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In New Zealand, a System To Watch for Disabled Parking Violators 551

Posted by timothy
from the allocation-problems dept.
cylonlover writes "What does it mean when a parking spot is marked with a wheelchair symbol? If you answered, 'It means I can park there as long as I'm going to be quick,' you're wrong — yet you're also far from alone. Every day in parking lots all over the world, non-disabled drivers regularly use spaces clearly reserved for the handicapped. They often get away with it, too, unless an attendant happens to check while their vehicle is parked there. Thanks to technology recently developed by New Zealand's Car Parking Technologies (CPT), however, those attendants could soon be notified the instant that a handicapped spot is improperly occupied."
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In New Zealand, a System To Watch for Disabled Parking Violators

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  • by bonch (38532) *

    What does it mean when a parking spot is marked with a wheelchair symbol? If you answered, 'It means I can park there as long as I'm going to be quick,' you're wrong — yet you're also far from alone. Every day in parking lots all over the world, non-disabled drivers regularly use spaces clearly reserved for the handicapped.

    Penn & Teller did a Bullshit! episode on handicapped parking [tubeplus.me] that's pretty interesting. As with all Bullshit! episodes, it's full of profanity, if that offends you.

    One of the in

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 01, 2012 @11:20PM (#38560500)

      What does it mean when a parking spot is marked with a wheelchair symbol? If you answered, 'It means I can park there as long as I'm going to be quick,' you're wrong — yet you're also far from alone. Every day in parking lots all over the world, non-disabled drivers regularly use spaces clearly reserved for the handicapped.

      Penn & Teller did a Bullshit! episode on handicapped parking [tubeplus.me] that's pretty interesting. As with all Bullshit! episodes, it's full of profanity, if that offends you.

      One of the interesting points of the episode, and something I've noticed as will others, is that handicapped parking spots are almost always empty. Empty parking spots all over the world that most people aren't allowed to use, which of course clutters up the rest of the parking lot. Just something to think about.

      Thinking about it...

      Thinking about it...

      Continuing to think about it...

      Almost done thinking about it...

      There. Done thinking about it. You're still a cunt for parking there if you aren't disabled. Walk the extra dozen or so feet, it might do you some good.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 01, 2012 @11:50PM (#38560656)

        While I can't speak for what the OP thinks about disabled people in general, I think the point to take from this would be that we could legitimately get away with having far fewer handicapped parking spaces without impacting the ability of handicapped people to find a reserved space when they need one.

        The legal specification of what percentage of handicapped spaces are required ought to be revisited to reflect reality.

        • by Penguinshit (591885) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:07AM (#38560774) Homepage Journal
          I would counter, as a handicapped person, that there are too few. While there may be empty reserved slots much of the time, the "subscription rate" is for the busy times. I have been to places during holidays and other usually busy times where the reserved spots are all legitimately used.

          Then there are times I have returned to my car where some asshole, not content with illegitimately filling a handicap spot, parked in the slot marked for where my access ramp would extend out the side. No matter how many times I activated the hydraulic ramp it wouldn't clear the now-scratched-and -dented side of the asshole's car.
          • by Ichijo (607641) on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:13AM (#38561362) Homepage Journal

            I would counter, as a handicapped person, that there are too few... I have been to places during holidays and other usually busy times where the reserved spots are all legitimately used.

            In a free market, efficient pricing prevents chronic shortages, no matter how little supply is available. A demand curve [wikipedia.org] proves this.

            Therefore, if not enough parking spaces are unoccupied, it's only because the price is too low. The right price for curb parking is the lowest price you can charge and still have one or two vacant spaces on every block. [streetfilms.org]

          • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Monday January 02, 2012 @03:23AM (#38561618)

            I would counter, as a handicapped person, that there are too few.

            Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. What makes me crazy is hospitals. Around where I live, the requirement for number of handicapped spaces seems to be the same for hospitals as for all other businesses. While some businesses could make do with less, I'd say every hospital in my area needs four times as many handicapped spaces as they actually have. I have a disabled sister and have to drive her around quite a bit and we can usually find a spot...but not at hospitals. They all seem to always be full.

