Acting against drivers who abuse handicapped spots

| 16/10/2016

Please can you tell me what I can do to stop drivers parking in blue spots and make sure they get prosecuted? I have been taking photos and posting them on Facebook so have evidence that police could use.

Auntie’s answer: What a well-timed question, coming on the heels of last week’s passing of the Disabilities Bill in the Legislative Assembly (See Solomon Webster disabilities bill passes unanimously).

But before I answer, I feel I should offer full disclosure: As pet peeves go, able drivers who park in handicapped – or blue – spots fall very near or at the top of my list. I hedge my bets slightly because there are clearly worse offences that people can be guilty of, but on an everyday basis, this one has the potential to affect a fair number of some of our most vulnerable residents. I have also written about this issue before (See Misuse of handicapped parking spots).

To reiterate my opinion, there is no excuse for able-bodied drivers parking in a blue spot – not rain, not lack of availability of regular spaces, not “I’m only parking for a minute” or “I’m picking someone up”. When a disabled person needs to park, they need to park. His or her need beats everyone else’s convenience. Every time. End of story.

Despite, and maybe because of, my strong feelings, I decided to let Chelsea Rivers, a well-known advocate of the rights of people with disabilities to answer your question. Ms Rivers is the founder of The Blue Spot Facebook page, which you referred to in your question and is dedicated to “naming and shaming” drivers who illegally park in spots designated for disabled people.

“Unfortunately we have not been able to come to an agreement with the RCIPS in terms of prosecuting offenders,” Ms Rivers said, explaining that the police have advised they cannot issue tickets based on photos.

While pointing out the clear photographic evidence of a car with exposed licence plate parking illegally in a handicapped spot, Ms Rivers acknowledged that there would be no corresponding confirmation of the timing of the offence.

“But we’ve offered our assistance – even suggesting several ‘deputised citizens’ like ourselves who would be happy to police regular offending places,” she said.

Along those lines, The Blue Spot has created flyers that can be downloaded from its Facebook page to place on a windscreen that tell the offender he or she has done something illegal. “The police have advised that they will show up to ticket the vehicle once called. And sometimes they actually do. If you wait long enough,” Ms Rivers explained.

She added that the RCIPS is “very familiar” with the dissatisfaction of the process expressed by advocates like herself and the lack of what they would consider “a real effort to enforce the law and give it the teeth it needs”.

But there is reason for optimism that this situation could improve. She said she has been approached by the police to have the RCIPS, The Blue Spot and the Special Needs Foundation join together to “educate, revamp spaces, and even meet with planning (who doesn’t provide enforcement of the spaces once the certificate of occupancy is given)”.

Ms Rivers explained the last point refers to the problem of an establishment satisfying the requirement of providing handicapped parking but, in some cases, converting those spaces back to a regular spot after planning approval has been granted. And there is no apparent follow-up to confirm continued compliance.

At this point, I feel it is important to at least maintain a public conversation about this issue and continue to hope that with education and awareness, we will eventually run out of drivers to name and shame.

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    XXXXX van at governors square not in the blue bays but blocking them both and the ramp to the chamber of commerce. Rang XXXX they said sorry but he has to deliver parcels. There were over 20 spare spots really close by and the boxes he has carrying was just 1 envelope.
    What a Muppet

    CNS: Sorry, I can’t name the company unless you have a photo as proof.

  2. Animaliberator says:

    This is nonsense. A picture taken is just as valid as CCTV. Once the license number has been obtained, verify the validity of the person owning this car whether or not he/she is indeed authorized to use the blue spot. Just in case the Handicap ID tag is not there for some reason which must be clearly displayed, usually hanging from the rear view mirror. If the are, fine. If not, fine them. I am also pretty sure that if there is some reason for illegally using the spot, the RCIPS will use their discretion.
    I’ll bet however, once fined, they will never do it again. Put this on the news to spread the word that action will be taken if you break the law. Bad news spreads really fast.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was at Fosters the other day and someone in a big white truck parked not in the handicapped space but on the lines between the two spaces which I consider the worst, as a disabled person in a wheelchair would not be able to use either handicapped spot and trust me it is not a simple task pushing a wheelchair from the back to the front of Fosters Countryside.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is all about mentality! Nowhere else in a civil world people would even think about parking in a handicapped spot.
    And remember-disability is not just broken and missing body parts. Heart disease, MS, dysautonomia “aka but you look so good”, vestibular disorders are invisible disabilities and can affect very young and good looking people.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Nowhere else in a civil world…?? “Obviously this writer has not traveled, especially to the US. In the Miami area alone, rudeness is the rule of the road, including using handicapped parking spaces without any consideration for others. And it seems an awful lot of undeserving people everywhere have access to those blue handicapped permits..

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a person with disabilities, I find it very offensive that I am supposed to label myself in order to park anywhere. If you think you are doing a favor for a person with limitations, then you are very selfish.
    If a vehicle is left unattended and not able to move as the need arise for someone with the “sticker” to park, then that is a situation. However if every time someone drives up to get a cup of coffee or a Police office does the same, do they always have to look like criminals and that they have done something so awful?
    Moral and illegal is a very big difference and have the line on each other.
    I do not condone the immorality of parking in a disable parking spot. But those same person with the sticker for a family or other member , will abuse that spot over and over, even when the disabled person is not in the vehicle. So what gives them that right? So exactly who gets the benefit of the parking? The hypocrites of this “blue spot”.

    And a final conclusion, since it has happened. How about the time when I try to use the “blue spot” and it is filled, only to see the caregiver of the disabled person alone and waving while walking into the supermarket. Did they realize I might want to park or use the spot. So what do I do? I drive to the furthest parking with enough open space and I help myself out of the vehicle and hobble down to the supermarket to get my prescriptions. I don’t take pictures of them and post to show that they are abusing the spot.

    Is there no mercy for a Pregnant woman stopping in for a few quick supplies on the way to the hospital since the water broke, because of stress due to the FB pictures of her vehicle being parked in a disabled zone trying to buy a few baby clothes?
    Is this an immoral or an illegal act? Should we let her have the child in prison?

    • Anonymous says:

      You have got to be kidding. Now I understand why laws are not enforced in the Cayman Islands.

      “Offensive” to be labeled disabled? Oh, dear, when you are disabled this kind of thoughts don’t cross your mind. Your thoughts are on “would I be able to walk those few steps and come back”. Although severely incapacitated many often appear well.

      “will abuse that spot over and over”…it takes one to know one.

      7:26 pm, Your comment is really disturbing. Even sickening.

      I believe in karma. She is a

    • Anonymous says:

      OMG If your water broke you shouldn’t be driving yourself to the hospital and NO, don’t stop for ‘quick supplies’!! Get your hiney to the hospital.
      And NO, no matter what, you cannot park in a blue spot unless you are disabled. NO! Not even for a second.

      • Anonymous says:

        Then let us enforce the Law. If you have a sticker and you do not have the disabled person in the Vehicle, You are breaking the law.
        You are not allowed to get a cup of coffee or take up the 2 or 3 parking spaces designated for handicapped.
        I have never had any situation where I have asked someone to move the vehicle in order that I can park in the spot that they have refused.

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually if the disabled person is not in the car you are not always breaking the law. If i take my disabled son to school, park in a blue spot and help him out and into the building when I return to the car he is not with me. However this is allowed. But using his badge to get a cup of coffee or if its raining and he is not with me would be totally unacceptable.