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Crackdown on people misusing disabled parking spaces

Disabled parking bays in the City of Hamilton (Photograph provided)

The City of Hamilton will crack down on those who misuse disabled parking spaces, it was announced yesterday.

Those who park in one of the 73 designated disabled parking bays in the city without a disabled parking permit could face a $75 penalty.

Dwayne Caines, the City of Hamilton secretary and CEO, said: “We have to ensure there is access to parking for everyone and that we cultivate a ‘City for All’.

“The disabled parking bays are grossly abused by motorists without disabilities, and we want to caution the public that this behaviour is unacceptable.

“Beyond the fact that it is a ticketable offence, it is just entirely inconsiderate.”

Keith Simmons, accessibility officer at the Ministry of Health’s Ageing and Disability Services, voiced his support for the effort and urged the public to be mindful of others.

He said: “A disabled parking bay is often the only means by which we can access a particular store.

“It is not unusual for me to hear stories of individuals with disabilities who have had to give up and return home empty-handed as a result of vehicles without a disabled parking permit being parked in all of the disabled parking bays.”

Mr Caines said an information campaign on the subject will be rolled out in the coming weeks, and added that the City has told traffic wardens to be extra vigilant.

He said: “What is only a minor inconvenience for you may be an impossibility for someone with physical disabilities.

“It does not matter if you are ‘only hopping out for a second’ to pick something up – that could be precisely the time when a person with disabilities needs to use that spot.

“There may be a misconception in our community that there are only a handful of vehicles in Bermuda with disabled parking permits, but I can advise that each year the City prints just over a thousand disabled parking permits.

“When you consider that there are approximately 22,238 private cars registered in Bermuda, vehicles with disabled parking badges make up a considerable proportion.”

A spokeswoman for the municipality added that it disabled parking permits are issued only to disabled persons, and they can only be used when the licence holder is being transported.

She added: “It is an offence for anyone to use a Disabled Parking Permit, other than the person to whom it has been issued.

“The permit is designed to be transferable to whichever vehicle the disabled person is travelling in. Abuse of the privilege may result in the permit being cancelled.”

Last year the City installed an additional 28 disabled parking spaces in the city to bring the total number to 73 – about 2 per cent of the total parking bays in the City.

The spokeswoman encouraged members of the public to contact the Bermuda Police Service if they see cars in disabled bays without a permit or the City of Hamilton if they suspect a permit is being abused.

Those who want to apply for a disabled parking permit should visit www.cityofhamilton.bm.

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Published March 27, 2021 at 8:41 am (Updated March 29, 2021 at 9:54 am)

Crackdown on people misusing disabled parking spaces

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