            You'd think the people that make the rules would realize that there's a higher percentage of handicapped folks visiting hospitals than the grocery store.

            • The rules are the rules, and woe be to anyone who breaks them, or worse, suggests that they be relaxed.

              My dorm had this issue:

              1. The minimum number of handicapped spaces is set by the size of the parking lot.
              2. This parking lot was oddly shaped. About 12 spots near the dorm, a long path area (with curb parking) and then 500 more spaces about 0.5km away.

              The result is that all of the parking spaces next to the dorm were required to be handicapped spaces. This really sucks when you LIVE in that location a

        • by sdnoob (917382) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:22AM (#38561156)

          illegal parking in handicapped spots is a problem just about everywhere.. and there aren't too many reserved spots either. if anything there isn't enough -- partly because of that illegal parking. but without adequate enforcement, adding more spots would just increase the occurrence of illegal parking in them.

          the walmart here for instance, has about 15 reserved spots. during the day, most are always full (and during busy times they are full). and more often than not, there is at least one parked in one of those spots that shouldn't be... even though there *are* 'regular' spots closer to a door than the handicapped spots.

          as a side note, another local store goes one further and has reserved spots for expectant mothers and elderly customers (not legally enforceable like a handicapped spot but still towable if you abuse the property owner's posted rules)

          it should be noted that not everybody that qualifies for parking in a reserved handicapped spot, always parks in one (even if one is available). many also don't even get the necessary permit unless they require the extra room.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by the simurgh (1327825)
        i always assumed someday someone would get the intelligent idea of a making a small card and a parking meter type device which allows you to park in handicapped spot you could check the device and if the person used the card then it would say so. otherwise the device would display a message saying the driver was illegally parked. but then common sense doesn't seem to be in high supply and even though i drive an old clunker caddie i always park in the back that way i don't drive around for ten minutes tryin
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:06AM (#38560768)

        That goes for the cunts who use their relative's handicapped parking placard when they are driving their car and the person the placard was assigned too isn't in it. Yes, I've seen this a lot. It not only is illegal but makes people suspect that the handicapped are milking it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Bob9113 (14996)

        You're still a cunt for parking there if you aren't disabled

        GP did not say he or she has ever parked in one. Didn't even hint that it would ever be OK for a non-handicapped person to park there. Your knee-jerk leap to a foul-mouthed implication of an ulterior motive to his or her post is inappropriate.

        • It seems like it could be a more-general use of "you".

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Wrath0fb0b (302444)

        There. Done thinking about it. You're still a cunt for parking there if you aren't disabled. Walk the extra dozen or so feet, it might do you some good.

        I agree.

        On the other, here in CA they give out the placards for obesity. If you are obese, you should be given a placard that forces you to park at the other end of the supermarket lot so you can get a whole 0.1 miles of walking in before buying 2 dozen bacon-wrapped-cupcakes.

        So yeah, you are a cunt if you park in handicapped spots and deprive someone that legitimately needs it. On the other hand, you are a cunt if you neglect (or even just destroy) you entire body and then expect society to accommodate you

        • by Genda (560240) <marietNO@SPAMgot.net> on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:08AM (#38561080) Journal

          So at one level I can see your resentment. Its not fair to subsidize the irresponsible. My question is that when you see someone overweight coming out of a car in a handicapped parking place, do you even for one microsecond consider that their malady might be the reason for their obesity. I was in a car accident in 2002. I shattered my right leg, and had to have my right foot reattached. There is an 8 inch steel plate and over 2 dozen stainless steel screws in my ankle, leg and a 4 inch screw through my right knee where I suffered a plateau fracture of the right tibia, That is where the force of the impact is so great it splits the tibia down the middle like splitting a rail.

