Is the shame game the right solution to Shropshire motorists who misuse accessible parking bays?

26-Apr-2016
  Author: Martyn Sibley
Disclaimer: The below article is a tongue-in-cheek look at parking without a blue badge. In no way does the JT Hughes Group agree or endorse vandalism or aggressive behaviour. We do hope this raises awareness of the difficulties of parking with a disability. We encourage you to comment on our blog and Facebook page, but please be respectful. Offensive language is not acceptable and will be deleted.

Accessible Parking Bays - The shame game.

We’ve all seen it happen. The Telford Shopping Centre car park is full, so a non-disabled driver heads straight for the accessible parking bay and saunters out of their car without a care in the world.

It happens with on street parking too. Someone is in a hurry in Shrewsbury, they park up quickly so they can dash into the corner shop to buy something, and before you know it, all the accessible parking on a busy street has been taken up. Shaming people though, is a tricky business and it is important to remember that many impairments are invisible, and someone that you initially believe to be without a disability, may have any number of hidden conditions. If they do though, and they’re using on street parking, they should be displaying their Blue Badge. So if it’s not on display on their windscreen, there’s a good chance they’re taking liberties and abusing the system.

 

Firstly, lets state some facts. Parking in an accessible parking bay is a criminal offence if you don’t have a Blue Badge, and you could be fined £1,000 for doing so. Equally, it is a criminal offence to lend your badge to anyone else, disabled or not, and even if a family member or carer regularly drives your car for you, if you are not present and they are not parking in order to pick you up, they are breaking the law as well. Your badge must also be on display at all times when you are parked in an accessible space, with the hologram face up so your photo isn’t on display.

 

It’s also important to remember, that when it comes to off-road parking in supermarket car parks in Telford Town Centre and the like, different rules could apply. The Blue Badge scheme is only enforceable for on-street parking, and in most cases it is not illegal to park in an accessible bay in a car park if you are not disabled. Instead, these parking spaces rely on the discretion and good behaviour of the general public, which we know, can’t always be relied upon!

 

So what should you do, if you’re out and about in Shropshire and see someone misusing a Blue Badge parking bay? Well, firstly, it’s a good idea to check whether they’re displaying a Blue Badge or not, as their disability may be invisible. Below are some examples of how motorist abusing the system were publicly shamed. I am not convinced this is the right approach, but it does highlight the frustrations of some, judging by the lengths they've gone to.

1. Creative Shaming.

In terms of global impact, nothing beats this stunt pulled by a group of guys in Brazil. After spotting a non disabled person parking in an accessible parking bay, the group came along with literally thousands of blue and white Post-its, and completely covered the car, creating a Blue Badge logo, complete with a wheelchair symbol. Upon returning to his car, the owner started aggressively ripping the Post-its from his vehicle, until he’d freed enough of his windscreen for him to make a very speedy exit. Needless to say, he wasn’t amused! You can watch the video of the incident below, which subsequently went viral around the world. 

 

 

2. Hit where it hurts.

BMW

While I would never advocate breaking the law or defacing private property in response to parking bay misuse, there is something about the fact this was done to an expensive car, which makes it quite amusing. In Central London, a BMW parked in a disabled bay, without a Blue Badge, had a rude word, beginning in ‘W’ and ending in ‘R’ sprayed on it. While this is clearly a very dangerous response, as the graffiti “artist” risked ending up in jail themselves, I’m sure it will certainly make the car owner think twice in the future.

 

3. Name and shame.

Tesco

If you see someone misusing a bay in a supermarket or shopping centre car park while out and about in Shropshire, it might just be time for a bit of naming and shaming. Tell security staff inside the store that someone is misusing the parking bay, and if they’re up on their disability rights, they might well be persuaded to announce the make and registration over the tannoy and ask the driver to report to the information desk so they can get a telling off and then move their vehicle. Hopefully they’ll be suitably embarrassed after a ‘walk of shame’ to the desk and won’t repeat the offence in the future.

 

4. A quiet face to face.

disabled parking bay

I would advise you to do this if you are with a friend, family member or carer who will be able to handle the situation if the person gets angry. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in danger, so think carefully before trying this approach. If you’re up for it though, try waiting by the offending vehicle until the owner returns and tell them face-to-face why their behaviour is wrong. Sometimes people simply don’t think about the effect of their actions, and being confronted may be just the jolt they need to realise they’ve been behaving badly.

 

5. Report them.

Lastly, and most sensibly, the best thing to do if you see someone using an accessible parking bay illegally is report them. Often this is simply a case of telling a nearby ticket inspector, traffic warden or police officer, or if there is no one around, taking a note of the number plate and giving the police a call on their 101 number. Many main roads in the UK are now covered by CCTV, so it is likely that the offender will be caught on camera too, which will help the police to make a case against them.

A spokesperson for the management of Telford Shopping centre said: “The majority of our parking bays for the less abled are located in the vicinity of our Shopmobility facility. “Fortunately, there are very few occasions when these spaces are abused by those without official disabled parking badges. Nevertheless, on those rare occasions, our customer service and security teams are happy to assist and will always investigate the matter immediately; insisting on the removal of offending vehicles as appropriate.”

 For the Shrewsbury area, the responsibility for managing parking is with Shropshire Council, who state that the majority of motorists use car parks and parking spaces correctly. They employ and manage a team of civil enforcement officers (CEOs) who work to very strict guidelines when issuing penalty charge notices (PCNs). They can even inspect blue badges to ensure that they are valid and not being misused. Click here for more information on parking in Shrewsbury 

 

 

Do you know of any parking bays in Shropshire that are regularly misused by non-blue badge holders? Why not share them with us and we can all keep an eye out, and help put this unfair practice to an end in our county!

