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Government to crack down on misuse of disabled parking spaces

By Glynis Quinlan - 6 June 2017 15

Disabled Parking Sign

The ACT Government today signalled that it is planning to crack down on the misuse of disabled parking spaces.

During a 2017-18 ACT Budget media conference, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that mobility parking permits are being traded and passed around.

“If you’re using a disability parking spot and you’re not entitled to it then you would be breaking the law,” Mr Barr said this afternoon.

“There are people who really shouldn’t be utilising those permits who are doing so. Part of our work here will be to ensure there is greater compliance around the issuance and maintenance of those particular permits,” he said.

“I think we would all agree that ensuring the integrity around the use of those permits and the limited available disabled parking spots should be of concern to the community – is of concern to the community – and the Government will be responding.”

The 2017-18 ACT Budget papers include a ‘fairer revenue’ item under the Justice and Community Safety Directorate which states that the Government will increase the penalty for the misuse of a mobility parking permit.

“Incorrect use of these permits is unfair to genuine permit-holders, undermines the effective operation of car parks and costs the community revenue,” the Budget Outlook paper states.

“This initiative is a first step in signalling the Government’s intention to tighten compliance by monitoring this concession and reviewing its operation.”

Do you think people are using disabled car parks when they shouldn’t be? Are you aware of permits being passed around? If you are a mobility parking permit holder, do you find it difficult to get a parking space? Please let us know in the comments below.

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15 Responses to
Government to crack down on misuse of disabled parking spaces
gazket 6:52 pm 24 Jun 17

There are plenty of disabled car parks around, it’s just that there nearly 1 million people on the DSP wanting them .

Maya123 1:27 am 09 Jun 17

olfella said :

John Moulis said :

Disabled car spaces are legislated and you can be fined for using them if you don’t have a permit. But those “Parents with Prams” spaces at shopping centres are just a silly PR exercise by the shopping centres. They have no legislative standing, just ignore the signs and markings and park in them.

Not really John. Those places are close to doors and no impediments like speed bumps to navigate. If you get a pram or wheelchair, go for a test run one day, and then try and fit said device in your car when unable to fully open the doors. Just a bit of respect and understanding for others goes a long way.

They are not for wheelchairs they are for Parents with Prams. Surely most prams would be in the boot, so no need to open the side doors wide. I have even heard them called silly by some parents. It’s a PR exercise. If it weren’t, they could provide those spaces at the furthest corner of the carpark instead of by the mall doors, as generally parents are young and relatively fit (because they are young) and the prams have wheels.

olfella 8:55 pm 08 Jun 17

John Moulis said :

Disabled car spaces are legislated and you can be fined for using them if you don’t have a permit. But those “Parents with Prams” spaces at shopping centres are just a silly PR exercise by the shopping centres. They have no legislative standing, just ignore the signs and markings and park in them.

Not really John. Those places are close to doors and no impediments like speed bumps to navigate. If you get a pram or wheelchair, go for a test run one day, and then try and fit said device in your car when unable to fully open the doors. Just a bit of respect and understanding for others goes a long way.

olfella 8:47 pm 08 Jun 17

Back to basics. The reason for these spots are for mobility impaired people. Why? Because they need to fully open doors to transfer to a wheelchair or walking aid.
There is also a distance requirement in obtaining a permit (unable to walk 100 metres without difficulty or pain) which usually means having a walking frame or stick.
I like many others have seen users of these permits jump out of their vehicle and wander across to the local club – unaided while a heap of other parks are available to them. Just because we are old does not necessarily mean we need a permit.
All these people are do is selfishly robbing the use of that spot to someone who genuinely needs it. Sure you dont pay etc but if you have a sticker and park elsewhere then you wont pay anyway.
So if they continue to be selfish and abuse the system them I support a crack down.

John A Miller 6:59 pm 08 Jun 17

I’m a disabled permit holder as I have a respiratory condition that precludes me from walking very far. The issues I face commonly is going to the local supermarket in the evening and the three disabled spaces are usually taken up by lazy people that think its OK to take the spot as they are in a hurry etc and its only for a few minutes etc.

I think the disabled pass should be two sided – on one side the disabled authority etc and a photo of the card holder. The name and personal details if necessary put on the other side that isn’t seen. This I think would cut down the rorting of other people using the card illegally.

The other problem is many years ago to accommodate people with wheelchairs is to have a bollard in the adjoining space which is great idea but what they got wrong is in total there are much more disabled card holders that are non wheelchair users (missing limbs, respiratory conditions, elderly infirm people etc) than ones that are. So in a large shopping centre you might have 20 or so disabled spaces with an adjoining space with a bollard (total of 40 parking bays) but only say 5 or so would be needed for wheelchair users and 15 spots are unusable due to the bollards.

The councils should do some research and work out how many spots are needed for wheelchair users and have single disabled spots.i.e. rather that have 20 spots with 20 adjoining spaces with bollards have say 5 spots with an adjoining space with a bollard and 30 single spots for disabled people that aren’t wheelchair users .

Rachel Moore 7:48 pm 07 Jun 17

I gotta say, people parking without permits boils my blood! Like makes me Hulk angry! But. I’m keeping the faith that folks issuing the permits know what they’re doing. If someone hold a permit, not up to a member of the general public to harass someone as to the legitimacy of their disability. BUT if you park in one and don’t have a permit, consider it game on. As in I personally will ask you to move. And make you feel really uncomfortable until you do. Even if every single car spot is empty in a 250 space car park.

