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Disabled Parking Permit story hit a nerve

Confusion and frustration still reign on this topic, readers say

Published August 6, 2013
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A recent Wheels.ca article on Accessible Parking Permits (APP) really hit a nerve with readers.  Here’s what some of you had to say:

“An APP is issued to a person, not a vehicle, so I don’t see how you could lawfully use one while parking without the person inside.

When I obtained an APP for my husband, the clerk warned that I couldn’t drop him at the door, and then park, as I’d be risking a fine.

Check your facts before you break the law again.”

Eric Lai responds: The fact is no laws were broken.  A company or non-profit organization, such as the Red Cross, where I volunteered for a decade, that transports people with physical disabilities can also be a permit holder.

Toronto Police Sgt. Phil Worrell confirms that drivers may drop the disabled person at the door and then park using an APP if they’ll be accompanying the person (otherwise, use regular parking).  A driver picking up a disabled person may use that person’s APP, or a company APP, to park.

Note that disabled parking rules vary widely throughout the province, so your clerk’s advice might be correct in your area (or not).  Some regions allow free on-street parking, use of “no parking” zones, etc., but others don’t.

In Niagara Falls, it’s a violation if the permit holder doesn’t exit the parked vehicle while a helper runs an errand for them.  But, in Toronto, a quick coffee run is allowed, for example.

Before travelling, check APP rules online or by phone with each municipality.

Here are some other comments readers had:

  • “When my sister and I get wheelchairs at airports, we often get ‘that look’ from others.  She has arthritis, while I have poor circulation and can’t walk the long corridors. These are “hidden disabilities” the public doesn’t see.  Thank you for explaining this.”
  • “I once ran back to the car, parked in a disabled spot, to retrieve something for my disabled dad.  As I did this, someone said I was ‘cheating.’ Please, everyone, don’t jump to conclusions.  You may not know the whole story.”

“It seems egregious, but my 996 Porsche Turbo sometimes occupies a disabled space. I’m in my 60s with congenital knee problems.  I look fine, but can’t walk far. Once, a young lady commented I shouldn’t be there as her disabled dad needed such spaces.  I showed her my APP, explained my situation, and she apologized with sincerity. Your story was spot on for me.”

  • “I was scolded last year for not looking disabled.  The accuser didn’t see that I’d dropped my mom, frail from a brain tumour, at the door and then parked the car.  (She has since passed away.) Thank you for educating readers.  Karma will bite real cheaters one day.”
  • “I was one of those people who judged others that looked like they abused APPs.  You helped me understand why I shouldn’t be irate with them.  Sorry for the loss of your young friend, and thank you for opening my eyes.”

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