Parking excuses

Ghadir Omran
Accessible parking spots are very important to many people with a disability. There is no excuse for using them without a disability parking permit. But people often do park in accessible spots without a permit. We have heard many different excuses. Some people say sorry. Some question the law. Others get aggressive. It seems the best way to stop this behaviour is for parking officials to fine people who do the wrong thing. New drivers should also be told about how the importance of accessible parking spots.
Posted by: 
Ghadir Omran on 11/04/2011
An accessible parking bay sign
Accessible parking bay sign

People use many different excuses

Does this sound familiar? You approach the accessible parking spots designated for people with a disability. But there are no empty spots. Worse still, some of the cars parked do not have disability parking permits displayed.

There are many excuses people use for parking illegally. DiVine has heard many of them. We have also been speaking to other people recently about excuses they have heard.

More apologetic

Some common excuses we have heard include I won't be a minute, I didn't see the sign and I have a disability, I just forgot my card. Others that you hear regularly include I didn't realise that I was not allowed to park here and I need to drop off a few heavy things, I won't be a minute.

You also encounter more apologetic people. Their common lines include I only needed to slip in and pick up something, I am so sorry and I am sorry and won't ever do it again!

Question the law

Some excuses question the law. They include I am a pensioner therefore I am entitled to park near the shop and I'm pregnant and need to be closer to the shops. There are also excuses like I don't have a sticker, but I find it very difficult to walk.

Some excuses are more aggressive. We have heard Why should you be privileged? you don't look disabled and If the police can park here, why can't I? Other common excuses include My foot hurts! and I was going to miss my flight if I didn't park there. We have also heard people say It was raining and I didn't want to walk in the rain and I'm doing a few things for my dad and it's his permit! It's the same!

Challenge someone

Sometimes you need to be brave to challenge someone. DiVine reader Sally saw a ute parked in an accessible spot. The gentleman got out and hurled a huge bag of ice over his shoulder. Sally asked him why he had a disability parking permit. I had a heart operation three years ago, the man said. She replied I thought those operations were to cure you! The man walked away laughing. His permit had been expired for six months.

Unfortunately, it seems the best way to stop this behaviour is strict enforcement by parking officers. Clear signage and better street lighting might also help. It would also be great to see some education for new drivers as part of obtaining a driving licence. New drivers should be told why accessible parking spots are so important to many people with a disability.


What are some of the excuses you have heard from people parking illegally in accessible parking bays? Let us know in the comments section below.

Readers comments (5)

I know of some people who have worked for disability care agencies, day centres and disability training/work centres that have had such parking permits for work, but have used them in their own personal lives without any scruples. Now, I don't want to name names, but...

Has anyone else seen the new crazy/stupid smaller disabled parking bays. Yeah only 2.4m wide instead of 4.8m wide. There is a 'shared' pathewy inbetween so instead of opening car door (to get wheelchair to) in the disabled parking bay you now have to open you car door right over this 'shared' pathway. To make this parking bay even more stupid there is a black bollard at the top of this shared pathway and at the bottom - just for you to hit it with bumper bar when pulling out !

Disabling the most disabled of us who need that extra room for a wheelchair or walker, frame to the car door.

What clown designed these ?

I have a disabled parking permit for good reason. I have an incurable debilitating chronic illness. It's the attitude from the public that bugs me. People seem to think that because there is a picture of a person in a wheelchair on the sign, if you're not in a wheelchair you're not entitled to park there. Meanwhile my ambulatory dysfunction is pretty obvious.

I recently went to DFO Essendon Airport with my father. He is on a waliking frame and I am on crutches. There was a gentleman parked in a disabled parking spot reading a book.

I asked him if it were possible for him to move his vehicle and the excuse given was "my wife is shopping and she will be too tired to walk to the car". He displayed a permit; however he is not supposed to sit in the car.

He abused my father and I as we walked past both of us commenting on how laziness is now a recognised disability.

Having to use crutches for the past 3 months, I have found how rude and inconsiderate people are. Particularly parents with teenage children who use these spots to 'duck in' for a few items. One of these mothers told me I shouldnt be allowed out of the house - a lovely example to set for her brood.

Certainly some people can be mistaken, such as believing that shopping for their dad with a disability. entitles them to park closer to the shops, or that being pregnant means they need to walk as little as possible (as opposed to walking simply causing discomfort but still being good for them, as must usually be the case), or simply not realising that if they are waiting for their wife with a disability, they need to wait elsewhere. Or some people might think their back problems and heavy shopping constitute entitlement to priority parking. I think also of some of the elderly people I care for (without disability stickers) who feel that walking is bad for them because they get sore and tired, but likely their physios and doctors would say that *not* walking is worse for their long-term health! And of course, unfortunately, people lie! Sometimes though, people's disability or chronic illness can be invisible..... and for all I know there might even be instances in which people who *should* qualify for a sticker have been refused it!

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