          Before that, I'd won fitness awards. It was a long time I spent on my back, then a wheel chair, then crutches. I put on a lot of weight due to the sudden change in my lifestyle and the inability to stand on my bad leg. I'm only now (10 years later) at a point in my life where I think with the help of the right trainer/physical therapist I might be able to get myself back into shape. My leg however, will always hurt, and will never again function fully (unless the day comes that it can be replaced with a perfect working replica.) Do you see me as one of you lazy irresponsible fat bodies who doesn't deserve a placard?

          Even when I get back down to my proper weight and fitness level, I will endure continuous pain and the inability to walk significant distances. You wouldn't be able to tell from a distance except perhaps by my slight limp or if you looked carefully you might notice something strange about the shape of my right ankle. Would you just assume I'm gaming the system, cheating you and the public in general. All I'm saying is rather than jumping to the worst conclusion immediately, perhaps you should stop for a second and ask yourself why that person has gotten a handicapped placard or license plate. Ultimately it takes a doctor to say a person needs it or not, though most doctors will lean towards the needs and want of the patient, a good doctor would almost certain say to a simply obese patient, get your fat ass to the furthest parking space and walk... its good for you. That is of course assuming they put their patient's well being ahead of looking good or making people happy. As well, you might just stop for a moment and wonder if an obese person would give up their placard in a heart beat to be fully healthy and vibrant again. I know I would.

          Don't be so quick to judge, unless you've walked a mile on my crutches.

          • by Smauler (915644) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:35AM (#38561206)

            Don't be so quick to judge, unless you've walked a mile on my crutches.

            First they steal your parking space, then you're giving them permission to take your crutches?!

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            I'm in my 30s and recently had a stroke. I got a handicapped placard because I'd be subject to bouts of fatigue. Essentially, when my damaged brain had enough, I'd mostly fall asleep. I really wanted it to minimize the distance to the car I'd have to travel if I were far away when I had an issue. But getting out of the car, a fit, normal looking 30-something hopping out of a car with no limp, no visible issue, capable of running miles on a good day (and using it because at least soon after the stroke, t
      • by stms (1132653)

        It's been a long time since I've seen the P&T episode about handicap parking but as I remember it was a fairly interesting episode. As I remember their point was that there should be handicap parking spaces but there shouldn't be government mandates telling you if you park there you should get a $500+ fine. Businesses should make handicap parking spaces because they want the business of handicap people, people shouldn't park there because that's kind of a dick move. If you think people to big of asshole

        • by Kjella (173770) on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:40AM (#38561434) Homepage

          The handicap spots are full of assholes now, how do you think it'd be without penalties? Are shops going to piss off their customers with huge fines for their "dick move"? No. All that would happen is that all the healthy people would get to park a little closer (remember, distance fans out in a circle - there's a lot more spots in a 50 feet radius than a 20 feet radius) and handicapped people would be shit out of luck. Either hang in front of the closest spots waiting for one to clear - and those who need extra space for a wheelchair ramp would never get the double spot they need - or park far out with most everybody else. Those people are going to hurt more, perhaps make a condition worse and in the worst case say I can't get to the shop on my own, I need aid of some sort. And those costs are coming back to you either in form of more government programs or higher health insurance, the extra costs are getting passed to you. Enabling people to take care of themselves it usually one the of the best things you can do, both for them and you.

    • by LordKronos (470910) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @11:34PM (#38560550) Homepage

      One of the interesting points of the episode, and something I've noticed as will others, is that handicapped parking spots are almost always empty. Empty parking spots all over the world that most people aren't allowed to use, which of course clutters up the rest of the parking lot. Just something to think about.

      That's not interesting. Not even the slightest bit. So we over-assign handicapped spots to try and make sure that when several truly handicapped people are at the store, they don't have to park at the back of the lot because we tried to cut the number of spots close so that some non-handicapped lard-asses didn't have to walk an extra 25 feet. Big deal.

      • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:14AM (#38560806)

        Empty parking spots all over the world that most people aren't allowed to use, which of course clutters up the rest of the parking lot. Just something to think about.

