Blue Badge Blues

I’d like to show you some tweets. I’ve provided a screenshot as they have now been deleted.

Tweets boasting about stealing disabled parking bays

The text of these tweets reads

“The dirty looks you get for parking in a disabled bay 😀 :D”

“Like there’s not 1000 empty disabled bats and only 1 normal space the other end of the car park “

After a few people noticed these tweets and tweeted their objections (Six replies) she then tweeted

“The spam I just got in my feed about parking in a disabled bay is too jokes 😀 😀 😀 :D”

“These people are protective over their bays loool”

The tweets were then deleted an hour later.

This isn’t a rare occurrence. An awful lot of people think that they should have the right to park in parking bays reserved for disabled people. People like George Osborne, Nigel Farage and Worcester police. Often people think it’s OK to park in a disabled parking bay late at night as though disabled people aren’t allowed out at night, or they think it’s OK because they’re “only going to be a minute” or because “they’ll move if anyone needs it”. Some people just don’t care, and in fact feel so entitled to park where they like that they issue death threats.

It’s not OK though. Those bays exist for very good reasons. They are for people who struggle to walk and need to park close to the shop because otherwise they may be in pain as a result of walking, or maybe they can’t get that far at all. They are for people with chronic illnesses who will be exhausted after that short walk. They are for people who use wheelchairs and need the marked space around the bay to open their doors enough to get the wheelchair out. They are for people whose joints don’t bend much and who can’t contort themselves to fit through a door that only opens as far as the next car in a standard space. And don’t think that someone in a wheelchair will have no problem with going further – plenty of people cannot self-propel in a wheelchair any further than they can walk because of pain or being prone to dislocations or fractures.

Disabled people need those reserved parking spaces to help them overcome the barriers between them and a normal, equal life. You may be able to walk from the other end of the car park, even if it’s a bit far, a bit tiring, and maybe your legs hurt because you’re not used to exercise. For people who qualify for a blue badge, walking from the other end of the car park is a distant dream. If the choice is between park at the other end or not go into the shop, they probably can’t go into the shop.

“I’ll only be a minute”

This is probably the most common excuse. It’s not an excuse though. Don’t do it. In that “minute” which will probably actually be five or ten minutes, a disabled person may have arrived, been unable to park, had no idea how long you would be and then turned around and gone home. They might not have been able to stop and wait because of traffic. They may well not have the energy or be in too much pain to return very quickly.  Or maybe they parked in a standard space much further away, then hurt themselves by trying to walk that much further.

“I’ll move if someone needs it”

This seems like a reasonable excuse, especially if waiting in the car. Again, it’s not an excuse for a number of reasons. First of all, the person that needs the space might not see you waiting in the car to ask. If the driver is not with the car then the disabled person won’t know that they would move it, and they probably can’t park to go and find the driver to ask them. Sometimes they could send a bystander to ask them, but that has variable results.

There’s also the strong possibility of getting verbally or physically attacked just for asking someone to move. This happens, and it happens a lot. How is someone to know whether you will turn out to be nasty or nice?

“There’s loads of spaces”

This excuse tends to happen most at night and it’s possibly the least-bad. It is often true that there are lots of spaces at supermarkets. But take a look at how far those spaces are from the door. The distance from shop to space might be twenty metres for the closes one, but it could be a hundred metres or more for the farthest space. Unfortunately the people who use this excuse tend to park in the closest space to the shop and at my local Tesco it’s not uncommon for the first ten spaces to be filled with cars with no blue badge on display if I go there at 10pm. (Which I do a lot because my illness messes up my sleeping pattern.) The person using this excuse also has no idea how many people might need to park before they return. If lots turn up, they’ll be parking much further away.

Then there’s the unthinking shops that leave stuff in the disabled parking bays.

Or even put more permanent things in those bays.

This video explains why people need disabled parking bays.

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

10 thoughts on “Blue Badge Blues”

  1. This problem happens wherever you go. I work for a fairly large company with several offices around the country. Each one has its own private car park and we have our own parking system, with parking badges issued to staff and a register of staff who need to use disabled parking spaces, whether it be for long-term or short-term illness. Permission to use a disabled parking space must be authorized by your line manager and you are then issued with a special badge for as long as you need it (unless you already have an official Blue Badge).

    One member of staff flouts the rules repeatedly. I have challenged her on at least 3 occasions. She is perfectly able-bodied. Her reasons for using the disabled bays are “it’s too far to walk in her (6-inch) heels” or she “doesn’t want to get her hair/clothes/feet wet in the rain”. I’ve made her move twice, but the third time she tutted and said she “didn’t have time for this” and flounced off, so I reported her to the car park manager and got them to move her. They are now considering fining employees who park illegally, as disabled bays are limited and we employ several long-term disabled people who need this facility.

    Unfortunately, some people are selfish and arrogant and no amount of education will change that. Hitting them in the pocket seems to be the only effective deterrent for offenders, which is rather sad. I’d rather decency was a motivator than financial penalties.

    1. I had to do something similar at work. Someone from the opposite side of the site (5 minute walk) would always drive over and park in the disabled bays if she needed to visit our office. Having negotiated a later start time I was inevitably the one affected. So I made a series of complaints and the company issued a ruling that anyone doing it would be reported to their manager, and then to HR if they repeated it.

      With a sprawling site we had multiple groups of disabled bays and people were often moved around, which at one point meant 7 of us trying to park in 6 bays, which were a nose to tail line. I ended up parked on the end of it in a 7th, virtual, bay (having emailed site-services to get it sorted), but came back one day to find a scrawled note telling me I was ‘selfish’!

    1. Actually, it is a criminal offence to park in a on-street disabled parking bay without a blue badge, and in most council car parks. It is not illegal in a private car park – then it is up to the car park owner to enforce their own rules. However the fact that it is not illegal does not mean that it is allowable or that we should let people get away with it.

      http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/MotoringAndTransport/Bluebadgescheme/DG_171251

  2. May I refer you to my guest post on this blog of 8th May 2012, entitled Parking Bay Badge Blues.

  3. Through general idiocy I just let my blue badge expire and apparently it’ll take 2 months to get a new one issued. I wanted to run an errand yesterday up to the local PC World, but I’m not going to park in a disabled bay without a valid blue badge, and the car park was full enough I wasn’t going to be able to find a non-disabled bay with enough space to the sides for me to get in. So I turned around and came home.

    If I can refrain from using disabled bays, as a disabled person, when I don’t have a valid badge, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect non-disabled people to do the same.

  4. The issue of reasonable adjustment in Equality Act 2010 is a farce if there is no redress other than private action against those responsible for policing the BB bays. Personally, I see the abuse as being equal to a hate crime and should be dealt with as such.

  5. It is the same with issues regarding people with blue badges can park on yellow lines if need be. Here where I live where there is no close parking the yellow lines are the only option. Sadly too many people with no badges park there.

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