Can cars park between handicapped spots?

| 25/06/2019

In the attached photo taken at the hospital (see below), a car with a disabled tag (difficult to see in photo, but hanging on the rearview mirror) parked between two other legally parked vehicles in handicapped spots. The car in the middle was parked in the area marked for wheelchair access, thus blocking that designated lane. Would this be considered legal? What would be the police position on this?

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Auntie’s answer: Normally, when someone writes in complaining about a car wrongly parked in a handicapped spot, I offer unambiguous condemnation of the driver. But the situation you describe and show in the photo is a new one for me and poses a dilemma. On the face of it, the car has parked illegally, but the driver was disabled and I would guess there was not another handicapped spot available. It also isn’t obvious if the car in question, though in the wheelchair “lane”, was actually blocking access to the cars on either side.

An RCIPS spokesperson helped to clarify the issue. Since technically the car was not in a handicapped spot, the driver was not violating the law on disabled parking. However, section 118(2) of the Traffic Law says, “A person who places on a road, footpath or pavement an object or vehicle which obstructs that road, footpath or pavement and which is likely to cause danger to a person a person lawfully using the road, footpath or pavement… commits an offence.” So, while the car was not contravening the law on parking in a disabled spot, the driver could be ticketed for parking on a footpath.

Clearly, though, this situation was not straightforward, which the police also recognise. In fact, the spokesperson explained, “The Traffic Law allows for officers to show discretion where necessary. The Traffic and Roads Policing Unit approach to matters is to educate as well as enforce.

“However, if a member of the public makes a complaint, then the officers will respond and handle the matter as they deem appropriate and proportionate.” The spokesperson added that cars illegally parking in handicapped spaces “are offences that we have a very low tolerance for”. I couldn’t agree more with that stance.

I also appreciate that the police will consider the circumstances when deciding whether to ticket someone, since not all violations are created equal. In the instance described in the question, I only hope no other disabled person was inconvenienced. And, if the police ever come upon a similar situation and opt not to issue a ticket, I hope the officers could then have a conversation with the driver to determine what other options, if any, might have been available.  

The law mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

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Comments (6)

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  1. pete says:

    That’s an RCIPS officer who does not know what he is doing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You wrote: ” It also isn’t obvious if the car in question, though in the wheelchair “lane”, was actually blocking access to the cars on either side.”

    I’d observe that that’s quite irrelevant. The cars legally parked in the disabled spots on either side may change over time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Uh so if it’s not illegal, then how do wheelchairs get out of the vehicles. The entire spot including the side is considered a parking spot. Whoever responded to that needs training and understand the purpose of the blue spot.

  4. pete says:

    Actually those spaces are needed for handicap people as some have to come out the side of the vehicle on wheel chairs. If you park in those spots they cannot operate in such a manner.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It may not be “illegal” but is certainly an A$$H0LE move, you have to wonder how he lives with being such a D!CK !!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    please please do not do this my son has a wheelchair and would be stuck in this situation. The law needs to change in Cayman, in the uk a disabled person should use a disabled bay but can also park on a single yellow line. This gives them the best access and stops lack of bay issues. A disabled driver should know the issues and blocking in someone else who has a blue badge is totally unacceptable.

    However go to the pharmacy by hurleys any day and arrogant people are always blocking in the disabled space. I have no issue blocking cars who illegally park in the bay or across the access if i’m with my son and we need the space. The security guards down there don’t care either.