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Knoxville woman asks drivers to be mindful when parking next to accessible spaces

Drivers continuously parking over van-accessible space lines are causing frustration for some families.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Knoxville woman is pleading for people to be mindful when they park next to accessible parking spots. A post she made on social media is being shared quickly, with people echoing her frustrations.

It shows a young girl in a wheelchair unable to get into her minivan because of an SUV that parked over the lines into an accessible parking spot. She said others' poor parking makes it difficult to get wheelchairs in and out of vehicles. 

"Just don't be in a hurry. Think of others before yourself, even the smallest detail can cause so many issues," said Rebekah Malone who has been helping take care of Kenzie Rudder for 2 years.

She drives a specific vehicle that’s able to fit Rudder’s wheelchair. But over time, getting to their destinations has gotten trickier as people continue disregarding the lines of parking spots, crossing over into van-accessible space.

“It happens about once a week if not twice a week for us anyway," she said.

She hangs out with Rudder multiple times a week. Sometimes they go to the mall, movies or to a park.

Malone needs enough room to let out a three-foot ramp for Rudder's wheelchair and can need even more space to help Rudder in or out of the car. They first have to swing her out so she faces the ramp and then they help her go up it into the van.

In Malone’s social media post, she shows an all-too-familiar sight of a person taking up too much room and not enough being left to enter their own car, due to another driver’s poor parking. 

Credit: Rebekah Malone

“It makes it very difficult and is a safety hazard for Kenzie because I have to pull her as close to a curb or vehicle as possible to get her out of traffic. In that case, I take the van into the road and pull it out and try to load her up," said Malone. 

She wants people to realize that the way they park matters. It can affect others who can't climb through small gaps into their cars.

“We want people to be more intentional and mindful about their parking and just actions in general," she said.

Taking a few seconds to repark has the potential to save a lot of time and hassle for those that need the space.

"If Kenzie and I got $1 every time someone parked over the line we would have enough to buy our own Porsche," she also wrote in the social media post.

If Kenzie and I got $1 every time someone parked over the line we would have enough to buy our own Porsche. Seriously...

Posted by Rebekah Malone on Wednesday, June 2, 2021