        That's not interesting. Not even the slightest bit. So we over-assign handicapped spots to try and make sure that when several truly handicapped people are at the store...

        I thoroughly believe that we should have spaces available for those who need it, as well as other appropriate accommodations. But I think the GP brings up a larger issue, which is when it gets to be too much -- when laws and attempts to accommodate are so important due to political correctness that they trump reason.

        For example, I remember hearing a news story a year or two back about a guy who was going around some state (I think California) and suing any business that didn't follow rather restrictive and arbitrary laws about accommodations to the letter. He would just show up in a town, wander around, and a month later, half a dozen businesses would get threatened with a lawsuit. Often, because of space issues or building design issues or whatever, the businesses couldn't actually put in whatever random accommodation, so they would settle -- effectively paying shake-down money to this guy.

        Is this common? I don't know. The news story mentioned one other lawyer accused of doing a similar scheme. But our collective sensitivity to the issue led to irrational laws that support such behavior.

        Another personal anecdote: a few years back I was meeting up with some people to go on a short road trip outside of a building in an area with limited parking. We had three cars, one of which was parked in front of a fire hydrant too close to an intersection, one of which was parked in a loading/tow zone, and one parked in a handicapped spot. (There were two handicapped spots there, and the other was empty: in fact, these spots weren't convenient to any important buildings, so I'm not sure I had ever seen cars parked there.) All had flashers on, and we were only there for a couple minutes. It was obvious we were packing stuff in cars and were all there with the cars, and if two cars had suddenly shown up for the handicapped spots, we would have gladly moved.

        A police car drives by. They stop and ask about the car in the spot. We explain the situation -- that we're loading up, there's another empty space, we'll be gone in a minute, etc. They don't care: we have to move. They say nothing about the two other cars parked illegally, including the one that was actually a traffic safety hazard.

        So, we pull the car out of the space and also into an illegal parking spot too close to an intersection. That satisfies the police, and they drive away.

        Again, I'm all for providing accommodations. But when law enforcement is happier with cars stopped in hazardous No Parking zones rather than take up one of two empty handicapped spaces that are never used anyway, something's a little amiss.

        • California was one of the pioneers of "public interest" lawsuits. The intention was good: allow those who see violations to sue to force corrections. This reduced the pressure on authorities to track every single possible infraction and encouraged those who should have followed the regulations to ensure that they did because additional eyes were on them.

          Unfortunately, multiple law firms were using this as a money-making scheme, just as you described. It got so bad--people were being sued because their el

      • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:07AM (#38561070) Homepage

        So we over-assign handicapped spots to try and make sure that when several truly handicapped people are at the store, they don't have to park at the back of the lot because we tried to cut the number of spots close so that some non-handicapped lard-asses didn't have to walk an extra 25 feet.

        One of the early commenters was advocating a Darwinian perspective. He or she is obviously a total douchebag. But I don't think it is so clear cut when questioning the allocation ratio.

        By your rationale (which I'm sure was not intended to be a bulletproof and thorough examination of the space -- I'm not trying to fault you), you could justify having half the parking lot be handicapped spaces. Clearly that would be an inefficient use of resources for all but the most handicap-focused retail centers.

        This would not be a problem if retailers chose to put the right number of handicapped spaces in, but they do not (probably don't have the data to do it, even if they were so inclined, but also the profit would act as a pressure against it), so we have to legislate the number. That is the good and right thing to do, IMO. Now we have a question, though: Should it be 10% of spaces, 1% of spaces, or 50% of spaces? Some other number? More than we have now? Less?

        Much like homeland security, the only politically acceptable answers are "more" and "the same amount as now." Such situations require that we rise above our immediate inclination to jump to the politically safe answer. That we resist the urge to puff up our sense of superiority by belittling those who present rational counterpoints. That we dispassionately consider the question.

