Has your health changed and now you are registered as a handicap but aren’t sure how to negotiate this new world? Perhaps you have received your handicap placard and don’t know what you are entitled to?
Maybe you have been struggling to find free parking spaces in your city and want to know if you have to pay for parking meters? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!
We know how confusing it can be to figure out where you can and can’t park for free, especially if you have mobility issues. You want to be as close to your destination as possible, without needing to pay high prices.
And while most places offer blue bay parking for you to use, many places still have pricey parking meters.
You wonder if you can park there for free or not and how you might go about doing this. You start to search for the answers, but no matter what you do, you can’t seem to find the right answers.
Frustrated, you start avoiding these spaces, missing out on attending your favorite places and life becomes harder than it already is.
Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers you need. Keep reading to find out if you need to pay for parking meters and where you can park for free. Get ready to become a parking expert today!
What Is A Parking Meter?
Before we jump into the article, let’s have a quick recap for those in the room that need it! A parking meter is a device used for traffic enforcement. You will find them by parking on streets and in parking lots.
These devices are how you will pay for your car to be parked in the space for a set amount of time, say three hours for example.
Parking meters tend to be capped, meaning the space can only be used by the motorist for a set amount of time. The time is usually given in hours and should be stated on the parking meter when you arrive.
Failing to pay at a parking meter or staying in the space after your ticket has expired is grounds for a parking ticket.
These are either attached to your vehicle or will arrive in the post. Failure to pay these fines on time can result in court hearings or your debt being passed to a third-party debt collector.
Parking meters are in many cities across the country and can be the traditional box shape meter for an individual space, or a pay and display set up that covers multiple spaces.
It’s these meters that we typically see in larger parking lots rather than a meter for a single space.
If the meter covers multiple spaces, be sure to make a note of your car parking space as you might need to enter this information into the machine. These days, you can pay with a range of methods including cash, transit tokens, or credit cards.
The payment methods will always be listed on the meter for you to see. Some meters run by private car parking companies will also allow you to pay online or through a mobile app. Again, this information will be visible in the parking lot or on the website for the parking lot.
Now that we have covered what a parking meter is, let’s move on to see if disabled people need to pay to park in these spaces.
Do Handicap Pay For Parking Meters?
Let’s get straight into it! Whether handicapped or disabled people pay for parking meters varies depending on their county or state. In some states, free parking is offered for handicapped drivers when parking at parking meters.
To qualify for this, it is best to check with your city or state to see what you need to do. Often, you will just need a disabled permit and this should help you avoid an incorrect fine. There are some cases though where a fine is issued, but proving that you are entitled to park there for free will resolve this issue quickly.
Each state has a different rule for handicap parking in parking meter spaces, so it’s best to check with your state rules before parking in the space and not paying for parking.
You can find out this information easily online, or you can speak to a state official working in a disability or parking department.
States like New York do not allow you to park for free in parking meter spaces within New York City, but there are waivers you can apply for that will grant you access to these spaces.
Parking meter spaces can often be the closest parking spaces to shops and pharmacies, so it’s always worth seeing if you can apply for one of these waivers.
Other states like Hawaii have recently removed free permit parking for those with handicap placards and special license plates but instead, have created a new permit.
The new permit, known as the ‘disabled paid parking exemption permit’ is available to those with a valid driver’s license and a physical disability that would prevent them from reaching the meter, operating it, or unattended pay stations.
This new permit allows you to park at a meter for free within the first two and a half hours. After this time, you will be required to pay for parking. The free time limit should give you enough time to visit a store or attend an appointment without needing to worry about the cost of parking.
To qualify for this permit, you will also need a physician or advanced practice registered nurse to complete and sign the second page of the application. They will need to certify that you qualify for the permit before it is approved.
This permit is available for those residing in Hawaii, but similar schemes exist in other states. As each state sets its own rules and regulations about paying for parking meters, it is best to check with your DMV office or speak to a disability officer in your state.
Along with many states allowing you to park in parking meter spaces for free, you can also be exempt from the time exemptions too. This does vary from state to state, but places like California allow you to park in permit spaces without paying and stay as long as needed.
This exemption to the time limit is ideal for those with mobility issues that need extra time to complete tasks. You don’t need to worry about spending a little longer in a store or paying a bill at the bank, instead, you can take your time and not stress about the parking.
The requirement for most states is that you have a handicap placard displayed in your vehicle at all times. If you have someone drive you, like a relative or carer, they will need the placard to be exempt from the parking also.
Where Can I Park For Free?
Along with parking in parking meter spaces for free, those with a handicap placard can park in designated spaces for free on streets or in parking lots. These spaces are usually known as handicap spaces and will be marked in blue.
You can usually find these spaces next to the entrance or exit of parking lots or near elevators if they are part of malls.
The spaces tend to be larger than a standard car parking space, allowing extra room for you to open the doors and remove wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walking sticks, or other walking aids.
You can usually find a good amount of handicapped spaces too, meaning you should not struggle to park your vehicle.
Be sure to have your disabled placard with you, though, as without it you will be expected to pay for the car parking and could be liable for a fine too. If you ever do misplace your placard, you must have it replaced immediately.
You don’t want to miss out on free parking or end up with fines. You can contact your local DMV to have a replacement arranged, but be mindful that there can sometimes be a fee for a replacement.
Thankfully, you can make the most out of these free spaces, making travel more accessible for those that need to move around their city or state.
And with plenty of states adding more disabled space parking, you are sure to find a space to park your car.
And those that park in handicapped parking spaces without a placard, can expect to receive a fine for doing so. These spaces are only to be used by those that need them, so as tempting as it can be to park there for a few minutes, we strongly urge you not to.
While it can be frustrating to have to drive past empty disabled spaces, these are designated for those that need them and should not be used otherwise.
And there you have it, most states offer free parking for handicapped people in parking meter spaces. To qualify, you will need your blue placard and must keep this in the car at all times.
While some states have removed this exemption, you can still find plenty of cities and states that allow you to park your vehicle in a parking meter space for free.
You can also use a blue space with your placard for free too and are usually exempt from any time restrictions placed on parking spaces.
If you want to know more about the requirements in your state, it is best to speak directly with your DMV office as they will have the most accurate information for you.