What is the worst automotive sin? Stancing? Rolling Coal? I think around these parts we can all agree that asshat parking, especially in handicapped spaces ranks pretty high on the list.
I take this stuff kind of personal because I have a wife who is a wheelchair user and has a ramp-van. She is dependent upon those spots to be able to actually go out and do things. So when people park inside the lines or take up handicapped spots illegally it gets to me, especially when we have to park elsewhere and this happens . I know it gets to most of you as well regardless of whether or not you are disabled or know someone with a disability.
But what is to be done about it? We could get revenge (no recommended). We could call the police and hope they get a ticket or towed (not likely to happen). We could post their picture on the internet and shame them (makes us feel good, but doesn't seem to be terribly effective). Or we could look a little deeper at the root cause.
While I was holiday shopping this weekend I had 3 separate encounters with people who attempted to park in the lines too close to our van. I was fortunate enough to catch them and say something like, "Excuse me mam/sir...you see we have van with a ramp and when you park in the lines the ramp can't open without hitting your car. And then my wife can't get out." What surprised me is that all three encounters were with nice folks who responded with, "Oh I'm sorry I had no idea that is what those lines where for." They promptly moved their vehicle. Now perhaps I just encountered a special population this time of year who is both nice and clueless. But it got me thinking...what if some asshat parking did not arise out of arrogance but rather ignorance? What if most people honestly had no clue that those blue lines had a specific purpose? I like to believe in the good in people (again maybe it's the time of year) and I want to believe that if more people understood why those blue lines where there, maybe we could cut down on the incidents of asshatery.
I propose we do a little informal survey this holiday season when we are talking with family and friends (or strangers). I need your help to ask folks-
"Hey do you know what those blue lines in the parking lots are for?"
I am genuinely curious how many people really know. Report back here with your findings.
-Tell me how many people you asked
-Tell me how many of them were not aware of the purpose of those blue lines
-What state you live in
Do I think our efforts will put a stop to this behavior? Probably not. But the conversations you have with people will increase awareness and if it turns out that most people are truly clueless perhaps we can take it to another level. We could proposition state governments to add a question or two to the driver's test (at least we could make the next generation a little smarter) or maybe some kind of PSA could be in order.
The Jalopnik community has had a great history of getting behind some good causes. This is something that we all get fired up about, maybe it is time we take some positive action.