Media Gives Readers Bad Suggestion to Abuse Disability Parking

Today, Brisbane Times journalist, Nathanael Cooper, wrote about Nova presenter Mitch Lewis having his car towed after parking his car on private property at Westend. No big deal right? The towing company is authorised and the owner of the property has the right to have any unauthorised vehicles removed. Slow news day perhaps?

My issue with the article is when Cooper suggested to avoid hefty fees to retrieve your car, you’d be better off parking in a clearway or disability park on the street.

Image reads: RACQ confirmed that businesses were entitled to protect their parking spaces as long as there was clear signage posted, and that $550 was the standard rate for retrieving a car from a towing company. A quick check of Brisbane City Council's parking fines revealed drivers were better off parking illegally on the street than risking it on commercial premises. The highest parking fine, for parking in a clearway or in an area for disabled persons without a permit, costs less than half that of the going rate required by towing companies.

Image reads:
RACQ confirmed that businesses were entitled to protect their parking spaces as long as there was clear signage posted, and that $550 was the standard rate for retrieving a car from a towing company.
A quick check of Brisbane City Council’s parking fines revealed drivers were better off parking illegally on the street than risking it on commercial premises.
The highest parking fine, for parking in a clearway or in an area for disabled persons without a permit, costs less than half that of the going rate required by towing companies.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/son-of-wally-lewis-cops-kingsize-parking-fee-20160128-gmfwaq.html

What Cooper missed entirely is that if you park in a clearway you absolutely WILL be towed (I know this, it’s happened to me when I forgot I’d parked my car on a street that became a clearway at 4pm). Plus you still cop the council fine on top. Council, while it’s not common practice, can also tow a vehicle from a disability bay if there is no permit on display. They absolutely WILL if that disability bay becomes a clearway at any time. Most importantly Cooper misses the whole morality of just parking in a disability accessible space without a permit because there’s no where else to park. So sad, keep driving. People with disabilities have even less options available to them especially for those whose access needs are specific (ie wheelchair access). Chances are if you’re driving around looking for somewhere to park, so are we. Difference is we don’t have the benefit of easy mobility to walk a few more blocks.

Aside from the absolute insult to the disability community for even suggesting the rest of the community would be better off doing this, it’s really irresponsible to encourage abuse of disability parking.

When less than two percent of parking areas are allocated to disability access while around four and a half percent of the Australian population holds a disability parking permit, we’re already facing a challenge to access our community. Why make life even harder for us?

I hope a retraction is printed or at least an addition to remind drivers they shouldn’t do this. Of course we know I’m more likely to be told to get a life right?

Friday Wright
Campaign Founder & Curator

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