Sunday, 7 September 2008

Selfish Parking - Disabled Spaces Are For The DISABLED

I have a blue badge in my car. For those that are unfamiliar with the scheme, it’s a badge available for those who experience extreme discomfort when walking more than 100 yards or have other specific reasons for needing to be close to their car, giving us the right to park in specially allocated spaces and on yellow lines.

When I first received my badge I was really thrilled. At last I’d be able to park closer to the shops in town, enabling me to get about easier. Unfortunately it didn’t take long before I realised that it doesn’t always work that way.

The first thing I noticed was that there never appeared to be enough disabled parking spaces available. I’d often have to drive around town several times, spewing unnecessary carbon into the air, before I eventually either found one or gave up and went home. I couldn’t help wondering why so many taken. it’s the council’s job to issue the badges so it would stand to reason that they’d have a general idea of how many spaces would be needed. The answer, my friends, lies in the selfishness of the fit and healthy.

Time and time again I’ve been unable to use the disabled parking areas because of spaces being occupied by cars that weren’t displaying a blue badge. I’ve even seen perfectly fit people leap from cars that they’ve parked in disabled spaces and practically run into a shop, using the space as convenient parking rather than taking the trouble to walk a few hundred yards extra.

Not only are those people stopping those of us who can’t walk far from shopping comfortably, disabled spaces are generally wider than the average parking bay, making entering and exiting a vehicle far easier. I wonder whether they’ve ever tried getting out of car and into a wheelchair when there’s about a 12 inch (or less) gap between cars! Even getting crutches sorted out is pretty close to impossible without risking a scratch on the neighbouring car.

What’s more, there never seems to be a traffic warden around when the spaces are taken by non-badge holders. No, they’re always too busy at the main car-parks, looking for those who have parked for a few minutes longer than they’ve paid for!

Why oh why are there so many selfish drivers around? Are people really so lazy that they’d rather stop the disabled from going about their business in order to go about their own in as few steps as possible?

Sharon J


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apieceofwood said...

This is a particular bugbear of my other half. He gets quite verbal with people if he sees them doing, Whilst I'm less so, I totally agree with you. It's just sheer laziness.

Gavin said...

Ditto Sharon. Kim and I have a friend who has MS, and some days can barely walk. She looks fine otherwise, as most people with MS do.

About two months ago, she parked in a diabled space, showing the disabled sign in her car window, and someone arsehole left a note under her wiper basically stating that she should be ashamed of herself by faking illness to get a disabled sticker. She was so mad, that she wrote a letter to the local paper and got her photo in the paper asking people to have a bit of consideration.

Just because someone doesn't look disabled, doesn't mean they aren't. How rude of that person!

Anonymous said...

I live in an area with alot of elderly, many who need disabled parking. As has been reported many times in the newspaper, young and healthy relatives will use the handicapped hangtag because 'it's more convenient, it saves me time'.

I just can't comprehend what these people are thinking and how they have the b***s to justify it.

Caroline said...

Whilst I absolutely agree with you, Sharon, I think it's worth pointing out that there is also a problem with people who have blue badges abusing the privilege. For example, my sister in law has one because my niece has cerebral palsy, but my sister in law constantly uses the badge when she doesn't have my niece in the car, to avoid paying parking charges, and for her own convenience, thereby using up a disabled space that doesn't need using up.

As mentioned above, this is a big problem which really needs dealing with. I really think there should be a zero tolerance policy when this happens, and the blue badge should be removed from anybody who abuses it.

neimanmarxist said...

oh, this is something that really drives me wild. I knew some horrible people that used the badge in their mother's car to park wherever they wanted .truly unconscionable. it's a difficult thing to police- but shouldn't people have the common decency to not make this an issue?

Savings not Shoes said...

This is one of my sister's biggest pet peves and there was a disabled spot in front of her fave coffee shop where she sat every morning and watched people park, jump out, bound up the stairs to get their coffee. To satisfy her, I photoshopped one of our hometown's parking tickets and circled the illegal parking in a disabled spot ($100 fine) and then wrote "this is a Moral obligation" across the top and bottom to insure that the person knew it wasn't a real parking ticket. She used them a few times and got a kick out of watching people come out with their coffee to find a parking ticket on their car. Love your blog!

wombat064 said...

there are times when I see the misuse of these parking spots, I secretly feel like doing a bit of disabling myself. Not that I ever would willingly deflate someones tyres. As My luck would have it I wouldbe the one that gets caught and the origional perpitraitor would walk ,scott free.

