Handicap Signs - ISA

Okay, you may have experienced this dilemma a few times in your life. You are in a mall, or an office building, and you find yourself needing to answer the call of nature. You find the bathroom, and you then realize that the only empty cubicle is the one marked with a handicap sign. What do you do? Should you use this cubicle or wait for one other stall to clear up? Are bathroom cubicles with handicap signs on them only for those with disabilities, or are you allowed to use these as well?

This particular predicament can bring about debates and discussions about how these stalls were made for those with disabilities, and akin to parking spaces made exclusively for people with disabilities, should only be used by those who are in fact disabled. What some people may not realize is that the use of handicap symbols on parking spots and on bathroom stalls do not necessarily mean that the use of these should be the same. This is because of the fact that the uses of these two are not the same.

Of course, some people might argue that since parking lots designated for the exclusive use of people with disabilities are marked with this particular symbol to inform people that, unless you are authorized to use such a spot, you cannot use it. This does not really apply to bathroom stalls, if you think about it. Theoretically, yes these stalls have handicap signs on them and were designed and made in such a way to facilitate the ease of use of those who are in wheelchairs, and are handicapped in any way, but this does not mean exclusivity of use.

You should be aware that, in order for a vehicle to be allowed to park safely in a spot that is marked by the blue and white wheelchair symbol, these vehicles need to carry a permit or sticker that says the vehicle is owned or carries someone with a disability. This tells anyone who sees the vehicle that it is owned by someone or is carrying a person with a disability, hence the legitimate use of the parking spot. This very same system is not in use in bathrooms, and there is a good reason why.

When people park their cars, it is usually for an extended period of time. The reason why special parking spaces near ramps and entrances are made is for the convenience of those who have disabilities. While specially designed bathroom stalls are also made for people with disabilities, it is a known fact that bathroom stalls are not usually used for long periods of time. It is also a known fact that anyone who needs to use the bathroom has to wait for a stall to clear up when there are a lot of people using this particular facility.

Since the creation of a specially designed stall for people with disabilities (which are marked by handicap signs) is not for convenience, but rather for ease of use, it is then reasonable for people without disabilities to use these when no one is indeed using these at that time. People who have disabilities know that public bathrooms are for the use of everyone, and as such, they still need to wait their turn at a stall whether it is a person with a disability, or someone without disabilities, using the stall in question. Some establishments however have policies that disallow people without disabilities to use these stalls, stating that they are simply ensuring that these remain available to those who are disabled and that there are more stalls for use by those without handicaps than stalls designed for those with such impairments.

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