Personally, I think there should be a system, where there are different colour disabled passes, which allow people to park in the corresponding coloured spaces. There should be a ‘wheelchair only’ parking section, these should be close to the shops entrance and wide enough to allow a wheelchair be lowered from a hoist without hitting any other cars. Then, there should be another disabled parking section for other less severe disabled drivers and passengers who can walk, but still need to be slightly closer than more able bodied people.
I know I have been forced to park in the ‘normal’ spaces due to the disabled ones being taken, (often by people who don’t appear to need them), and I am unable to get my chair down off the roof safely without banging my chair into my car or the car next to me.
Some people legitimately need a disabled parking permit, but are still able to use the ordinary spaces. I am constantly seeing people parking in disabled spaces and they have a disabled parking permit, but I can’t see any physical reason why they need to be parked closer to the shops, while I get forced to park a distance away from the shops entrance.
Bill Shorten is trying to crack down on the rules and regulations that are followed by doctors, who authorize the need of a disabled parking permit. He is also talking about having a larger fine for people who illegally park, then, to start taking demerit points off repeat offenders. I think this is a great idea, and will help to deter anyone who wants to take advantage of the spaces, while they ‘quickly duck into the shops’.
I have also been on the receiving end of being abused for parking in disabled spaces. There were times when I was younger, travelling around with my mum, she would park and get out, people would yell at her for parking in a disabled space, then she would reach into the boot and get my chair out, the people would almost swallow their tongues with embarrassment.
I have recently come across this myself too, because I drive, unless people see my chair on the roof, they don’t expect me to be in one. I have been given lots of dirty looks, especially when I travel with my boyfriend in the car, I’ll park, and he’ll get out to get my chair from the boot, once they see that, they go from, just about to yell at us, to smiling politely, we find it quite amusing.
In an article from the news.com.au website, a man states that his new approach to people parking illegally is running up to them saying - "Thank goodness I got to you in time - parking inspectors are about and you've forgotten to display your permit”, he says these people are so embarrassed and feel so guilty that they often own up to parking illegally and move their cars.
I really hope to one day see my idea of ‘wheelchair only’ parking bays put into action, I have emailed the office of Bill Shorten to give my suggestion, I will also be contacting local council offices with the same suggestion, I’ll keep you updated on the progress.
To view the entire article in which Bill Shorten is interviewed, go to - http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/heavier-fines-urged-for-abuse-of-disabled-car-parking/story-e6freuzr-1225766618230 or to view a similar related story, go to - http://www.news.com.au/story/0,,25987872-5007146,00.html.