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1 in 5 Blue Badge parking spaces being abused

Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger

Disabled Motoring UK shared the results of the Baywatch 2019 report and found that 1/5 Blue Badge parking spaces at supermarkets are being used by somebody parking without displaying a Blue Badge. They say:

"In June we asked the public to help us with our Baywatch Campaign by surveying their local supermarket car park for disabled parking abuse. The results have now been calculated.

Our total number of responses was 723. The overall level of disabled parking abuse across all supermarkets was 16%. 

Across all of the supermarkets surveyed the average number of disabled bays provided (to the nearest whole bay) is 15 bays with 3 of them being abused, meaning that roughly 1 in 5 disabled bays at supermarkets are abused by somebody parking in a disabled bay without displaying a Blue Badge."

Read more here.

Ceri Smith, policy and campaigns manager at disability equality charity Scope, said:

“Many disabled people, including those with invisible impairments, need to be able to park close to shops and amenities.
Blue Badge spaces are often in high demand from people who are using them legitimately. Other people abusing a Blue Badge parking space risks directly stopping a disabled person from being able to use that shop at all.
Supermarkets and car park operators need to do more to crack down on abuse and ensure disabled customers can have fair access to their stores.”

Have you seen people not displaying a blue badge using the parking spaces? Have you ever said anything to someone who is abusing the parking system?
Scope
Senior online community officer

Replies

  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,300 Disability Gamechanger
    I have seen the blue badge holder remain in their car while the able bodied person went and did their shopping. I made a comment and got a dirty look from the able bodied person. Blue Badge users are not obliged to display their badge while using a bay in a supermarket car park most do a lot don’t.
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    edited September 2019
    wilko said:
    I have seen the blue badge holder remain in their car while the able bodied person went and did their shopping. I made a comment and got a dirty look from the able bodied person. Blue Badge users are not obliged to display their badge while using a bay in a supermarket car park most do a lot don’t.
    Really?
    Whenever I am going to the supermarket etc, I take my son’s badge and wheelchair with me. The first thing I do is to display it.
    As I begin getting out his wheelchair from the boot, I have noticed that is when I get unexpected offers of help. If I am alone, I don’t use it. And my partner who is ablebodied, stays in the car whilst I shop. 
  • david235david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    @wilko is correct. It is generally understood that use of accessible parking bays in off-street parking is a reasonable adjustment covered by the Equality Act 2010, with arguably a wider group of people qualifying to use these bays than those who are entitled to a Blue Badge. The Blue Badge indicates entitlement to on-street parking concessions.

    However, it is lawful for car park operators  to indicate clearly on signs that display of a Blue Badge is required to use their accessible bays - doing so makes display of a Badge part of the unilateral contract governing the use of the bay. If the car park operator does this, they should have some mechanism to respond to those who are entitled to accessible parking under the Equality Act 2010 but who do not hold a Blue Badge.


    As a matter of good practice, I display a Blue Badge when using an off-street parking bay, even when it is not signed as a requirement of using that bay. Considering the level of abuse, I believe it is good practice to show my entitlement to accessible parking. On some occasions I could display three Blue Badges, as my partner and mother are also Badge holders.


    An often underrated problem in my experience is "I have a Blue Badge so I'm going to use an accessible bay whether I need to or not". The situation that comes to mind here is the local theatre. It has a car park of around 250 spaces, with something like 6 or 7 accessible bays along the walkway to the main entrance.

    The theatre opens early for those eating in the restaurant and, at that time, the parking is not stewarded. It is not unknown for the approximately 30 people eating in the restaurant to take 4 or 5 of the accessible spaces even though there are plenty of other spaces that are just as close to the door. The accessible spaces are the only ones on asphalt, though the rest of the car park is well compacted aggregate, not loose pea shingle or similar nightmare surfaces for those with mobility problems.

    I drive a large vehicle with a wheelchair tail lift. Unless I can get in one of the accessible bays, I'm stuck as pretty much all the rest of the car park has a slight side to side lean on the bays sufficient to trip my tail lift for excessive tilt. On several occasions, despite being early, there has been nowhere to park where I can get my wheelchair out of the car, so I've driven home again and thrown the tickets for me and those with me away. These days, the management cone off the most distant of the accessible bays for me when they know I'm coming - I'm a powerchair user, so I'm happy to take the furthest space from the door, but having one of those spaces is the difference between me getting to see the show or not.


    When I first had an Orange Badge in the mid 1990s, I was asked by Social Services to think when using it. If I didn't need to use it on a particular occasion, I was asked not to do so. If I did need to use it, but could perhaps leave the spaces nearest the door for others, it was best I did that. I am not going to question other people's entitlement to use spaces - if they feel they need them, use them. However, with the number of Badges there are now (3 million and growing), there are often nowhere near enough bays to go round. If you can leave a bay for someone else, you might make the difference between someone else being able to visit the location or not.

    Perhaps everyone with a Blue Badge should be asked to "use what you need, but leave what you can for others".
  • exdvrexdvr Member Posts: 314 Pioneering

    @david235     Perhaps everyone with a Blue Badge should be asked to "use what you need, but leave what you can for others".

      That to me is a very fair and reasonable thing to say and do, but I have actually been harangued by an idiot for taking up a non-disabled parking bay when I "should" have been using a disabled bay.       Some things are just sent to try us.

    Best wishes.

    DLTBGYD

  • david235david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    There's always one, @exdvr ! I struggle to see how having a disability and holding a Blue Badge precludes you from using the rest of the bays.

    What is sad about your story is that anyone else feels they have the right to tell you how to live your life. They cannot know whether you're having a good day or a bad day, and certainly not what your needs are on any particular day.


    There is a wonderful story in one of Tanni Grey-Thompson's books about her arriving at a location where all the accessible parking bays had been taken. She parked in one of the parent with child bays, to black looks from some around her especially when she unloaded her wheelchair and then transferred into it. She then reached into the car again, unclipped her young daughter from her child seat, put her into a sling, and headed off in her chair.
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    I have a Blue Badge, but I only use the parking spaces when I need them. My condition means sometimes I am ok and sometimes I have a severe need. I don't just use it 'because I can'.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
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