When Glenda Standeven sees a car parked in a handicap space without a proper sign, she doesn’t cause a ruckus or wait for the culprit to come back so she can yell at them.
Instead, she writes a note.
Crackdown on able-bodied drivers using disabled spots in B.C.
“Oops! You forgot to hang up your handicapped sign. I’m sure you’re not one of those rude, thoughtless, insensitive people who use these spots just for their own convenience,” reads the sign.
“This is a just a friendly reminder to hang your sign next time. From one disabled person to another.”
Standeven, who lost her right leg to cancer nearly three decades ago, says it’s a much better way of dealing with an all-too common problem.
“It’s more of a gentle approach. I think that’s one of the things that appeals to people. It’s not so aggressive, and it’s not returning rudeness for rudeness.”
In 2013, Vancouver issued 214 disabled parking violation tickets, while Surrey issued 254. While disputes over handicap spots flare up from time to time in every city, Jane Dyson of Disability Alliance BC says it’s not an issue that can be easily addressed.
“Most of these disabled parking spots are actually in private lots. Really it’s up to the mall management or business management to enforce the parking rules. That can be challenging for them,” she says.
B.C.’s regulations around handicap parking spots lag behind other provinces in Canada, according to Lorraine Copas, Executive Director for SPARC BC. Ontario requires four handicap spaces for every 100 units in residential parking lots, while B.C. just requires one.
She’s hopeful the province begins making more changes to help a growing part of B.C.’s driving population.
“We’re hoping they’re going to start addressing these issues. We’re looking at doubling and tripling of the senior population, and those are the ones who do have health and mobility challenges,” she said