Shepparton woman frustrated by people misusing disabled parking bays

By Liz Mellino

Shepparton's Georgie Dodson says she is fed up with people disregarding the rules surrounding disabled parking bays.

Mrs Dodson, who has trouble walking, has a disability parking permit displayed on her vehicle's front windscreen which allows her to park in any disability parking bay around town.

Like many locals, Ms Dodson said the permit was necessary to give her the required room to get in and out of her vehicle when she is using her walking stick.

However she said after seeing many people without a permit park in the allocated disabled parks, she believed the issue needed to be addressed.

“I think it needs to be highlighted to the community that parking in disabled car parks without a permit is illegal and parking on the yellow lines between disabled car parks is incredibly inconsiderate and also illegal and can cost you some hefty fines — so just don’t do it,” she said.

Mrs Dodson said she was parked in a disabled car park in town last Sunday when she returned to her car to find someone had parked their vehicle on the yellow lines between the two disabled bays.

While the second disabled park was being used by someone with a permit, Mrs Dodson said she could not believe someone would park their car in the free space between the two bays.

“In between the cars there’s yellow lines and a little white car was parked there on the yellow lines, which is illegal . . . it's very frustrating,” she said.

“This makes it very hard for people to get in and out of their car. If they have got a wheelie walker, a wheel chair or something like that, to get in and out you do need that extra room and that is why the yellow lines are there.

“It is incredibly dangerous and you just think `where are their brains at?'”

Ms Dodson said this was not the first time she had seen someone park on the yellow lines between disabled bays, and it was an ongoing issue around town.

Police and local Greater Shepparton City Council parking enforcement officers can issue parking infringements for offences relating to disabled parking bays.

However, the council's corporate services director Chris Teitzel said council officers could only monitor and issue infringements on council owned and managed land.

“Council is not authorised to issue infringements in private car parks, which includes a number of shopping centre car parks throughout Shepparton,” he said.

“The infringement for parking in a disabled parking bay without a permit is $165 . . . if the offence is occurring in a council street or car park, please report to council on 5832 9700. If it is occurring in a shopping centre car park please report to centre management.”

Mr Teitzel confirmed there were 132 disabled parking bays on council land within Shepparton, not including those on private land and in shopping centre car parks.

While Mrs Dodson says the issue is becoming more common, she hoped by speaking out it would make drivers more aware and accountable for their actions.

“We just need people to stand up and go `this is not on, I’m not going to accept it’ — it just needs to be highlighted and we just have to do something about it because it's just inconsiderate.”