Now I know my view sounds quite hectic, but I think we all need to be a bit more aware of abilism, the non conscious discrimination of persons with a disability. It is hard enough for folks already navigating tricky mobility situations, they don’t need the added stress of someone parking in a spot allocated without a permit.

Holden Caulfield 3:21 pm 07 Jun 17

John Moulis said :

Disabled car spaces are legislated and you can be fined for using them if you don’t have a permit. But those “Parents with Prams” spaces at shopping centres are just a silly PR exercise by the shopping centres. They have no legislative standing, just ignore the signs and markings and park in them.

Yeah, but, doorbanger alert!!!

John Moulis 11:06 am 07 Jun 17

Disabled car spaces are legislated and you can be fined for using them if you don’t have a permit. But those “Parents with Prams” spaces at shopping centres are just a silly PR exercise by the shopping centres. They have no legislative standing, just ignore the signs and markings and park in them.

Debbie Lizars 12:07 am 07 Jun 17

Accessing disabled parks is difficult any time of the day. There is just not enough of them. Not only that the introduction of trolleys that require the trolley to be returned makes it impossible for those with mobility issues. As someone mentioned after hours people just don’t care and park in them all the time. Especially out the front of the take away shops at Woden. I have seen cars park there without permits all of the time plus delivery trucks. The fine for parking in these parks needs to be increased to the amount of the NSW fines. Many people do have hidden disabilities that canit be seen. A back injury or multiple sclerosis among the few. Maybe photo’s need to be added. For those that provide care for those that are disabled to have a different card. Family members use the cards to avoid paying parking fees. If we keep the current card it would. be easy to add a photo. This would stop any aggression or doubt that the person is entitled to park there. It is none of anyone’s business as to what is wrong or whether someone is entitied to use one. That is a discussion the patient has with their doctor. These can also be given on a short term basis after recovering from surgery. So again the time towards the end of the recovery may lead people to question their right of use. Please put more spaces for the disabled plus place the ability to discard of shopping trolleys close by to make it easier for people to shop. Most of these people are leaving their money in because they physically cannot return the trolleys. A rort for the shops, basically charging those less mobile to return the trolleys.

Kerry Marshall 10:36 pm 06 Jun 17

I don’t know whether people are using the permits when they shouldn’t be, but as a wheelchair user who drives I have definitely noticed that it’s increasingly difficult to get a parking space! Over the past 6 months I have been unable to attend at least two events due to not being able to find a parking space – it’s extremely frustrating.

bigred 9:35 pm 06 Jun 17

Glynis Quinlan said :

You make some good points bigred. I also wonder how many people use disabled car parks and just hope they won’t get caught. It must be so frustrating if you need to use a disabled park but find it full.

Thanks. I help a couple of disabled folk out from time to time, and must say I don’t see a lot of people chancing it during normal daylight hours. It gets problematic after hours when there is much less chance of being caught, and disabled folk aren’t supposed to be out (pardon the sarcasm).

JuliaLP 9:35 pm 06 Jun 17

It’s important to remember that some people using the mobility permits may not have a wheelchair, but have the permit because of an ‘invisible’ condition. My partner lost a kidney last year to PKD, is down to 30% kidney function and both he and his mother require constant medical assistance through dialysis and hopefully a transplant to continue any quality of life. You can’t see it, but without access to such a space, their energy levels are quickly depleted and they can do nothing but come home and go to bed. As a carer it’s hard to watch them and other sufferers get dirty looks just because they don’t have a visible handicap. As long as permit holders are doing the right thing then they’ve got no reason to be judged or abused.

Sair 8:47 pm 06 Jun 17

I think there needs to be a crackdown on people who park in spots that are meant to be used as extra space for people in wheelchairs/mobility aids to get in/out of their cars. It stops people being able to use the ramps as well, when they park in these spaces. Watched a person struggling to get into their car (couldn’t get down the ramp/no space next to their car) due to a selfish person who wanted convenience over allowing someones accessibility.
Additionally, there seems to be alot of judgement in regards to younger people who have disability permits. Just because someone isn’t elderly or in a wheelchair doesn’t mean they don’t need it!

Glynis Quinlan 8:03 pm 06 Jun 17

You make some good points bigred. I also wonder how many people use disabled car parks and just hope they won’t get caught. It must be so frustrating if you need to use a disabled park but find it full.

bigred 7:49 pm 06 Jun 17

They may stir the proverbial hornets’ nest if they are not careful with this one. While it may be suspected that someone is not entitled to a permit, or be using’one allocated to someone else, you can never be quite sure. I am sure we have all seen the healthy specimen in athletic gear placing the permit on the dash and bounding into the shops – demanding the question being asked whether they are in remission or a parking fraudster? Imagine the backlash when they fine an MS sufferer having a good day?

I personally would have been pleased if the measure included greater education combined with enforcement around proper use of the parking and other facilities designed to assist those who have mobility issues. For example, the number of people who just do not get that parking across a ramp can mean someone in a wheelchair has to abandon their outing. Just this afternoon I noticed vehicles were parked across every ramp outside the south side of Cooleman Court, one of these being an ACT Government vehicle. I often see older people writing notes about this and putting them under windscreen wipers of offending vehicles.

In summary, probably a good idea that could be ruined by cr@p implementation.

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