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Parking Problems

With disabled parking being a hot topic in the community recently, I thought I would share something with you...

Yep, I got a parking ticket. My first offence in 7 years of driving, boooo. 

In the words of this year's Love Island contestants: "It is what it is"

Ross sat in his wheelchair, next to a disabled parking bay

On a recent trip to Plymouth, I parked in a disabled bay and unknowingly, my blue badge was not correctly displayed.

Genuine mistakes happen and at times my badge has even fallen off my dashboard - but I am still pretty annoyed.

It is clear that my vehicle is driven by a disabled person, from the obvious adaptions inside and out.

A shot of Ross's van with the boot open, ramp down

Not only is my van on the larger side, it clearly has a ramp feature cut out, which can be seen from the back. I also have disabled parking stickers on my back windows and a selection of visible hand control adaptions. 

Ross's hand control set up, inside the car - showing mini steering wheel and joystick brake

Where is the common sense these days? Was it really necessary to issue me a £130 fine?

Obviously I am going to appeal this decision, but mehhh, it's just effort isn't it.

In other news, I have just extended the contract on my car until 2022 which is exciting! Most people love the thought of getting a new car, but for me, it fills me with dread.

It took so long to get all my adaptions and controls fitted perfectly around my wheelchair, hence why I want to cling onto this van for as long as possible. 2022 is my maximum lease, which means I would have had this beast for 10 whole years!

Ross's van parked outside his house, gleaming in the sun. Blue VW Caravelle Nevada

Hidden Disabilities

Now this is where things get a little bit controversial...

IN MY OPINION, I've always seen disabled parking as a lifeline for people who have physical mobility issues.

I've always assumed these bays are for people who require larger spaces, in order to accommodate their bigger vehicles and mobility equipment - for example people who use wheelchairs, scooters or visual aids such as white canes.

It has recently been announced that people with hidden disabilities, such as dementia or anxiety, can now apply for a blue badge.

Yellow floor markings of a disabled parking bay

This decision has been labelled "the biggest change to the Blue Badge Scheme in 50 years" and has caused quite a stir. 

Hidden disabilities are a hot topic right now and the last thing I want to do is offend anyone. I'm just concerned that people will take advantage of this and ruin it for the genuine ones out there.

Disabled parking bays are few and far between already, so I worry about the social effect this will have. If city centres and supermarkets are willing to invest in more disabled parking spaces, then great, problem solved.

Disabled parking sign: "If you are not disabled and you park here, you soon will be"

The point I'm trying to make is this... if you are physically mobile (e.g. able to walk independently or drive a regular sized car) then why do you need a disabled bay?

Wheelchair users (who require extra space to transfer) are unable to fit in a regular sized bay, so why should you take up one of the larger spaces? 

The standard bays are only a few steps away, no?

Obviously not all disabilities are visible, and I agree that people who can only walk short distances should also be able to access these bays closest to the store.

However, I can't see how this new rule is going to be policed...

Like I've said, I'm not here to cause offence, this is just my personal opinion. I am 100% open to debate this.

On that note, it's time for me to get off my soapbox.

Speak soon,

Ross x

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