This is a disabled parking bay…

This is a disabled parking bay. There are four of them at my son’s school. They are close to the school entrance and they are wider than normal bays. Doesn’t it look inviting?

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This is my son Benjamin’s blue badge. I had to apply for it, and pay for it. Many disabled people have to fight for it. It entitles me to park in the disabled bays at my son’s school (and anywhere else) when I have him with me and he will be getting out of the vehicle, or when I will be picking him up and putting him into the vehicle.

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These are four of the cars that were parked in the disabled spaces at my son’s school today. None of them is displaying a blue badge.

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Maybe their drivers aren’t aware that although this isn’t a public road the school still enforces the blue badge scheme? Maybe they thought they had a good reason to park in the disabled bays – all four of them? Maybe they were short of time? Maybe they’re just lazy? Well, in case any of them are reading this…

Here are some of the reasons I need to park in these bays:

  • Benjamin comes with a lot of equipment: not just a wheelchair, but a feeding pump, suction pump, medications, syringes, nappies. More equipment than I can fit on his wheelchair, which means I have to push it with one hand. The further I have to push it with one hand, the less safe that journey is for him. If I have my other children with me, well, they just have to take their chances.
  • If I have to park in a normal parking space (if I can get one), it is too narrow to get Benjamin’s wheelchair alongside the car. This means I have to park it (and him in it) behind the car, in the path of other vehicles looking for their own parking spaces.
  • If I have to park in a normal parking space (if I can get one), it is too narrow to get Benjamin’s wheelchair alongside the car. This means I have to carry him (all 18 kilos of him) round to the back of the car. I don’t mind the damage to my back. What I do mind is the risk of pulling out his feeding tube, which won’t stretch from his seat to behind the car. If his feeding tube is pulled out, he has to undergo an operation under general anaesthetic to replace it. When Benjamin undergoes an operation under general anaesthetic, he usually comes back ventilated and in intensive care.
  • If I have to park on the road (which I usually do, because if the disabled bays are full you can bet it’s because all the non-disabled bays are full), all of the above apply, plus I have to carry Benjamin out into the path of oncoming traffic.
  • If I have to park on the road, the likelihood is someone else will park so close up to the back of my car that I won’t be able to open the boot, let alone get Benjamin’s wheelchair into it.
  • One of Benjamin’s problems is that he cannot control his own temperature. In the extra time it takes me to get him out of a warm car into his buggy and under a blanket if the buggy is at the back of the car and not beside the door, he can become hypothermic. In the extra time it takes me to push the buggy from the main road to the school, he can become hypothermic. An extra couple of minutes in the cold can mean several hours of struggling to get his temperature and heart rate stabilized at a normal level.
  • If Benjamin becomes suddenly ill, which he does, often, without warning, and dangerously, I need to be able to pick him up and get him into the car and off to hospital, pronto. I may not have time to wait for an ambulance. I may not have time to drive around looking for a parking space, walk round the corner from that parking space to the school, and push Benjamin back round that corner to the car. Minutes count.

Here are some of the reasons you may not need to park in these bays:

  • You are not disabled
  • You don’t have a blue badge
  • You don’t have a disabled child
  • You don’t have a pile of medical equipment to transport
  • You can walk 100 yards without getting hypothermic (no, that’s not an exaggeration)
  • You can self-transfer to your car seat
  • You don’t need to get a wheelchair into your boot (God forbid need enough space to use a ramp or hoist…)

Now, you may think ‘I’m only parking there for a minute.’ But if that minute is the minute when Benjamin and I arrive at school, you’ve put us in an unsafe situation for the whole day.

You may think this is a small, petty issue. But this issue puts my son, and many others like him (after all, this is a school with a special unit attached that caters for children with severe and complex needs from across the county) at risk.

Please, think again. Thank you.

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35 thoughts on “This is a disabled parking bay…

  1. My elderly and not very mobile mum has a Blue Badge. We managed to get one in the previous county in which she lived, then we had to go through the whole procedure again to get it renewed when she came to live round the corner from us. It wasn’t easy, and we share your frustration when we take her to the supermarket – it’s the ‘I’m just popping in for a couple of items, it won’t matter if I use the disabled spaces’ shoppers who are the problem. And when I challenge them, I get a torrent of abuse!! Thanks for this excellent blog post which should be widely shared.

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    • Thank you! Yes I try to challenge people but, like you, I often get a load of foul language back and end up feeling like I’ve done something wrong! Easier to blog about it…

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  2. My son started a campaign called Space Invaders. We had lots of posters printed & place them on cars that are parked in disabled parking bays with no blue badge.
    Completely agree with everything you say here.

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  3. I have a Blue Badge, I’m 47 and up until 2014 had been in good health until swine flu nearly killed me. I have to use crutches to walk which gives me a “visible” disability now but I have a friend with an invisible one and she’s had horrible notes left on her car even though she has a Blue Badge.
    I’ve re-blogged your post on my own blog.

