Designated Disabled Parking Spaces and the abuse thereof has long been a source of controversy. The spaces are frequently occupied by thoughtless/selfish people with no right, they are frequently occupied by the ‘I’ll only be a minute brigade’ and badges are being used by ineligible people.
Before we consider a solution, it is necessary to understand why the problem exists. Designated Disabled Parking Spaces are the most coveted spots in any car park; they are the closest spots to the entrance doors and are also wider than the usual parking spots. The main reason they are designed this way is to make life less difficult for people with mobility issues. The car door may have to be fully open for a disabled person to get into or out from a car or their wheelchair may need to be placed at the side of the car for the person to sit in immediately on exiting the car. The parking spaces are located close to the entrances so that a disabled person can get inside as rapidly as possible particularly in inclement weather and let’s be honest Ireland has more than its fair share of bad weather.
There is also the issue of ineligible Blue Badge Holders and in my opinion these are the worst offenders of all.
Remember that it is not a prerequisite that a person uses a wheelchair to legitimately use the parking spaces. Some disabilities are not readily visible. Some people can only walk a short distance without fatigue setting in and it should be remembered that whatever the distance walked from the car it is the same distance back.
I would like to see these parking spaces being better policed. I would like to see Traffic Wardens and the Gardaí (Irish Police) check the badges when they see a person alighting from or returning to a car in public areas. Legitimate badge holders should not be embarrassed as identifications are often checked and this would be no different. The policing of these spaces is a different matter on private property but they should be monitored in a like manner by whatever security is employed.
P.S. San Diego are increasing parking fines for illegal use of these spaces to $740 (Click Here) and a judge in County Clare put a driver off the road for 6 months (Click Here) plus a fine of €500 for illegally parking in a designated parking space for sheer convenience – the ‘just a minute brigade’
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