Share your views on disabled parking space abuse

Published 01 August 2022
  • Disabled Motoring UK wants to hear people's views on abuse of disabled parking spaces.
  • Survey results will help push for better enforcement from the parking industry. 
  • Accessibility of electric vehicle charging points also being investigated. 

Charity Disabled Motoring UK (DMUK) has launched its annual Baywatch survey into abuse of disabled parking bays. 

The survey follows a freedom of information request by DMUK earlier this year, which found that two-fifths of councils fail to record misuse of disabled parking bays. It questions whether local authorities are doing enough to tackle abuse of the Blue Badge scheme, as well as seeking ideas for better enforcement. 

This year’s Baywatch survey also covers accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging points, in response to growing concerns among DMUK’s membership about EV charging infrastructure. 

HonestJohn.co.uk and online used car marketplace heycar are supporting the campaign, which provides the charity with valuable data to take to the parking industry to encourage it to do more to support disabled customers and manage their disabled parking provisions correctly.

Baywatch Graphic Web Res 

The Baywatch campaign also aims to change public attitudes by bringing to the attention of disabled bay abusers the impact that their actions can have.

Heidi Turner, campaigns and communications director at DMUK, said: “Disabled bay abuse is still one of the main concerns expressed to us by our members and the public.

"Our annual Baywatch campaign is an opportunity to focus the parking industry on the problems faced by disabled motorists when parking and sends the message that these bays need to be enforced and managed correctly.

"We are noticing more opinions coming forward on how disabled motorists think the scheme should be enforced and we are also keen to hear these views.”

The survey is open throughout August and you can take part here. The results will be shared later this year. 

How do I report misuse of a disabled parking bay?

If you suspect someone is misusing a Blue Badge you should report it to your local authority. Typically, they will ask for information such as the vehicle registration, the vehicle details (make, model and colour), description of the driver, the date, time and location where you saw the misuse, as well as the name and serial number from the Blue Badge (visible through the windscreen when the badge is in use).  

 

Is misuse of a Blue Badge a crime?

Yes, misuse of a Blue Badge is a criminal offence under Section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. If you are prosectued you could be fined up to £1000. 

Ask HJ

Can I appeal a parking fine for not displaying my Blue Badge?

I am a disabled person unable to walk more than a few yards at a time. I have been using my local supermarket's disabled parking bays for many years, always parking in more or less the same place, close to the store. Today I received a parking charge letter charging me a fee of £70 for using a bay without displaying a Blue Badge. An error on my part. However, the parking attendant stood watching as I struggled out of my car to find a trolley. The photograph sent to me of my car clearly shows it parked in a disabled bay in front of a disabled parking sign. The sign simply states 'for the use of Blue Badge holders only'. There is no mention that a badge must be displayed as a condition of using the bay. There are no other signs visible stating conditions of use. In your opinion, do I have grounds to appeal the charge?
Although it is the responsibility of the Blue Badge holder to make sure their Blue Badge is displayed (and if it isn’t, the parking company can legitimately issue a ticket) I think you should appeal. We have spoken to Disabled Motoring UK (DMUK) about this and they advise appealing in two ways. Firstly, you could write to the parking company that has sent you the fine to explain you are a genuine Blue Badge holder who forgot to display your badge and include a copy of your badge with the appeal. Sometimes parking operators will cancel the charge and ask the person just to pay an admin fee. Secondly, you could take pictures of the signs and their proximity to the bays and state that you feel there is insufficient/inadequate signage.
Answered by Sarah Tooze
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Ask HJ

Parking fine for overstaying in a supermarket car park - is the ticket valid?

I have been issued with a fine for staying over two hours in a supermarket car park. The signage says that "the car park allows two hours of free parking for Sainsbury's customers". I wasn't a Sainsbury's customer so does that make the ticket invalid?
I'm afraid not, that actually means that you shouldn't have parked there. They are providing free parking for two hours to allow you to shop in their store. The sign acts as a contract between you and the supermarket because you are parking on private land and if you break the terms of the contract then they have the right to issue a penalty charge notice (PCN). However, you may be able to appeal the fine if it wasn't issued to you at the time and was sent to you in the post more than 14 days later than when you parked there. You could also try appealing if you only overstayed by 5-10 minutes as many car park operators allow a grace period (in fact, if you had parked in a council car park they legally have to give you a 10-minute grace period). However, you might be asked to provide your shopping receipt.
Answered by Sarah Tooze
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Comments

Engineer Andy    5 days ago

Three types of 'abuse', in my view:

1. Non-blue badge holders stealing spaces because they are more convenient for the location. As long as the spaces are well signed, then such vehicles deserve to be towed and cost the owners a lot to get back.

2. Family members and 'carers' of genuinely disabled people using that person's blue badge (when the owner isn't present) to park as they please even though they aren't disabled and the real disabled person isn't present.

3. In my view, too many people get blue badges these days - I've seen 'disabled' retired people driving up in low-slung sports cars etc etc with a blue badge and walking around perfectly fine in the shop.

Rather like the 'mother and child' spaces, where 'child' should mean toddler and younger, not anyone with a child of any age or mum/dad only and no child but shopping for the family.

