The last few weeks seem to have merged into a big haze of motorways and brake lights as I have been driving about 700 miles a week to go back and forth from the rehab gyms in Cambridge. I was so excited when I first started driving again after my accident. I felt so normal and loved that I could pretend I was just like everyone else. No one knew that I had a wheelchair stashed in the car and that I was driving with my hands instead of my feet. However, the novelty has most definitely worn off now; partly because I am not so bothered about pretending I’m still like everyone else, but mainly because driving is purely a necessity for getting from A to B, and it is now a bloody expensive one too.
As well as spending an absolute fortune on petrol, I have successfully managed to get a parking ticket and a speeding ticket in the last few weeks. Both are of course my fault, but in my defence, the place where I got the parking ticket is somewhere that I have regularly parked outside my sister’s house in North London and I have never had a problem until now. I don’t really have a defence for the speeding ticket… all the massive signs before the Dartford Tunnel that say ‘Speed Cameras now in use’… well they really mean that!! I’m the idiot who read all the signs and apparently decided to ignore them. Oops!
I’ve got off the point… the main issue I am writing about is Disabled Parking. Something that doesn’t really bother me a massive amount (I have chosen which battles to fight and this isn’t a major one for me), but it really really irritates my family and I can definitely see why. The ignorance of a massive proportion of people who either use disabled bays when they are completely able bodied and have no need for them, or people who decide to bitch and moan constantly about the convenient location of disabled bays (basically right outside a shop, restaurant or wherever).
I don’t mind having to park a little distance away from where I am going. Like I said, you pick your battles. I’m not a fan of pulling up on double yellow lines and just using the Blue Badge to declare my arrival and make a big scene. I like to keep a low profile, and honestly, I can wheel faster than a lot of people’s walking pace (providing there aren’t too many uphills). But disabled bays are extremely necessary for me because of the extra width they allow for a wheelchair down either side of the car so that I can actually get in and out of the car. It seems so obvious to me and I guess is obvious to anyone that knows someone in a wheelchair, but I think a lot of people haven’t even thought about the reasoning behind disabled bays. And they haven’t thought about what it would mean if they parked in one just to ‘nip into a shop’ and someone who genuinely needed the space came along. I think it is also worth remembering that it wouldn’t hurt most abled bodied people to walk an extra few steps a day!
I found this video online and I think it is awesome at summing up the situation…
I don’t like to guilt trip people, but the lazy ignorant assholes who use disabled bays and don’t need them should really take a second to think about how lucky they actually are!