Sharon J said...

@ apieceofwood. I bet he gets some lip back, too.

@ Gavin. That's my problem too. Because I don't look disabled, people tend to automatically think I'm taking the P. I may walk fine when I first get out of the car some days, but a hundred meters up the road and it's a different story. Good on your friend for sticking up for herself.

@ Anonymous. I don't think relatives and friends should use the badges either. I often think people believe that's what I'm doing because I don't look disabled.

@ Caroline. I don't agree with anybody abusing the system but yes, I do know it happens.

@ Neimanmarxist. I would have thought common decency is enough but obviously not. There seems to be a general disregard for other people's needs these days.

@ Savings not Shoes. Love what your sister did. Well done her!

@ Wombat64. I know the feeling. I wouldn't do it either but I've been tempted.

Catz said...

Sharon I get so upset about this as well! My family got quite mad at me as in the early bad days of my illness as I refused to apply for a blue badge. This was because I have 2 very severely disabled friends and have been with them while they tried to find disabled parking spaces and failed because thoughtless well abled idiots with no blue badges had taken all the spaces!!! I decided (rightly or wrongly) to stay home or only make short trips with a member of the family and my stick to hang on to rather than add to the problem.

I do understand about the varying symptoms, always worried me that someone would have a go at me on a good day (rare though those used to be) folk can be so very very ignorant at times but I do believe that what goes around comes around Karma rules! lol!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's not so cut and dried and it's easy to jump to conclusions. I hold my hands up as guilty for using the blue badge in order to avoid parking charges. However, I've only ever done this when on my disabled partner's business as I am her carer. Unless she's too ill to travel she would normally be with me. Also as a carer I'm therefore as poor as a church mouse and resent giving £1 (1/50th of this gracious government's view of what is a generous weekly living allowance) or more to my local council for 20 minutes parking. However, I would never dream of taking a disabled parking space and usually make a point of parking well away from them. I would certainly not take advantage of being allowed to park in usually restricted areas like double yellows. Moreover, it could be that I am picking her up from an appointment - just because she isn't in the car with me doesn't mean to say she isn't around!

Having said all that, those who blatantly take advantage of the badge's privileges for their own ends at the expense of genuinely less mobile drivers are the lowest of the low and such actions should be punishable with penalty points

Sharon J said...

@ Catz. You do have a blue badge now, don't you? If I'm having a good day and know that I can park away from the disabled bays, walk into the shop, do what I need and get back to the car without too much pain, I'll leave the disabled spaces for those who need them more. More often than not I need a space that's as close as possible to the shop etc though.

@ anonymous. The thing is, it's actually illegal to use the badge even if you're on your carer's business as long as she isn't in the car with you (or being picked up, as you mentioned). I don't entirely agree with that rule though as my carer often has to pick up prescriptions and the likes for me and I don't see why he should have to pay to do so. I guess they have to draw the line somewhere though.

Richard said...

It's not illegal to park in a disabled parking bay if you're not disabled though, is it. It's just low down and unfair. That's the irony.

Chris said...

Hi Sharon!

Thanks as ever for your posts! I have a badge and so so many people have said "you need to be disabled to have that" OR you are too yong to park there! They do not see my chair or my sticks or my feed pump attached to me or feel any of the pain and the severe severe fatigue associated with having a rare progressive disorder! No I don't look "disabled" as in having whatever the ignorant assume is a "disability" but I invite them to walk in my shoes for a few seconds only and they will soon change their narrow and rather sad minds. Thanks again for chatting about this one!


Sharon J said...

@ Richard. I think it's illegal to park in a council disabled bay but not in privately run car parks. In fact, many privately run car parks have no rules about this because they'd rather make money by having the bays occupied by non-disabled drivers than left empty. Annoying when you really need one, of course.

@ Chris. I know the feeling. Being as my pump's in a rucksack, people don't see it and because I try to avoid using a chair/sticks as much as possible (my mum calls me stubborn, I call it determination), like you people tend to assume there's nothing wrong with me. I'd swap with most in a jiffy - being in constant discomfort (I've learned to reserve the word 'pain' for the really bad times) isn't much fun.

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