10 Handicap Parking Rules and Guidelines for Car Drivers
In a busy urban city like Toronto, finding a good parking spot can be difficult. There are numerous parking providers that offer spaces across the city, but there is often more demand than available supply. Finding a parking spot becomes even more difficult when you are looking for handicap parking spots.
Handicap parking in Toronto and other Canadian cities come with certain rules and conduct expectations. As someone who may be using a handicap parking permit, otherwise known as accessible parking permits, it is integral that you know the rules to handicap parking as well as what’s allowed and what isn’t under one of these permits.
Below are ten handicap parking rules and guidelines for car drivers to remember:
1. Does it cost anything to obtain a permit?
Handicap parking permits are free of charge for those eligible. To obtain one, an individual isn’t expected to own a vehicle or even have a driver’s license themselves. In fact, an accessible parking permit can be obtained by someone with a disability and provided to their driver.
Currently, permits are provided to those permanently disabled with a renewal date of five years and those temporarily disabled with a re-assessment planned in twelve months’ time.
2. Who is eligible for handicap parking?
If you are unable to walk without assistance or have to use a wheelchair to get around, an accessible parking permit is available to you. Other individuals who qualify include those with impaired vision, anyone requiring oxygen or with limited lung capacity, if there’s advanced cardiovascular disease, and others.
If you are unsure whether a condition is eligible or not, a medical practitioner recognized by the Accessible Parking Permit Program would have the answer.
3. A permit belongs to the person and not the vehicle
When someone receives their parking permit, it is attached to the individual. Unlike some other parking permits, accessible parking can be transferred between vehicles.
This is so that multiple vehicles don’t need to be provided their own parking permit, to avoid unnecessary paperwork or complications in obtaining permits, and to make it possible for someone transporting a handicapped person to have the parking benefits transferred to their vehicle.
4. The importance of displaying the permit
When a vehicle is parked, the handicap parking permit must be displayed so that it is fully visible. Should you receive a parking ticket or there be a parking-related dispute, if your permit isn’t adequately displayed, this complicates as to whether you have a right to use these spaces or not.
5. Where can I use my handicap parking permit?
Someone with a handicap parking permit is allowed to use it not only in designated handicap parking spaces but in areas where parking is usually prohibited. This may sound like a permit holder can park anywhere but there are still some locations – such as rush hour routes – where parking isn’t permitted.
Any streets designated with ‘permit parking only’, exempt drivers may continue to park here as part of the handicap parking rules.
6. What about when parking is time-sensitive?
Across many inner city streets, you will see parking only allowed between certain hours and/or limited to a certain length of time. Permit holders can park in these spaces and don’t have to abide by time restrictions. This allows a handicap parking permit holder a level of freedom that can makes it significantly easier for them to live, explore, and enjoy the city.
7. Do you still need to pay for parking at the meter?
Another bonus to handicap parking permits is that it means you are no longer require to pay at parking meters or on-street pay parking machines. For this to be applicable however, one must have their permit fully displayed. If it’s not displayed, your vehicle becomes eligible for a ticket and/or the same parking rules for non-permit holders apply.
8. Where handicap parking permits are not valid
Though a permit opens up where and how you can park in some very big ways, there are still areas where a driver’s not allowed to use for parking. Any areas labelled as emergency, fire, or snow routes are off-limits, as are any spaces on a bridge.
As is similar to general parking rules, a permit holder isn’t allowed to park their vehicle while blocking any fire hydrant, driveway, or intersection. Any area with a ‘no standing or stopping’, a taxi area, or a loading zone is also prohibited. To all these points, you are still expected to adhere to standard safe driving and parking rules.
9. Can someone else use my handicap parking permit?
No, a permit is tied direct to the individual. If the vehicle isn’t being used in a pick-up, drop-off, or to transport the holder of the permit, it cannot be used. A permit holder cannot lend out their parking permit to another nor can a person use it without the assigned holder in the car with them.
Let’s say a wife and husband live together, and the wife has an accessible parking permit. The husband cannot use it to go to work, run errands, and do groceries without his wife in the vehicle with him.
10. Rules vary per city
If you live in Toronto and obtain a handicap parking permit knowing what the rules are in your home city, if you travel to let’s say Ottawa, you may encounter similar rules but with slight modifications. If you are making a big trip to a city outside of the GTA, it might not hurt to read online what the handicap parking rules are for that specific geographic region.