        As GP pointed out, causal observation -- and even a slightly more formal investigation by a couple comedians -- seems to indicate that the measurement we used was off. We seem to have substantially overestimated the right number. Lazy lard-asses may have their own flawed estimate, but being as wrong as we seem to be is also sub-optimal.

        Also note that you may not see the problem that some do. Where I grew up, there was lots of cheap land, so there were never parking problems. The lazy lard-asses could always find plenty of parking even on a Saturday afternoon, and I felt exactly as you do about people who complained about the allocation ratio.

        Then I moved to NYC. And some years after that, San Francisco. Different story there. Seeing a big lot, completely full of cars, with people circling, spewing toxic gas, near-missing pedestrians who appear from behind cars without looking, while half a dozen spaces sit empty, is not uncommon.

        Seeing that scene replayed over and over and over never even remotely made me question the value of having handicapped parking spaces. But it did make me question the accuracy of the measurement used in estimating the allocation ratio.

        Waste is waste -- even when it is for such an obviously just cause as enabling handicapped people to participate more fully in our society.

        • by jklovanc (1603149) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:25AM (#38562000)

          So the fact that a few able bodies people may have to wait a few minutes to find a space overrides the ability of a person in the wheelchair the ability to have a parking spot large enough to be able to get in and out of their vehicle? In the case of the able bodied person the issue is "I have to wait a few minutes". In the case of the person in the wheelchair it is "I have to go home".

          The two comedians did not do any "investigation" at all. The took a few pictures of parking spots and ranted. They did no investigation into the ration of used regular spaces vs used disabled spots at various times of the day and year. Empty disabled spots is not a problem if there are regular spots are available or soon to be available. Even if the lot is full a few empty disabled spots is not an issue.

    • by w0mprat (1317953) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @11:50PM (#38560664)
      Friend of mine is in a wheelchair. Doesn't give a fuck about disabled parking spaces, parks anywhere, wheels along happily. This may contribute to the appearance of disabled parks being apparently empty.

      He also finds it ironic, that there are disabled parks near supermarkets and department stores, fundamentally the kinds of stores where you'll be covering quite a distance moving around a large complex, there's not really much effort saved by having a disabled park close to the door.
      • Thats what gets to me. There are twice as many "Elderly persons" car parks outside my local super market than "Parents" car parks.
        The elderly parks are mostly empty while the parents car parks are mostly full. The old people are still going to have to walk around the entire super market, so why can't they cross the carpark like other people? Parents however have little kids to manage who haven't spent the last 70 years of their life not being hit by a car and its safer to not have to cross the carpark.
        Int
      • by Mistlefoot (636417) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:02AM (#38560742)
        As someone who provided care for a wheelchair bound gentleman "Gord" I have spent much thought on this.

        Gord was greatly affected by temperature and his body was slow to warm or cool if he got cold. Parking close to a door to get him inside or outside quickly was very important for his comfort. A larger then normal size parking spot was also needed so that his life could be lowered and he could actually be helped out of the van.

        How would your friend in the wheelchair be able to get back into his vehicle if someone parked too close to his door? He wouldn't. And as he would likely have hand activated driving controls it's not like he could just have someone move his car for him. So I don't believe your friend does this or is as confined to a wheelchair as you imply.
        There are many disabled people who can walk or move in some fashion around a large "store" but still can't carry bags or push carts long distances.

        When I would head into a store or bank or shop while working for Gord I would consider whether or not it were best to use a handicapped spot. Considerations would include:
        1) How much time would Gord spend alone in the van (Gord was prone to seizures and had full time attendants as he could not be alone for long periods of time
        2) How many free handicapped spots were free. Not much sense in "stealing" a normal spot, forcing a healthy person to use an even further away spot while 4 handicapped spots were empty. Conversely, there was not much sense in using the last (or only) handicapped spot if there was a normal spot available within a reasonable distance.
        • by arth1 (260657)

          How would your friend in the wheelchair be able to get back into his vehicle if someone parked too close to his door? He wouldn't

          I can't speak for others, when someone parked too close, I have had to toss the chair in the rear hatch of the car and sit down on the ground and drag myself backwards with my hands to the driving seat. Very fun when there are puddles or ice. Once I even had to climb in the rear hatch of my (then) Honda and pull the wheelchair after me.[*]

          No, far from all wheelchair users would be able to do either. A minority, if I were to guess.

