As someone with a handicap parking permit, it’s imperative that you follow all of the rules of the road, the same as any other driver out there. However, some parking rules are not always completely clear – so it can be tricky to make sure you’re not breaking any laws, whether you’re on city streets or in a residential area. You might be asking the question, “Can police enforce handicap parking on private property?” The answer to that is a little tricky, so read on for more info!

What are the laws for handicap parking?

There are some straightforward regulations for disabled parking permit holders. These include always clearly displaying your placard when you’re parked in a handicap parking place; removing the placard from your rearview mirror when your vehicle is in motion; and never lending out your placard to family and friends. Disabled parking permits must be kept completely up-to-date and should be renewed based on your specific state’s regulations (since the length of time before they expire varies by state).

Typically, handicap permit owners are also permitted to park:

  • In blue zones or designated handicap parking spaces (typically marked by a wheelchair symbol).
  • In green zones (usually marked with specific time limits).
  • In metered parking areas (some areas allow you to park without a time limit and/or for free if you have a handicap placard).
  • In residential permit parking areas (even if you don’t have a permit).
  • In parking spots with time limits (sometimes without needing to adhere to the limit).
Disabled Parking - no parking
Image by Dmitri Houtteman on Unsplash: Pay attention to all posted parking signs, even in residential areas.

Even with a handicap parking permit, you are not allowed to park:

  • In red zones or by red curbs.
  • In no-stopping or no-parking zones.
  • In loading zones for commercial vehicles only (usually marked in white).
  • During commuter tow-away hours.
  • During hours when street cleaning takes place.

It’s important to remember that many parking restrictions vary from state to state and even from city to city. This means that regulations can differ widely, and you should make sure you research that particular area before you park in a handicap parking zone or before you disregard any posted signs.

Are private premises required to have handicapped parking places?

This is another question that deals with a gray area of parking regulations. If a business, retail location, or public setting is open to the general public, most states require them to have at least some designated handicap parking places (some with even more spaces depending on how big the lot is). However, if you’re talking about a residential space or a private property owned by an individual, they are not required to provide handicap parking for disabled individuals.

So can police order disabled parking on a private premises? The answer depends. If a business or public institution offers access to the public, the police can fully enforce local laws protecting disabled individuals’ rights – like the right to accessible parking. In some cities, business owners might even face sanctions or fines if they’re not abiding by local regulations for handicap drivers. On the other hand, if you have a private property that is only for residential use, then the police can’t really demand you install any handicap parking spaces.

Disabled Parking - handicap parking sign
Image by AbsolutVision on Unsplash: Take advantage of designated handicap parking places when you can for easy access.

What can you do to ensure you’re following the laws for handicap parking?

To ensure you’re always following the law to the letter, consider calling your local police department to ask, “Can you enforce handicapped parking on private property?” A member of the police force or of local parking enforcement can likely inform you of the particular regulations in that area. If you’re concerned that somewhere near you isn’t providing the necessary handicap parking places disabled drivers might require, they can look into whether they need to investigate that specific entity for complying with disability laws. If you just want to make sure your residence doesn’t need to install handicapped parking places, they can also provide you with that information.

No matter where you live, local police have the authority to ticket or fine anyone not in compliance with current laws. Their goal is always to provide the community with accessible parking that makes it easy for everyone (but especially individuals with disabilities) to get around and enjoy all of the city’s amenities. Don’t be afraid to reach out to law enforcement or the businesses themselves if you think there’s room for improvement in providing accessible parking.

It’s also important to remember that you should adhere to all posted signs when you decide to park anywhere – but especially in a private parking lot, parking garage, or residential area. It’s always better to err on the side of caution versus getting a ticket or getting towed. If you try to comply with parking regulations, you’re much less likely to have any problems.

Featured image by Utility_Inc on Pixabay