I was speaking to a friend yesterday who recently took a trip to Wales by train with her daughter who is about 5. She experienced a businessman knock her daughter out of the way with his briefcase as he barged his way onto a train that they were trying to disembark from, and when having a word with said man got a mouthful like she was in the wrong for having a child on the train.
As their journey continued via the underground across London she found her LG a seat on the tube and stood talking to her as it was quite a long journey they were on the tube for. At one station a person got off who was sat next to her LG and as she went to sit down a lady who had been stood next to her pushed her out of the way so that she could sit down.
It really does sadden me that our tolerance for fellow human beings has regressed in a lot of places to prehistoric man where it was every man, woman and child for himself. There is a new generation of children who are being taught that respect and consideration for others is no longer important sometimes from their parents and then at other times by experiencing incidents like those I have described above from the society that surrounds them. Is it any wonder generation by generation it gets worse and worse if adults all around show so much disrespect.
I grew up in a Town where yes we were kids, and yes we were teenagers having fun but we never did any real harm, now week after week there are reports of shops and cars being vandalised. Even to the extent that last weekend a group of unknown people (so that could be any age, sex race etc etc) damaged a load of roadwork signs that were on a pathway and threw them into the road blocking of a bridge that is notorious for flooding (hence the work being carried out). By blocking this road off it blocks a large portion of the town off. The result this weekend was that the first car to experience the block off was a paramedic first responder on their way to someone with severe chest pains. The had to stop and spend 15 minutes clearing a path to get their patient. Fortunately the patient is fine, but it could have been so different! It could be anybodies relative whose life was put in danger that evening!
I know I have blogged about disabled parking bay abuse before but yesterday it sunk to yet a new low. We went to a local park where there are 4 disabled parking bays (the park I am talking about in my blog series Let Battle Commence. All the bays were full, 50% of which were not displaying blue badges. This is infuriating so I decided to keep an eye out for the people returning. One car was displaying a staff parking permit for a local leisure centre that is being reconstructed and have had to move their aerobic classes off site, but it was displayed as if I can use my staff permit to park here!
Now before I go on these are some of the excuses I have seen, heard or read about previous blogs with regards to blue badge holders and disabled bays being used
- The bays are never always all in use
- There’s always more disabled (BB) bays than parent and toddler (P&T) bays and that should be the other way round (although a recent count at my usual supermarket has 11 BB to 12 P&T)
- It is probably parents who need the space to open their car doors if the P&T ones are full.
- I’m only going to be quickly running in and out I’ll be 5 minutes tops.
- There are plenty of people using BB who do not look disabled
- BB badge holders park in P&T spaces
- Many people abuse BB’s and use a relatives even if they are not out with them.
- Parking spaces aren’t big enough nowadays
In response to the above a few of my own thoughts that if they upset or offend I apologise but BB bays are designed for people with Disabilities end of.
- Just because you do not see them all in use, doesn’t mean they aren’t at some points always in use. Remember it is very difficult for some disabled people to get out, some people arrange to meet in groups to help each other and turn out en masse. Some people go out and see the bays full and go home depressed and hermit for weeks before trying again.
- It is a legal requirement and a necessity for disabled people to have bays that can get a variety of mobility aids alongside, or to have a shorter distance to walk. It is not a legal requirement nor a necessity for there to be P&T bays it is a convenience or added extra.
- If it is parents who need space for their cars, I would say to you, the car parks are very rarely full so if you really need two bays park further away where there are two bays free and put your children in a trolley and push them across the car park (Disabled people do not have the ability to walk this distance). If your children are too big for a trolley and can walk do you really need to open your doors that wide to get car seats in and out?
- All the BB holders I know would give their limbs to be able to run in and out quickly in 5 minutes, this is just a massive insult!
- Disabilities are invisible, just because you cannot see it, does not mean it is not there. For example people who have had large areas of their intestines and bowels removed so can get short at the last minute have blue badges so they can park close and dash in to use the toilet as opposed to mess themselves in public. Many spinal injuries are invisible, the list is endless.
- BB holders often always have their BB’s on display and can be parents too so they could quite legitimately be in a P&T bay. If they are not with children, my opinion is they should not park there and should be asked to move.
- Anyone abusing BB or a BB parking bay should in my opinion be fined. There is no excuse, and BB are removed from people if their relatives abuse them and use them when they are not with them. This however goes two ways, people parking in BB without a badge should also be fined. As for the parents needing the space, many parents should question themselves do I really need the bay. I see people regularly parking in them with children 8+ well they don’t need to use them. My wife doesn’t use them now with our nearly 3 year old because she opens the door and then holds her hand whilst they walk across the car park!
- If spaces aren’t big enough as cars are now bigger start a campaign, the internet is a wonderful thing for this to gather support and signatures, and start demanding that companies make their spaces bigger, do not abuse someone else’s necessity to be able to shop.
No doubt that will have opened a can of worms but there you go, nor do I claim that I didn’t use the spaces before my blue badge was issued so I exercise caution when approaching people. I do however know that I didn’t park in disabled bays before I was made disabled in my car accident, and that I survived my childhood when my mum was a single mum with 3 children for a large part of it, and didn’t have the benefit of P&T spaces.
So we return to the two people in question yesterday. As we went past the hall at the park there was an aerobic class going on, surely the aerobics instructor hadn’t parked in a disabled bay????? Well my wife struggled to push me over the grass to the playground, coming close to tipping me out twice and it was a good job our camera has a zoom lens as once in the playground I couldn’t get around in my wheelchair to watch my LG and our friends LG play as the ground was awful and I could not get close enough to take pictures of them as they ran around.
I kept an eye on the disabled bay area and sure enough after the aerobic class had finished out came a well muscled man wearing a top reading “Fit for Purpose” carrying yoga/cool down mats to his car with a female companion, running back and forth whilst doing so. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Now I know carrying the mats a little further from the main car park would have been a minor inconvenience for them but this would have been less of an inconvenience than it is for a wheelchair user to push themselves over a gravel car park. They could even have pulled up close to the building unload, go park and then do the same to fill up afterwards, but to park in a disabled bay whilst taking an aerobic class, I ask you? Well the zoom lens came in handy there as I took images of the people and have forwarded them vie email onto their employer asking them to put them on some Equality and Diversity training. A little extreme some may say, but if it makes the person think twice about doing it again it will be worth it. I could in this digital age have put their images all over their employers social media sites and on here! I haven’t I’ve been discreet and this is enough.
The other person, one of the adults playing Sunday league football over the park. I know the parking is limited and it can be infuriating finding somewhere to park (especially as I used to play football there before my car accident) but people pig parking and there being only spaces a long way away does not mean use a disabled bay. Of course the other thing could be the person forgot to display a blue badge and is defrauding the government pretending to be disabled when they are not. In which case Adam Hills made a good case on @TheLastLeg about spotting these people and dealing with them on Friday night. Again I have photo’s and I could display them but I fear doing so as I do not know the legalities surrounding do so.
What I do know having heard about and experienced all this inconsiderate behaviour and excuses etc that I’ve blogged about is that at least being inconsiderate and disrespectful isn’t just directed at disabled people, it seems sadly as a nation that we are becoming less tolerant of each other. This saddens me greatly 😦