 

THE AUTHOR

Martyn Sibley

Martyn Sibley is a freelance writer for Positive Advertising. Martyn is a passionate disability campaigner, dedicated to inspiring, informing and changing the world around disability issues. He is a published author and co-founder of Disability Horizons. Although he requires support with all aspects of daily life, he lives independently, drives a car, runs his own business, and has undertaken trips to Australia, America, Japan and many parts of Europe.
7 Comments
User Icon
m.Watkin
-
6/28/2016 10:22:50 PM
More than one year ago
Try my public page on Facebook 'Parking like a t*at in Shropshire' you can post example there. Look it up
User Icon
Lisa
-
6/24/2016 10:31:23 PM
More than one year ago
Oakengates only has 2 disabled parking bays in the high street, and I can never park there as people using Barclays Bank or other shops feel they have more rights I have to park on the main car parks (to far away) or just go home, it's worse when the weather is bad, there is a 40mins parking time and no return for 1hr, but I've notice even some of the shop owners/workers park in the normal bays all day, forcing shoppers to park anywhere including the disabled bays very frustrating
User Icon
Louise jones
-
6/18/2016 11:23:54 PM
More than one year ago
Dawley high Street is terrible for this. I usually have to drive round 3 or 4 times before a space is free. I have asked people to move their car if it has no badge on. I just get ignored or get abuse. I once saw a man actually sleeping in the drivers seat while he was waiting for someone!! I find this very distressing and often have to return home empty handed because I can't access a disabled space.
User Icon
Lin Parkes
-
6/14/2016 9:38:50 PM
More than one year ago
Newport has a car park behind B&M by the Auction rooms. On a Tuesday it is near impossible to get a disabled parking space because the auction people use the spaces with their vans
User Icon
PhilippaFoster
-
6/6/2016 11:08:20 AM
More than one year ago
I Have often fou d that reporting g the person gets you nowhereand i'm left feeling the bad guy for inconvenience cling the staff, I am a wwheelchairuser so obviously need their help
User Icon
Ross McIvor
-
6/6/2016 10:42:42 AM
More than one year ago
You'll find that Telford has no/none traffic wardens on the books, and if you contact the council over the mater/s they'll tell you its now been pasted over to the police to enforce the areas, and if you ask the police they say its the council,. Ive seen many times the 2 disabled spaces taken up by non disabled users, and cause there full cars park next to them covering a pedestrian crossing,. Ive also witnessed a police officer walking strength passed them all.
User Icon
Malcolm Kent
-
6/1/2016 12:48:29 PM
More than one year ago
Outside the Co-op in Dawley is a designated 3car area for disabled drivers, more often than not, it is ocupied by non-disabled drivers to include Taxies vans, and mostly just ordinary drivers who seem to think that it's ok just to pull over and now into the shop, whereas disabled drivers are forced to either pull up on the curb, or go to the designated Co-op car park, which is at the rear of the shop, not too far for people with good legs, but agony for those with disabilities, when approached, one gets verbal abuse or just ignored, it is clearly displayed, but just abused.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG
Get the latest information about motoring in Shropshire delivered directly to your inbox. All you need to know about motoring with great content and expert advice.
Disclaimer
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. JT Hughes makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. JT Hughes will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information.JT Hughes will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. JT Hughes does not share personal information with third-parties nor does JT Hughes store information collected about your visit for use other than to analyse content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at anytime by modifying your Internet browser’s settings. JT Hughes is not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without permission. JT Hughes reserves the right to edit or delete any comments submitted to this blog without notice due to; 1. Comments deemed to be spam or questionable spam 2. Comments including profanity 3. Comments containing language or concepts that could be deemed offensive 4. Comments that attack a person individually. This policy is subject to change at anytime.
Visit us
JT Hughes
Showrooms
Newtown Honda
Pool Road, Newtown
Powys SY163BD
Phone: 01686 622300
Newtown Mitsubishi
Pool Road, Newtown
Powys SY163BD
Phone: 01686 622300
Shrewsbury Honda
3 Battlefield Road, Shrewsbury
Shropshire SY14AB
Phone: 01743 440999
Shrewsbury Hyundai
3 Battlefield Road, Shrewsbury
Shropshire SY14AB
Phone: 01743 450888
Telford Honda
Stafford Park 1, Stafford Park Telford
Shropshire TF33BD
Phone: 01952 200999
Telford Mitsubishi
Stafford Park 1, Stafford Park Telford
Shropshire TF33BD
Phone: 01952 299822
Company information:
JT Hughes(Oswestry) Ltd, 5 Battlefield Road, Shrewsbury, SY14AB. Company Registration Number is 1198620 registered to JT Hughes(Oswestry) Ltd
JT Hughes(Oswestry) Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for insurance mediation activities only. All calls may be recorded for training, monitoring and quality purposes.
Copyright: © JT Hughes (Oswestry) Ltd: All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non commercial use only.
Unauthorised republication or redistribution of content, including by framing, spidering or similar means, is expressly prohibited

Who regulates us?
J. T. Hughes (Oswestry) Ltd, 5 Battlefield Road, Shrewsbury, SY14AB. Our FCA number is 306434.
J. T. Hughes (Oswestry) Ltd's permitted business is arranging general insurance contracts
You can check this on the FCA's register by visiting the FSA's website or by contacting the FSA on 0800 111 6768.
Motor Industry Code Of Practice
We subscribe to the Motor Industry Codes of Practice for New Cars and for Service and Repair and are members of the National Franchise Dealers Association. Click here for more details.