Disabled drivers face 'dismissive culture' over parking across Harrogate

More than 1,500 people were caught illegally parking in disabled spaces
More than 1,500 people were caught illegally parking in disabled spaces
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Dismissive attitudes towards disabled drivers across the district is forcing people to abandon their journeys says a disability charity.

Disability Action Yorkshire have said that while local and county councils have strong measures in place to prevent people from parking in disabled spaces a lack of consideration from fellow drivers is making it difficult for disabled people to travel by car.

More public awareness on why blue badge drivers may need more room to exit their vehicles and what impact using a disabled space could have is needed says Chief Executive Jackie Snape, adding that alterations to spaces could also provide much needed support.

She said: "The two main issues are the need for wider bays for wheelchair users and the distance from buildings/facilities for disabled people with mobility or breathing difficulties. It is not as simple as finding another parking space a bit further away or parking in less wide space – for some people that just isn’t an option."

She added: "Unfortunately there is still a culture of “I’m only popping in for a minute, so I’ll just park here its quicker". What people don’t realise is that by doing that they may well be causing a disabled person to abandon their journey and go home, which may well increase the sense of social isolation that many disabled people report."

Figures obtained by the Advertiser show that since 2015 fines totalling more than £462,000 were issued by North Yorkshire County and Harrogate Borough Council against 1,537 drivers, who illegally parked in on-street and council owned car parks.

Private car parks also present there own set of issues say DAY, who point out the legal standing of a blue badge does not apply in them . Under the Equality Act, 2010, a provider is required to make sure accessible bays are being used by disabled people, but the only recourse they have is to issue a private fine.