The problem with disabled parking

No bikes on Bondi BeachIn Bondi, signage has a mysterious quality. It is there. You need not pay any attention to it though.

Take for example the photograph to the left. I couldn’t resist shooting a pic of the no bicycle sign with not one, but two bikes attached to the bottom. Only in Australia!

The second example was not quite as funny. Andrew and I were trawling the carpark for a space. There were a number of standard parks available, however Andrew needs to use either the wider wheelchair park (so he can get the chair beside the car) or one on the end where no one can park him in.

Finally we located two wide parking spaces reserved for people with a disability. One was taken, the other was thankfully free. As we pulled in we both noticed the guy parked in the first disabled space. He was standing beside his SUV putting on a wetsuit.

Now that’s ok, you don’t have to have ‘faulty’ legs to qualify for a disabled car space. You can be capable of standing. You could have a lung problem limiting the distance you can walk; or something else not immediately apparent to the eye.

I said to Andrew as we pulled into the space next to it… ‘leave it, I think he has a permit.’ (Andrew had vowed long ago never to get into a stoush with anyone sporting a permit… no matter how sporting they looked).

My words were too late. The guy was putting on that wetsuit with just a little too much athleticism. Andrew piped up: ‘Hey mate, you know you’re parked in a disabled spot? Do you have a permit?’ A simple yes would have sufficed.

He didn’t go the simple route.

Instead, he started to rant ‘What’s it to you? You better watch the way you talk to people; it’s none of your business where I park… What are you complaining about? You got a park. And yeah, I’ve got a permit’

There was no denying it. Andrew was rankled. His ire had been pricked.

It was maddening to watch this guy continue to put on his wetsuit, pick up his surfboard and run a few hundred metres down the beach.

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt however in this case, I remain convinced that it certainly wasn’t his permit, which really annoys me. Actually that’s a bit tame. It quite frankly, pisses me off.

We did proceed to have a fantastic night on the promenade taking photographs; once the steam coming out of Andrew’s ears subsided that is. I thought I was over it too. Then I came home last night to see that Andrew had posted his frustration on his facebook page. A number of his friends – some disabled, some not – joined in his rant. This only ruffled my annoyance once more. Indeed so much so that I spent a good half hour reading government websites about how to make complaints about people exploiting the system. (Apparently I can order some government sponsored flyers which say something like ‘being lazy is not a disability.’ Hmm… yeah, the flyer on the windscreen is going to make a great deal of difference. Unless, it comes with a very strong adhesive so they have the message permanently planted across the window.)

If they had a permit, would I want to stick a flyer under their wiper? I’d find that tough. What if they genuinely needed the space and I’d judged them too quickly? I feel for those who have been heckled because they don’t have a wheelchair, a cane or crutches. They could have only have 20% of their lungs working. (If that were the case I doubt they’d be running down the beach with their surfboard though). But I also know – ok, suspect – that the number of people using someone else’s permit is plentiful. Perhaps I should make my own signs.

‘Your permit is for the cripple; don’t leave home without him!’

Ok, I think I’ve got that out of my system not. Anger is a short madness. Well at least according to Horace it is.

Here’s a photograph I took on the way to Bondi – before the incident – I only wish ‘love’ had stayed in the air.
Love in Bondi

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Posted on February 1, 2012, in Disability, Photography and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. My mother has a disabled parking badge and so many times we have had to park somewhere unsuitable as others have taken the disabled spots with no permit. Then once, when we were in Ireland and there was a huge, free car park, we realised we had left the badge at the house. My cousin parked in the disabled bay anyway so that mum could get out of the car and into the wheelchair. When we got back, there was a very polite and official note on the car telling us not to do it again.

  2. Have your message printed on a sticker. Then he will have the devil of a time getting it off. If you are nice, put it on the glass. If not, put it on the paint.

  1. Pingback: Uki Guesthouse: the home away from home « the scroobious pip

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