Disabled parking bays are often designed with shared access bays next to them. These are generally either cross-hatched or marked out as shared space, so people don’t park right next to the disabled parking bay. These shared access bays are to allow access for wheelchair ramps to be opened from a car, but often other disabled parking permit holders don’t realise this, and it causes problems.
As a result, it often ignites debates on social media and other sites over parking while using a disabled parking permit.
A recent example is where a disabled woman was unable to access her vehicle through her access ramp at a Westfield shopping centre in Perth. Another person who had a temporary disabled parking permit for his friend, who was on crutches, attempted to park in an adjacent disabled parking bay. But unfortunately that driver parked halfway across the shared access zone, which is supposed to be left empty, and part way across the blue disabled parking bay. So it was a pretty big parking fail given the blue bay was completely empty!
So the woman didn’t have enough room to open her vehicle to let out her wheelchair access ramp so she could get into her vehicle and leave.
Frustrated and annoyed, she had to wait for a long time for the driver of the other vehicle to be found. [Source]
People get very upset about situations like this because its’s very thoughtless and inconsiderate. They may only be there for a few minutes, but clearly there was a completely vacant spot for the driver in the red car to park in, and enough room for them to allow the other adjacent disabled driver to access their car.
In these situations, all the person can do to try to resolve it is go back into the building/ centre management and try to get them to make an announcement to locate the driver of the offending vehicle. But this is time consuming, annoying and really inconsiderate.
There’s also a community website and app where people can report in similar behavior, but it does often result in heated debate on social media.
The details and impact that careless parking has on disabled people are clear in reports sent to the SnapSendSolve app (https://www.snapsendsolve.com/) , which allows users to send images of community problems that are then passed on to the relevant authorities to be solved. The below case reports were provided to Fairfax Media.
Reported in Annandale: “Hi, I have a 6-year-old disabled girl with severe mobility issues – this guy decided he would take the last disability spot forcing me to carry her from up the road just to get to the playground. He saw me too!
Reported in Gregory Hills: “After almost hitting my son and I twice whilst I was pushing a trolley in the carpark this woman then ignorantly parked across two disabled spots at Masters Gregory Hills.We did check and there was absolutely no disabled sticker on the car. I have never been so appalled at the ignorance of someone in my life.”
Reported in Punchbowl: “I have a 4-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and could not park in the disabled spot outside the play centre because this person thought they had a right to park in it to collect her dogs from Petbarn. I had to carry my child to the play centre because it was too far for her to walk in her walking frame.”
In Rockdale: “Ignorant drivers parking in disabled spots. Daily issue. Council act now, please.”
Persons with disabilities face enough challenges with their mobility on a daily basis. It would be immensely appreciated if people could be a little more considerate to stop and think before walking away from their vehicle parked next to a disabled parking bay.
So please, just double-check you’ve left enough room in the shared zones if they are so marked.
The importance of accessible and disability parking was highlighted at a recent Parking Australia function that I attended. I will be speaking at PACE 2021 in August in Adelaide with a group of other industry professionals who are also passionate about how we can best solve the disabled parking problem. Please join us to help solve this challenge! [Source]
At thatsmyspot.com.au we are committed to making a small difference to their lives and other Australians with disabilities by creating technology to support individuals and car parking providers to provide fair and guaranteed access to disability car parking. If you have any questions on how we can help you solve disabled parking issues in your residential, strata or commercial building, please contact us on 1 300 644 533