          [*] An asshole in a luxury car had parked in the shaded field right next t

      • It's not just about being closer to the building. Parking spaces for the disabled also tend to be wider to allow those with wheelchairs, crutches, and other aids to more easily exit their vehicle. If you can't find a space with an empty spot next to it, how is someone in a wheelchair supposed to get out of their car?

      • by phantomlord (38815) <<slashdot> <at> <krwtech.com>> on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:07AM (#38560778) Journal
        As I said on the Steve Jobs story a couple months ago, the biggest thing for me isn't so much where the spots are located as the simple fact that I need to make sure I have room to get a wheelchair between my vehicle and the one on my passenger side so I can transfer my disabled father into it. Handicapped spots are either wider or have markings between them to provide that room. If you think it's a pain in the ass when you come back to your car to find that someone has parked so close you can't open the door, try doing that with someone in a wheelchair. Worse, try do it in a busy parking lot (my dad's been sideswiped in his chair before despite the fact that he was wearing a bright red jacket.)

        As someone that frequently parks in handicapped spots, my area (Western NY*) seems to have an amazing lack of them. It's often difficult to find open spots at grocery stores, doctors offices, etc. A few times a month, I'll end up deliberately parking at the far side of the parking lot precisely so I'll have room for the wheelchair because the closer spots are all taken. I try not to be that dick that parks in a way that takes up two spaces, though every now and then in lots or fields without markings, I'm forced to do that too because of the desire for some drivers to park touching the mirror of the car next to them.

        * At one point, I think is was the American Fact Finder part of the census that listed this general area with a ridiculous amount of something like 37% of the population being classified as disabled. Granted, that's not all physical disabilities, but it stuck with me because the number seems so absurd. When it eclipses 50%, does being disabled become the norm with the super-abled being classified as the different ones?
      • by LordKronos (470910) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:20AM (#38560844) Homepage

        He also finds it ironic, that there are disabled parks near supermarkets and department stores, fundamentally the kinds of stores where you'll be covering quite a distance moving around a large complex, there's not really much effort saved by having a disabled park close to the door.

        Many such stores have scooters once you get inside. However, distance to the building is only one factor. People in wheelchairs, people bent over walkers, and people moving slowly tend to be more difficult to spot and are more likely to be hit by someone backing out of a spot. Minimizing the number of cars they have to pass minimizes the chances of them getting hit. These same people (well, except the wheelchair-bound) are also more likely to fall and injure themselves on slippery pavement, so a shorter distance is safer there too. Some people's illnesses may make them more sensitive to heat and cold, so it's best to get them into the climate controlled environment as quickly as possible. I'm sure there are other reasons, too.

      • by arth1 (260657) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:36AM (#38560914) Homepage Journal

        You and your healthy wheelchair user friend are in error, on several accounts.
        It's much harder to use a wheelchair outdoors than indoors. On plain floors, good chairs pretty much roll themselves. Outdoors, not so much.
        My latest wheelchair had front wheels the size of (actually, they were) rollerblade wheels. Any outdoor rolling had to be done on the rear wheels only. Once indoor, though, I was as nimble as anyone else.

        Then there are people who tire easily. You can take a break inside in the store. Not so much in the parking lot, between well-meaners and drivers who back up without seeing someone lower than their car. And if on crutches or just hard of walking, are you OK with them resting against em your car, setting off the alarm?

        Risk of being run over is also a problem if you're just very slow due to your handicap. If it takes you ten minutes to walk to the front door, and you can't jump out of the way of cars that don't see you, it's by far safer to park up front.

