Disabled parking abuse

In the January 6 edition we included readers’ comments about their experiences on the road over the festive season.

There was a mix of responses, with some saying they had only had pleasant experiences with other motorists, and others raising familiar complaints about drivers not using their indicators, ignoring road signs and overtaking on solid white lines, among other things.

Something else which keeps rearing its nasty head is the abuse of parking bays intended for the disabled, which happened frequently over the holiday period.

Local resident Doug Jennings is a crusader for reservation of such parking bays for the truly disabled, and over the years has submitted many photographs of offenders, as well as relating unpleasant encounters with people who were unapologetic when confronted.

There are few such parking bays in Port Alfred, so it is no wonder the same places are abused again and again. One is the disabled bay next to Guido’s at West Beach, which lazy and clearly able-bodied beachgoers decided to use, ignoring the sign marking it as specifically for use by the disabled. Having a hangover from the previous night’s partying does not count.

The other frequently abused bays are at Rosehill Mall, which are also clearly marked. This is just flagrant disregard by selfish, lazy people.

While abuse of the disabled parking bays raises the most ire, Rosehill has other bays marked for special use by the elderly and “moms and tots”. It would be amusing were it not pathetic, to see how many non-elderly motorists park in the bays for the elderly, and how many childish adults use the moms and tots bays.

Does it really pain them so much to park in one of the many, many normal parking bays and walk a little further? Even at its busiest days over the holiday season, there was always parking available at Rosehill. You just had to park a little further from the entrance and do without the shade you may have been seeking for your car.

Mall security should really be jacked up to put a stop to the abuse of especially the bays for the disabled. A firm, “no, you cannot park here” will go a long way.

Heritage Mall at least tries to control this with its use of orange cones to block anyone parking in such bays until a disabled driver comes along, at which a security guard will lift the cone.

And to the people who have abused such parking bays, do some introspection and try to be better human beings.

– Jon Houzet

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