therefore need to park in spaces that are farther away and leave the close-up spaces for those of us who cannot walk without pain. But there’s another problem with disabled parking that people don’t address, and that is the people with disability placards who abuse the privilege.

I have a lot of pain when walking; there are problems with my right hip and leg due to injuries suffered at the hands of a violent ex-husband. The handicapped parking spaces give me a little help in getting around and doing the things that I need to do in my daily life. So it always upsets and saddens me to see other disabled people abusing the system.

Yesterday, I went to Winn-Dixie to pick up a couple of things, and it happened again. I’m driving around the parking lot, by myself, looking for a handicap spot and one is not available. Why? Because there are two cars parked in handicapped parking with the disabled person waiting in the car while the able-bodied person has gone inside. This is an abuse of the system. These spaces are not here for the convenience of our family members or friends; they are here to allow those of us who are disabled a little assistance.

Personally, I find those of you who are disabled and allow your family members to park in these spaces unnecessarily to be guiltier of abusing the system than those who aren’t disabled and take the spaces anyway. You know how difficult it is to get around, you know the pain and how slow we must walk, and yet, you take the space for the convenience of a non-disabled person and make a disabled person walk further.

If the disabled person is going to wait in the car, then don’t take up the handicap space! If it isn’t against the law for this to be done, then it should be, and if it is I urge our local police to enforce it.

–Katherine Reece, Clanton