Les Richards    3 days ago

...without enforcement, all rules and Laws are useless. Lawbreakers - even irresponsible parkers - know this and that the chance of getting caught are quite low, bordering on not getting caught at all, so they do it.

Until we get more enforcement poor parking, poor driving, use of a phone while driving etc, etc will continue and increase.

JJFranco    3 days ago

"poor driving"? Depends on the criteria/ability being used to judge.

conman    yesterday

TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE.. SAY NO MORE.

John Pawson    3 days ago

“Not every disability is visible” and that’s what none holders should bear in mind. Supermarkets don’t enforce parking spaces and frequently block bays during Christmas Periods with Charity Rides! And some are further away from shops than normal spaces.
I’ve noticed cash point Users also abusing disabled parking.
Until there is effective enforcement then the temptation to abuse the space will continue.
As a Disabled Person I don’t see why I should explain to others my disabilities because to a stranger I probably look like anyone else.

Tony Buckley    3 days ago

Engineer Andy said;

". In my view, too many people get blue badges these days - I've seen 'disabled' retired people driving up in low-slung sports cars etc etc with a blue badge and walking around perfectly fine in the shop."

That's your view. Whilst I'm not defending those who abuse the scheme, your opinion needs to be challenged.

I have MS, and I have a blue badge. You'd not know about the MS if you saw me; I'm not in a wheelchair, I don't look disabled. And on a good day, I won't use a disabled space. On a bad day though, that space, its proximity to the store entrance and the energy it saves me makes the difference between being able to get my shopping, unload the car at home and cook - or at least, microwave - my evening meal or getting the shopping, getting it out of the car at home and not having the energy to do anything more than look at it.

So please, adjust your expectations. Not all disabilities are visible but that doesn't mean that those people shouldn't have a blue badge, and that badge can make the difference between me eating tonight or going hungry because of my incapacity.

JJFranco    3 days ago

"In my view, too many people get blue badges these days....". ".....walking around perfectly fine in the shop."

Wow! I bet you're a right barrel of laughs! You know, 1930s German society featured finger-pointing, monitoring fellow citizens, airing suspicions et al.

I'd be VERY surprised if 'number 2' made any significant impact on the availability of disabled bays. There is a graduated scale. You need a BB holder who is housebound, or who doesn't venture out too much, (yet still bothered to get a badge). That same person must be willing to hand out said badge for misuse, and the "family member/carer" must be willing to misuse it. Look, I'm sure it's happened, but on a grand scale? And as 'crimes' go....

As has been said, "not all disabilities are immediately visible", and, as a badge holder yourself, you MUST know that badges aren't handed out willy-nilly.

A.Haycock    2 days ago

I checked the survey and found that it is only aimed at disabled motorists?

Surely if this survey was open to the general public greater pressure could be placed on the enforcement of these bays.

A simpler method of reporting non-disabled people who abuse these bays should be made available.

Remember though some disabilities are not obvious.

STEVEOBMWF90    2 days ago

Anyway, back to topic. As the wife was placing her blue badge on the dash, the family next to us ( in a blue bay) where getting out of their car. That is when I heard one of the worst things I had heard on this subject. One of the little girl asked her daddy about the blue badge my wife was placing on our dash. The reply from that little girls parents were so discussing in my view, her parents told her: ‘“we don't need one on them”.
I looked at them with a fave of discussed. Not only was the family parking in a disabled bay but he told his little girl a bold faced lie to his child. I wanted his young daughter to know the truth but my wife suggested I leave it.

I reported it to the supermarket manager but he said there is nothing he can do. He told us he is fully aware that the bays are often misused but admitted they do not get involved.
I contacted head office, who suggested the are patrolled but I do know that is not quite true ( my friend worked there). So lets just say this as it is: many people don't care, as well as the supermarkets, police and local authorities. They are not interested and that is why people with certain attitudes will ise these bays, knowing little to nothing will come of it, and if you the disabled person mentions it to the other all you get is f off whilst they walk away laughing.

conman    yesterday

very easy solution the supermarket sign up and become a public right of way thus removing it from private land and becoming a public area then the Police could act. But what Police I hear you say, exactly.

TedTom    2 days ago

Someone, mentioned mother and toddler bays. I find these are also abused. They should be for children up to a certain age group. You don't need a mother and toddler bay, for a 12-year-old. There are people who are unable to obtain a blue badge, people with spine problems, but are able to walk just over 50 yards. Mostly they are our senior citizens. There should be bays allocated for them. With the said problem, try getting out of a space, with only six inches between cars, where you find it hard to twist your back.

Joyce Robinson    2 days ago

I have a disabled bay outside my house which is situated on a busy road. It is continuously being used by driving instructors teaching their pupils parallel parking, ( very annoying when I have just returned from shopping etc., )and refusing to move until they are good and ready whilst I am in desperate need of a comfort break, apart from the inconvenience to me, surely a bad example to their pupils! I have spoken to disability action about this problem and found their response to say the least seriously in adequate.

Paul Jenkinz    yesterday

1 carers can use blue badge bays if going to pick up medication shopping etc for a disabled person

and 2 you say in your view too many people get blue badges....how the hell do you know if someone is disabled or not you cant always see a disability people with anxiety can get them too plus other medical reasons stop typing such nonsense Andy

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