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    • It’s a bit of a mine field isn’t it? I always try and be polite when challenging someone and start by saying something like ‘did you forget to put your blue badge out’ just in case they really did! Often end up getting a torrent of insults though… A bit more tolerance all round would help. Thanks so much for reblogging x

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  4. Many years ago, whilst the orange badge was still in use I worked at a supermarket, it only had 5 disabled parking bays, these bays were in front of other shops (pub, newsagent, car parts, dry cleaners and a clothes shop), selfish idiots would use these bays to park in when popping into any of those shops during lunch break, I asked management if there was anything we could do to stop selfish idiots abusing these spaces, they didn’t want to know, I took it upon myself to do something about it, I invited orange badge holders to block the abusers cars in, or if I caught the person parking I would often confront them, when I couldn’t get a genuine orange badge holder to block the driver in I would block them in using shopping trollies and I would place parking cones on the roof of their cars, only a few ever complained, and of those who complained they never got an apology from me or the company.
    Like the supermarket, this school isn’t on the public highway, I suggest blocking the cars in, don’t rush, take as much time is needed for you and the family to go about your business safely, and if that means dragging out your time inconveniencing the selfish idiots then so be it.

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  5. Our school has a disabled bay and the school has the same issues. It sucks that people don’t understand the fight you have to go through to get a badge. That people get a badge for a reason and it’s not just so you get a bigger parking spot to not get scratched and it’s not for you to have so that you don’t have to walk so far. One day people will understand Well I hope they will

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  6. Reblogged this on happyiihgirl and commented:
    Whilst I’m mending from my op, I thought I’d share this incredibly well written and very important message about parking in disabled badge holder spaces! I will be writing about this myself soon!

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  7. take all your points – but i think it is worth remembering the badge scheme is for public roads ! When parking in a supermarket or any such place it is clearly wrong that fully able bodied people park there – but because such spaces are not legally covered by the blue badge scheme (which is for public roads and spaces only) a wider definition of disability might well prevail in private car parks such as schools and supermarkets . For the recently disabled, those still struggling through the process of getting their blue badge , those with chronic illness but failing the definition of disabled such spaces are a lifeline . I used the supermarket disabled spaces recently after breaking several vertebrae and an rib though i did not have a blue badge I also did so once before when injury made me a wheel chair user but not for long enough to get a badge! I won’t hesitate to use them if picking up or collecting a disabled friend. However i would not use on road or other spaces regulated by the blue badge scheme if i don’t have a badge. Normally however i like to park in the furthest parking place in the car park – not only avoiding labelled disabled spaces but also all the standard spaces – leaving them for those less fit than me – and i enjoy the walk !

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    • On private sites, it is up to the site operator/owner to specify whether they honor the blue badge scheme or not. At our school, it clearly states the disabled bays are for blue badge holders only. Thanks for your comment.

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  8. It’s just as bad here in Australia. People “borrowing” a friend or relative’s blue badge, popping in for a minute to the shops etc. workmen are the worst offenders, parking near the job! (On rare occasions they get dispensation, but they have to display a permit). All this despite the risk of a $350 fine, which I think should be at least ten times more. I have a sticker in my car’s back window, which says “Yes I can park here – not all disabilities are visible.”

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  9. love this, we have the same problem and it is one of my bug bear’s, when my daughter was at mainstream I ended up parking to block the person in so that eventually people got the hint as they would ” quickly ” park there they told me and wouldn’t be long, so when they were blocked in it made them think twice about doing it
    I also used to print on paper and put it on a car windscreen ” You have taken my disabled space, would you like to take my disability too?”
    The other classic at our school was the person was parked in the disabled bay and still sitting in the car, the person getting out of the car to drop the child off was not disabled!!! They parked there cos it was more convenient!! Who for? If the person getting out the car isn’t disabled then don’t use the space for it to be convenient for someone else!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: We are the 57% | The long chain

  11. I totally agree with your post but i just want to say that i have a disabled badge but not a wheelchair – i can self transfer to my seat but it is an awkard thing to do as i have difficulty lifting one leg up. My disability is unseen but i find it hard to walk any distance and if i do my skin on my legs splits open and bleeds. Not everyone who uses a disabled space is visible but bottom line if you don’t have a badge then you don’t get to park in a disabled spot. I will share your post far and wide.

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  12. A person I met at quite a swanky health club feels just as we do.Her husband has a disability, and she is always checking for blue badges in the disabled bays.One day, very frustrated again by the situation, she got out her rather expensive lipstick and wrote on an offenders windscreen-“disabled parking only xx” which I thought was rather splendid!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Fantastic post and have shared on my Facebook page. I am so sorry that you have this issue and that there are so many unthoughtful people out there. #accesslinky

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  14. Pingback: This is a disabled parking bay… — The long chain | Simple Things

  15. Pingback: This is a disabled parking bay… — The long chain | Hart Residents Community Website

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