Do you have small children? Have you ever found yourself at the supermarket and there are no parent and child spaces? Do you get angry when you see someone with no children in the car pull into one of these spaces and wander into the store without a care in the world?
Have you walked down a high street and seen somebody park within the zig zags of a pelican crossing, jumped out and dashed into the nearby shop?
Have you collected children from school and got angry at parents that park within the school markings or to avoid parking down the road and a bit of a walk they park right on junctions or in stupid places?
Have you ever walked along the footpath and notwithstanding a reasonably sized stretch of road a driver has driven up the kerb so far with two wheels that you have to walk in the road to get around it? Even worse if you have a buggy and a young child?
Have you driven along a road at the 30mph speed limit and become angry by somebody who is impatient and overtakes you at a dangerous point and at excess speed?
How do you feel when you see someone dump their McDonalds bag full of rubbish under their car and drive off instead of taking the short walk to the bin?
Do you get annoyed by people who jay walk amongst the traffic, especially with children in tow, when there is a pedestrian crossing 30m along the road where they could cross safely?
Do you get angry when someone who appears (and I use this word deliberately) to be physically fit and able who parks in a disabled bay at a supermarket without a badge?
Do you get angry when a 3 lane motorway becomes 2 and whilst everyone moves over in good time a selfish individual comes whizzing down the empty lane and forces their way in at the end. What about when your stuck in traffic and people choose to drive down the hard shoulder thereby blocking that too and preventing emergency services from getting through.
Our society is full of rules and regulations and just common courtesy and the above are just some examples of how many people pay no heed to them whatsoever. As in most cases the bulk of people behave as they should and it’s the minority that let the side down.
I tweeted a few days ago that as a traffic officer I regularly followed cars that had rubbish thrown from them. I would stop the driver and invite them to drive back to the litter and pick it up or face a prosecution. Very few took the prosecution route. I have also been known to wander into a restaurant to find the driver of car that was parked on a pedestrian crossing. I’ve parked up in places where speed has been identified as a problem and dealt robustly with those who put other road users and pedestrians at risk.
I don’t like it when selfish people show blatant disregard for rules and regulations at the expense of others. It gets my goat.
Today I sat in the supermarket car park waiting for littlest to wake up. Directly facing me were the disabled parking bays. The supermarket was busy and cars and customers were busy coming and going. Whilst sat there I saw a Citroen Berlingo type vehicle pull into the parking bay. The car had clearly been adapted to allow a lift or ramp for a wheelchair at the rear. It also had prominent stickers requesting plenty of clearance at the back to allow room for the equipment. The driver, who was on his own, parked up, got out of the car and jogged into the supermarket. I tweeted about this. The responses were very interesting. Some felt it was wrong, some were rude and others told me I was being judgemental as some disabilities are invisible.
As the tweets began to flow I continued to watch. Parked to my right in another disabled bay was an Audi A3. A young couple 25-30yrs walked up to the car. They were walking at a brisk pace, appeared fit and healthy and were carrying a number of shopping bags and some flowers. They both got into the car and drove off. I tweeted about this too. I also tweeted that they had no blue badge showing. A short time later the original jogging driver returned to his car, dropped the shopping in the passenger side then jumped behind the wheel and drove off.
In the first case the vehicle was specially adapted. Somebody who used that car was clearly suitable for a blue badge. Was it the driver or another? I suspect another, particularly after he jogged into the store. However, I also accept that maybe he has an intermittent, invisible condition that sometimes means he needs the wheelchair. The fact of the matter is I don’t know.
The second case is somewhat more straightforward. I know for certain they had no blue badge displayed. Yet even so it could still be that one or both of the people were eligible. I accept and know that not everyone who qualifies for the blue badge scheme has visible signs of their disability. Maybe the driver qualified. Maybe she has a blue badge but had left it at home, in another car or just forgot to display it. The fact of the matter is I don’t know.
So why was I tweeting about such stuff? They were observations. Observations that I hoped would draw attention to the fact that some people (not particularly these two examples) selfishly use disabled bays when not entitled to and thereby prevent those who are entitled to park there from doing so. I have spent many years dealing with members of the public who selfishly put their convenience over and above the needs or safety of others. Just look at all the examples at the start.
Ask yourself if people park on double yellow lines, speed, run red lights, drink drive, use their phone whilst driving or fail to wear their seatbelt. There are obviously quite a few. Fortunately there are more people who park lawfully, drive at the limit, stop at red signals, stay sober, never use the phone whilst driving and always wear a seatbelt. It is inherent in the mindset of a section of our communities that the rules don’t apply to them. They can park where they like or drive as fast as they want because they are in a rush and if they fancy a pint then so be it. If we accept that people abuse all the matters I’ve just mentioned then we cannot rule out the fact that some people will also park in disabled bays when they shouldn’t and use a blue badge they are not entitled to.
My tweets today were not a criticism of people with disabilities whether visible or not. I don’t have an issue with lawful users of a sensible scheme. I didn’t say at any point that either use seen today was unlawful. What I did demonstrate (whether these cases were lawful or not – bearing in mind they were on a supermarket car park and not a road) was my anger at that small section of society who simply do as they please without any regard to the consequences or impact on others.
Is there something wrong with defending the rights of people who qualify to park in disabled bays over and above those who selfishly park there for their own convenience?