Group asks Quebecers to think before they park
You would think with a handicapped decal on his front windshield, Jacques Comeau wouldn’t have to worry about finding parking.
But it can be a struggle.
Sometimes, even the handicapped spots aren’t wide enough for him to use the lift he needs to get out of the car.
So he ends up circling the lot, looking for two open spots that are side-by-side so he can get in and out of the van.
And even if he finds two handicapped spaces together and is able to get out of the van, getting back in when he’s ready to leave can be another fight.
“The problem is if you go to a busy mall on the weekend and park at the end spot. When you come back someone may have parked illegally which happens a lot. There's no guarantee,” he said.
Comeau said he understands not everyone thinks it through when they decide to park in those special parking spots.
“They don't know, if you're not involved in it you don't understand it you need to know. Before I was disabled I didn't know half of these things either,” he said.
And that's why MEMO-Quebec, a group that offers services to Quebecers living with a disability, commissioned a video to help people understand their challenges.
Called “just two minutes,” it tells the story of a harried couple running errands who take a handicapped parking spot.
Since posting the video on YouTube, Nicolas Messier of Memo Quebec says it's taken off.
“One thing you got to understand is a person in a wheelchair is really really low, the height of a 5, 6-year-old child, he said.
“And in big parking lots when you move around in there, people can't see us because we're almost lower than the cars.”
That point is illustrated in the video. The couple pulls into the parking spot -- – “just for two minutes,” they say.
Meanwhile, a handicapped driver has to take a spot at the end of the lot so he has space to get out.
On his way toward the store, another driver backs into him.
The video is designed to get people thinking about the consequences of forcing people who need those spots to park further away.
Messier drives, and relies on an extra set of eyes and ears – his service dog – to spot any potential danger while he’s out.
But he says that no matter what kind of wheels one drives, designated parking is about more than convenience.
“Parking is not a privilege, it's social integration too. If we're not able to park somewhere or it's too far sometimes it could mean we're not able to do what we want to do.”