A common problem for many disabled motorists is not being able to park at their desired destination, especially at their local supermarket. The major complaint is that the disabled bays are all occupied with cars not displaying a Blue Badge.
Disabled Motoring UK’s Baywatch campaign seeks to address this. Their campaign researches the level of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets, by asking disabled motorists to survey their local supermarket car park. Specifically, they count how many disabled bays are provided and how many cars that are parked in them without displaying a Blue Badge. The other information asked for is details of the type of enforcement (if any) carried out by the parking operator responsible for the car park. Details of the operator and enforcement should be displayed on the signage near the disabled bays.
When the survey closes the results are calculated, published and sent to the supermarkets to encourage them to work with the charity to improve their parking policies with regard to tackling disabled bay abuse by using effective enforcement. The Baywatch campaign also aims to change public attitudes by bringing to the attention of disabled bay abusers the impact that their actions can have.
No enforcement can lead to tragic consequences, such as in December 2013 when Brian Holmes was killed after being punched by Alan Watts in the Asda car park in Biggleswade following a dispute over a disabled parking bay. This case is a tragic example of what can happen when people try to police disabled bays themselves.
This campaign was first launched in 2002 and over the years small improvements in the levels of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets have been seen. In light of the future changes to the eligibility criteria for the Blue Badge there is likely to be an increase in Blue Badge holders and therefore an increase in demand for Blue Badge parking. It is now more important than ever that Blue Badge bays are enforced to make sure that only genuine Blue Badge holders are parking in disabled bays. If supermarkets do not act now we could see far more incidents, like the death of Brian Holmes in 2013, born from the frustration Blue Badge holders have because disabled bays are not properly enforced.
Keep an eye on the https://www.disabledmotoring.org website for details of when the survey goes live!