Parking in the Big “Blue Space”

Handicap parking spots exist by law to be used by disabled persons. Sometimes it is a matter of convenience so those with difficulty walking have less far to walk. Other times, it is a necessity because people cannot walk. Typically the extra wide spaces are needed for vans but not always. Occasionally a car door must be opened the full width and a wheel chair moved in from a wider angle than is possible without damaging the vehicle in the adjoining spot. Note, because you, your relative, or a friend once legitimately needed a handicap hang tag but the medical condition has improved or no longer exists, the placard may no longer be used to snag convenient spots. It is not legal; it is not right.

I am well aware that appearances can be deceptive. I had a friend and colleague who had a brain tumor. Thankfully, the surgery was successful. She could walk and appeared able bodied, however, walking more than a short distance was dangerous and not possible. She didn’t appear to need the handicap spot but she actually did for a period of time. I observed something recently that I cannot for the life of me figure out was a legitimate use of a handicap placard and spot.

We attended a lecture at a facility we enjoy. As we’ve learned to do, we arrived early to get a handicap spot that would accommodate my needs. Upon arrival, I noticed a woman was already in the most prime spot, hung a tag on the rearview mirror, popped out of the car, and walked in what I can only describe as a perky walk into the facility. This place has a delightful hors d’oeuvre setup when members arrive. When we went into the auditorium to find a seat, this woman was already seated along the center aisle toward the front. During the time prior to the lecture, she popped up no less than four times to move to the back and refill her plate or glass or dispose of her things. Each of these times, she proceeded in her perky manner. Immediately after the Q/A session ended, she jumped up and quickly maneuvered through others down the aisle and out the building. By time we got to our car, she was leaving the parking lot. Now, perhaps, she had a legitimate need for that spot set aside near the entrance and wide enough for handicap access to the vehicle. I certainly saw no sign of it. If she once had a legitimate medical need, I’m so happy she appears to have improved to this point.

It is wise to know the rules for the blue spaces:

If you have a disability parking placard or license plate:

  • You must either be the driver or a passenger of the vehicle to park in a disability parking “blue space.”
  • Don’t park on the blue striped lines needed by vans with wheelchair lifts or ramps.
  • Disability parking anywhere in the U.S. is available to you.
  • Hang the placard from the rearview mirror. (Remove when driving.)
  • NOTE: Vehicles with a disabled veteran plate need to use a disability-parking placard or obtain a red handicap sticker for their disabled veteran license plate to park in a “blue space.”

It is against the law to:

  • Loan your disability placard to another person.
  • Knowingly use a disability placard that has been canceled or replaced.
  • Use a disability placard or plate when the disability no longer exists.
  • Use the disability placard or license plate of a deceased family member.
  • Copy, alter, or forge a disability placard or license plate.


Penalties may include fines as high as $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail.

People are encouraged by the MI Secretary of State (SOS) to report violations to the local police. I for one will happily report infractions. You may choose to as well.

* The “blue space” rules comes from MI SOS but the fines and jail time vary by state and reflect the research I have done.

Count your blessings.

Shalom, Collene


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sue Winkel
    Nov 12, 2015 @ 13:57:22

    Great information, Collene. I too have seen people grab the “prime” spot and dance into a store or venue while I circle with Delton trying to find a spot that will make accessibility easy for him. It’s frustrating and a bit of a challenge to remain non judgmental. Thanks for sharing and reminding everyone regarding guidelines for handicapped parking.



  2. Maureen
    Nov 12, 2015 @ 15:30:56




  3. Elly
    Nov 12, 2015 @ 21:02:59

    Thank you for the tutorial. Persons who once had a need, but no longer do, and continue to use a former benefit may not know how difficult they make life for those who do need the accommodation.



  4. Flora
    Nov 12, 2015 @ 22:29:33

    You are so right Collene. Those handicapped spots belong to people who have a need to be closer to an entrance of a facility.



  5. Ellie Murray
    Nov 13, 2015 @ 11:41:29

    I hope you reported that lady Ellie From: FastHugs To: Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2015 11:51 AM Subject: [New post] Parking in the Big “Blue Space” #yiv8491768194 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8491768194 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8491768194 a.yiv8491768194primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8491768194 a.yiv8491768194primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8491768194 a.yiv8491768194primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8491768194 a.yiv8491768194primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8491768194 | FastHugs posted: “Handicap parking spots exist by law to be used by disabled persons. Sometimes it is a matter of convenience so those with difficulty walking have less far to walk. Other times, it is a necessity because people cannot walk. Typically the extra wide spaces ” | |



  6. debbidoo1
    Nov 14, 2015 @ 01:10:32

    I needed a close spot for my mom at our local hospital and we had a placard. Just as I was about to pull into the handicap spot in the first row, to take her wheelchair out and head into the hospital, a woman pulled into it and parked. She hopped out and jogged into the hospital. She was a hospital employee. She did not have a handicapped placard. I assume she was just running in for something quickly and grabbed the handicap spot because the lot was very full. I drove around and dropped my mother, in her wheelchair, at the front door and found a spot in the next lot over. When I walked past the employees car, I took out my red lipstick and drew a big red X on her windshield. I hope it took her a long time to wipe it off and I hope she had to do it with her clothes. My mother was dying of cancer and I had to leave her by the front door alone, when she needed me to be with her. It made me angry.

    I think you absolutely should report people who abuse the placards and who take spots that belong to those of you who really need it.



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