Disabled parking is the motorist's battleground

We don’t yet know the whys and wherefores of the tragic incident in Asda's car park, but we do know that when a resource is scarce, conflict often ensues

Share

We had my blue badge with us when we visited our local Tesco at the weekend. We had it, but we didn’t use it.

Tired and in pain, I had opted to stay in car with Five Live for company and seeing that there were only one or two spaces available we thought it best that we leave them available to someone who was actually intending to get out of their vehicle. My wife said that she and our two children could easily walk the extra five or ten metres this would entail.

She returned from the store fuming: Of the ten or so spaces available just three of the cars in them were actually displaying blue badges. Based on that, the chances were that we’d probably ended up leaving the vacant space I was entitled to use legally, but not morally because I was staying in the car, for the able bodied but idle.

As she returned Five’s breathless newsreader had just got to the tragic events of the weekend when a heated row between two men in the disabled spaces at an Asda had tragically resulted in the death of one of them.

Look, we don’t yet know the whys and wherefores of what police described yesterday as “an argument about nothing”.

But we do know that, as a general point, when a resource is scarce conflict follows. Disabled spaces at supermarkets are becoming scarce because they are increasingly being snaffled up by people who can’t be bothered to walk, depriving people who either can’t walk or who find it extremely difficult.

And the supermarkets don’t care. They’re afraid that fining the lowlives who pinch disabled spots will result in them taking their custom elsewhere or, in extremis, that if they did take action it would create a fuss, leaving them open to charges that they’re joining bungling town hall bureaucrats in their assault on the poor, picked upon, motorist.

This is where the gleeful populism of local government secretary Eric Pickles and his colleagues leads; the creation of a general perception that all parking restrictions can and should be ignored and if that means some disabled person has to walk a bit, tough, right coz they’re probably scroungers anyway.

I’ve written before that younger badge holders often take flak from older ones, and some non-badge holders, who think that we are trying it on. The Paralympian Kylie Grimes tweeted her distress about one such incident not long after the games, commenting wearily upon how quickly goodwill had drained away.

I’m not as disabled as the frankly incredible quadraplegic wheelchair rugby player, but I know that feeling. My family has had it when we park in a disabled space before I alight and they can see my sticks and the chunky caliper I wear most of the time.

Blue badges aren’t easy to come by. Only a tiny percentage of people who have them are cheats. The fishy looks are best focused on those who shamelessly use disabled spaces without any need to.

I’m not the sort of person who particularly enjoys public confrontation (except in print or on the radio). But I have started to take exception to these people. It’s risky, and it can lead to unpleasant situations, but I’ve had enough. It’s necessary.

Look, I don’t want the damn badge. I’d be delighted to be in a position where walking was easy. But it isn’t, and a parking space close to a shop is therefore something that I need. The same for other badge holders.

Laziness is not a disability but because of it those spaces are becoming scarce resources. When resources become scarce conflict ensues. With potentially tragic results.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Office Administrator - Full or Part Time

£14600 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 2003 the company...

Recruitment Genius: Social Media & Content Marketing Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing, Google certi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 business...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has won the award ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
V&A museum in London  

Celebrating the cultural impact of PR at the V&A

Danny Rogers
 

Daily catch-up: will this be the election result? And other Questions To Which The Answer Is No

John Rentoul
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn