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Is This Parking Job Legal in the State of Minnesota?

When it comes to parking, some Minnesotans are just plain bad.  Take a look at the pictures below.

This Black SUV Parks in the Middle of the Road
This Black SUV Parks in the Middle of the Road
The Grey Car Leaving the Handicapped Spot Struggles to go Back and Forth Several Times To Avoid Hitting the Black Car
The Grey Car Leaving the Handicapped Spot Struggles to go Back and Forth Several Times To Avoid Hitting the Black Car
Puzzled Onlookers Avoid the Car That Created It's Own Space
Puzzled Onlookers Avoid the Car That Created It’s Own Space
Car with Handicapped Permit Takes 2 Spaces for Room for Life
Car with Handicapped Permit Takes 2 Spaces for Room for Life

It was a nice Minnesota night outside an Olive Garden when I drove to meet my wife and son for dinner. As I pulled in, my path was immediately blocked by a black sport utility vehicle. It was causing quite a stir as a man in a handicapped parking space directly in front of the black car had trouble getting out of his spot. He had to go back and forth and back and forth. Voices were raised as people yelled “move your car!” to anyone who even walked in the direction of the black car. Sadly, no one came out to move in the 5 minutes I watched with shock and surprise.

Why would anyone park this way? There were plenty of open spots just a few vehicles down. As I walked over to the car to look for clues, it became clear. The driver had a handicapped permit and all the handicapped parking spots were taken. Well, that sort of made sense. However, I didn’t feel they needed to park that way. I mean, look at this picture at the bottom left. It is a mini-van parked on a diagonal. I saw this in a Minnesota Perkins parking lot. While the driver took 2 spots, they didn’t create any potential safety hazard. They needed space for the lift in the back. It makes sense. The black sport utility vehicle at Olive Garden didn’t have any signs about lifts on the ride. I do not know their medical condition, but one would think they could have found a safer parking option. Right?

What does local law enforcement say?  Well, that parking job is not illegal.  Not illegal?!?!?! Why?  The answer:  This happened in a private parking lot and not a public parking lot.  There’s a lot less your local police can enforce in a private parking lot.  A local law enforcement friend who wants to remind everyone that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something, sent us this info:

Most people don’t know that there are very few laws that pertain to “private” parking lots.  When it comes to driving and parking in them, you can pretty much do whatever you want, and it is not against the law.  There are a handful of exceptions, and they would include:

-Can’t park in handicapped spot without a permit.

-You have to have a driver’s license in order to drive there or anywhere in Minnesota.

-You can’t drive recklessly or carelessly. (In other words, you can’t be driving like a maniac when it could result in hurting others or property.)

-Can’t drive drunk anywhere in Minnesota, including parking lots.

-Can’t park in a marked Fire Lane.

Want to park in the aisle and block other cars in, you can do that.  (The owner may tow your car, but you are not doing anything illegal.)

To be perfectly clear, we advise you to not be a jerk and do stupid things in private parking lots in Minnesota. It really is not the right thing to do. Do not blow through parking lot stop signs. Do not park on an angle taking 3 spots just to keep your BMW’s door from being hit. Please be courteous, respectful of others, and safe at all times.

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