        Then you are also wrong in assuming that all the handicapped traverse the entire store. Many of them go to the service desk and get assistance, some because the store is too big for them to handle with their handicap, and some because they can't reach what's on the top three levels of the shelves anyhow.
        In some cases, I went to the service counter because the stores had aisles and check-out spaces made for narrow shopping carts, and not modern wheelchairs with cambered wheels.
        When I was on crutches, it was also pretty difficult. I could push a cart around in the store, but across a parking lot where the cart may take off due to gravity? No chance in hell. Would you rather I asked a clerk to help me get my groceries to the handicap parking right by the entrance, or spend 10 minutes walking with me across the parking lot?

        Strange as it may sound, handicapped people are often just as insensitive as able bodied people, and sometimes even more so. Just because they have no problems traversing a big parking lot, they may think others who don't do so are lazy, without considering that they might not be as abled as them.

    • by reboot246 (623534) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:01AM (#38560734) Homepage
      The other day I caught a handicapped person parking in one of OUR parking spaces, and I beat the shit out of him.

      Just kidding. I've been unable to walk without difficulty (before my hip replacements), and those handicap spaces were a godsend. Stay out of them if you don't need them!
    • by hrvatska (790627)
      What I've noticed is that different types of establishments are more likely to have their handicapped spots utilized than others. The grocery store I frequent and the big box retailers like Target or Walmart are more likely to have people using their handicap spaces than a hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes. But even still, I do frequently notice people in the handicapped spaces at Home Depot and Lowes, so it's not like they're not used, just usually not filled. But just like the number of non-disabl
    • by skegg (666571) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:44AM (#38560972)

      As a healthy, able-bodied driver I have often noticed vacant spots that are designated for the disabled.

      And I thank God that I am a healthy, able-bodied driver who doesn't need to use those spots. I don't mind walking the extra 50m, 100m, 200m, ...

      For crying out loud, just:

      1. imagine the mall / shopping centre didn't provide parking spots for another 50 metres
      2. think of the extra walking distance as incidental exercise
      3. consider how useful it is for someone who needs to use those spots
      4. be thankful you don't need to use those spots

  • Steve Jobs (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 01, 2012 @11:14PM (#38560470)

    Good thing Steve Jobs (infamous handicap parking spot taker) is gone before this could come to the states.

    • by TheLink (130905) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @11:31PM (#38560542) Journal
      Steve Jobs was born with an impaired conscience you insensitive clod!
  • now with there was 1 common tag that was easy to get in all citys and was easy to use in rented cars then that's ok but to say some from a city with out a electronic tag is parking improperly is not a good idea. Why should some have to go out of there way just to visit a different city?

    • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @11:36PM (#38560564) Homepage

      You're jumping to conclusions. No electronic tag = attendant notified = attendant checks it out, a fine isn't automatically issued.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      now with there was 1 common tag that was easy to get in all citys and was easy to use in rented cars then that's ok but to say some from a city with out a electronic tag is parking improperly is not a good idea. Why should some have to go out of there way just to visit a different city?

      It's a means to identify someone who may be parked there illegally. If the traffic cop comes by and see's a legitimate non-electronic tag i doubt he/she is going to write a ticket.

      It's only going to become a problem in phase 2 when sharp spikes leap out of the ground and puncture the tyres of cars without an electronic tag.

      • by rohan972 (880586) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @11:54PM (#38560690)

        It's only going to become a problem in phase 2 when sharp spikes leap out of the ground and puncture the tyres of cars without an electronic tag.

        No need to go for the tyres, go for the feet. That way, you know they are now disabled, no need for a ticket.

      • Traffic cop? you say that like you don't know New Zealand councils hire private companies to patrol the streets handing out tickets for commission.
  • by rts008 (812749) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @11:30PM (#38560540) Journal

    I hope this works, then goes global.

    • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmai l . c om> on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:17AM (#38560824) Homepage

      The simple answer is just to use fines. No really. Violations of this really aren't a huge problem for instance in Canada, they do happen but ask yourself. If you get caught, is a $5k first offence worth it? Is a $10k second offence worth it? That includes using fake, and placards that are not for the person. In most places that I've seen across the US, and other places the fines are pathetic. $100, 200, and so on.

      • The simple answer is just to use fines. No really. Violations of this really aren't a huge problem for instance in Canada, they do happen but ask yourself. If you get caught, is a $5k first offence worth it? Is a $10k second offence worth it? That includes using fake, and placards that are not for the person. In most places that I've seen across the US, and other places the fines are pathetic. $100, 200, and so on.

        Not sure what part of Canada you're in, but in Ontario the fine for parking in a handicapped spot without a permit is $305. I know, because my mother has a permit, and has had to go to city hall on several occasions to fight the fine when some idiot cop "didn't see" it or thought it was a fake. For that reason alone, I hope that this proposed system works... the permits are international, so it'll still create hassle for international travellers, but if it gives the locals an ability to have a transponder o

  • people in wheelchairs needs the bigger spaces to have to room to get out of the car.

  • If they're parked in a handicapped spot and aren't really handicapped, just break their leg! There! Now they're handicapped and can park there! Problem solved!
  • by inshreds (1813596) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:19AM (#38560838)
    Reading comments so far on this thread with people arguing about actual need for “walking disabled” parking spaces, I realize that this is just one of those topics you cannot possibly truly comprehend without being a disabled person. Sure, I understand that many parking spots may go unused and the there are of course those that abuse the system. However, there are also a large number of people, like me, that really need this kind of parking system. Nothing sucks more than trying to unload a 300 pound electric wheelchair when boxed in by two SUVs so close the doors cannot open. In addition, nothing sucks more than having to traipse across a large parking lot looking for a lost car when ever step you take puts you in excruciating pain. In fact, without this reserved parking system, I simply would not be able to go many places or partake in many activities. Even on a good day, it really is a confidence booster to know that if something goes wrong and I need to exit in a hurry that my car is right out front.

    This walking disabled parking system, while maybe not perfect, is in place to serve those that actually need it. Thus, the bottom line is that while you may not understand or agree with enforcement actions such as those now being enacted in New Zealand, there are many people with a legitimate need that will indeed benefit from it.
  • by grimsnaggle (1320777) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:28AM (#38560886)

    I propose cameras pointed in to toilet stalls with 24/7 monitoring to ensure that handicapped toilet stalls aren't abused by those able-bodied assholes. We'll also need to amend the building code to increase the total number of available stalls to ensure that the population is appropriately served.

    I was on the building planning committee for a new building at Stanford. The bathrooms are comically large because of handicap access requirements. Despite consuming 800 square feet, there are only six total stalls. The same building also has two handicapped parking spots out front, out of four parking spots total.

    Given that the population served is, on average, 22 years old and in excellent health, these measures seem inappropriate. Things would be completely different if this were a retirement home.

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      There is a huge difference between parking places and toilet stalls. Parking spaces are designated for disabled people because that allow access to the buildings and it is against the law for someone without a disabled parking permit to park there. Toilet stall are about accommodating disabilities and providing access to needed facilities. There is no law against an able bodied person using a stall that is designed for disabled access. The main difference being that a disabled person can wait their turn for

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday January 02, 2012 @09:58AM (#38562856) Journal

    You'd think by this time we could spend our efforts making better use of these spaces? Instead of a system that automatically watches and simply penalizes people who use these spots, how about a system that works on the opportunity-cost model? It would
    a) monitor these parking places
    b) if a valid handicap parking-user shows up and there are no spots available, anyone parked in them gets tagged and fined.

    We've all been at shopping centers where there are dozens if not scores of empty handicap spots available, even during the crazy-busy shopping days at Christmas.

    This would make these (generally unused) spots available for the sort of high-demand, short "I'm only going to be in there for 5 mins" things" BUT ALSO strongly penalize people who use them for anything more IF there is a valid handicap space user that needs it...

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