Parking wars

Mini-van in a striped zone.” width=

The driver of this mini-van used his handicap sticker as justification
for parking in the striped area.

I’ve noticed a lot of motorcyclists parking in the striped area at the end of a parking line or next to a handicap parking spot. In Texarkana this is a common practice, and I have yet to see or hear about anybody being ticketed for it. I’ve indulged in this myself several times, always being sure that I wasn’t blocking somebody. I was especially careful if it was next to a handicap space, being sure that any vehicle in that spot had ample room to load or disembark wheelchairs.
But even with everybody else doing it, and despite my efforts to be considerate, it still didn’t feel right. For one thing, I’m sure it’s against the law. For another, I may have trouble with my insurance company if I’m ever hit by another vehicle while parked, illegally, in a stripped spot.
The point was really brought home to me about a month ago when I headed to a local big-box store. As I parked in a stripped area at the end of a line and headed for the store, I noticed a vehicle parked in the stripped area next to a handicap spot. But this wasn’t a motorcycle. It was a minivan. It looked so funny sitting there, I grabbed my cell phone and took a photo. That’s when I heard an angry, “Hey!” I hadn’t noticed the driver still sitting in the van.
“I am handicapped,” I heard him assert. I just waved and went on into the store. My purchases complete I left by the same door headed for my bike, only to discover the driver now standing outside the van waiting for me to emerge. As he pointed an accusing finger in my direction, I heard him tell a passerby, “That (expletive deleted) took my picture!”
Very little of what followed is printable in this, or any family oriented, publication. The gist of it was he believed, by taking the photo, I was accusing him of wrongdoing, and that his disability justified his actions.
Without stopping, I assured him that I was not with law enforcement and had only taken the photo because it was an amusing sight. Unfortunately this didn’t satisfy him and as I loaded up and put on my helmet, he grabbed a shopping cart with one hand and his cane with the other and headed my way. His slow and unsteady progress gave both tribute to the severity of his disability, and hope to me of making an escape before his arrival. Alas, recalcitrant buckles on my saddlebags and helmet delayed my departure just long enough for the aggrieved party to arrive.
Through a blizzard of profanity, it was explained to me I was a narrow minded bigot, and he was actually doing me a favor. It was also suggested I do things with parts of my anatomy that I don’t believe were actually physically possible.
Keeping an eye on the cane to be sure it continued to be used as a tool of locomotion, and not a weapon, I tried to again explain that I had no legal authority, and had only snapped the photo because it was an unusual and amusing sight. As before, this did nothing to assuage his anger.
To avoid the necessity of explaining to friends how I’d been beaten up by a crippled guy, I decided to practice the better part of valor. I cranked up the bike and hauled my narrow-minded, bigoted tuckus out of there. I watched my mirrors to see if he’d try to get back to his van and give chase. He didn’t. The last time I saw him, he was still standing where I left him, making gestures in my direction that I would not describe as conciliatory.
I park in the regular spaces now. It’s less dangerous.

- Guy Wheatley

5 Responses

  1. oldman Says:

    I believe that the stripped areas are to indicate no driving or parking. As far as you taking a picture in a parking lot, well I don’t remember any laws, off hand that you might have broken. I have the utmost respect for the disable, unfortunately being disable does not prevent or give anyone an excuse for being a jerk. This guy knew he was guilty of parking in a no parking zone or your taking his pic would not have had bothered him.

  2. Joe Says:

    Probably thought he was gonna be added to peopleofwalmart.com. Lol

  3. KBCraig Says:

    I frequently see cars parked in those striped off spaces, too — even without benefit of handicap tags.

    As for legality: other than disabled parking and fire lanes, there is no such thing as illegal parking on private property. Police won’t even respond to a fender-bender in a parking lot, because they don’t have jurisdiction over parking or driving there. You can let your 12 year old drive around the Wal-Mart parking lot to his heart’s content (not that I recommend it), and it’s perfectly legal.

    So: motorcycles and other vehicles on yellow-striped spaces are legal, if somewhat rude. Legality on blue-striped spaces is questionable, but only if that space blocks out the additional space needed for a wheel-chair accessible vehicle with a side door. Other that that, the cross-hatched area should be yellow, with the parking space itself striped with blue.

  4. Guy Says:

    KBCraig:
    I believe you are right. I actually had somebody hit me in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and you are correct that the police did not respond. That incident had slipped my mind.
    You are also correct about fire lanes. I remember several years ago when Movie Gallery was still in the same complex with K-mart in Wake Village, there was a Fire Marshall who ticked several people who stopped in the fire land to step out and drop a movie into the retrn.

  5. ShadowDragon Says:

    In the past I have generally parked in the striped areas (making sure I didn’t interfere with HC access-three close family members with disabilities have made me very aware of this) because I’ve been accosted by four-wheeler drivers who got angry with me for taking up a full spot that they should have rightfully had (in their minds at least). I’ve also been treated to the sight of my motorcycle nearly being rammed by someone trying to pull into the occupied space while texting (a quick glance told them nothing large enough to be important was already there). Incidentally, I was on the motorcycle when this happened. The driver then told me in no uncertain terms that I should park somewhere else and leave the car spaces for cars. It can be a real no-win situation at times.

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