Where disabled drivers can and cannot park and the laws of the blue badge

Cars parked on double yellow lines on Middle Street in Driffield is somewhat of a pressing issue within the town. On a regular day in Driffield, you are guaranteed to find at least one vehicle parked on the double yellow lines, much to the disgruntlement of other road users.
Whether this be a disabled blue badge holder, able-bodied driver or delivery vehicle, it is an issue that is often brought up with the Driffield Town Council (DTC).

Cath Scarlett, herself a blue badge holder in Driffield, is currently on the DTC and has previously raised concerns over parking in the town at council meetings.
Having previously been a maths teacher, she offered to take responsibility for the figures and statistics that resulted from the recent questionnaire passed out to residents to give them a chance to express their views on how the DTC should spend its budget.

When reviewing questionnaires, she was surprised at the amount of opinions offered on the issues of double yellow line parking on Middle Street.

Cath is keen for residents of Driffield to understand the permutations of the blue badge, as well as the responsibilities that badge holders have.

“I think we had 10 out of the 300 questionnaires that specifically gave opinions on the parking situation,” she told the Wolds Weekly.

“It may not seem like a lot but it’s certainly a lot more than we expected. The people of Driffield obviously feel strongly about the matter and you often see Facebook comments about it.

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“Obviously, if you are parking on double yellows without a blue badge, although you may be spending money in local shops, it is illegal and the traffic wardens will issue you with a parking ticket.

“I think what a lot of people don’t understand is that the blue badge entitles those who can’t walk more than fifty metres at a time to park on double yellows.”

When Cath has previously raised the issue of parking in the town, she was told that traffic wardens deal with double yellow parking but cars parking as obstruction, such as on the kerb, is a police matter.

Unfortunately, when she asked the police, they stated it is the council’s responsibility to deal with all parking issues, meaning the matter often goes unsolved.

Claire Binnington, Town Clerk of DTC, is aware of the problems with parking in Driffield and said: “The Town Council discuss as many traffic and highway issues in the town on a regular basis, including the issue of parking.

“It is not only parking on double yellow lines that present problems but also too close to junctions – Harper Street onto Wansford Road and Gibson Street onto Scarborough Road are amongst many problem junctions that cause consternation and concern.

“All the Town Council would like to see is that those that are not eligible to park on yellow lines, don’t, with those that are, due to holding blue badge status, do so with some modicum of common sense.

“Since B&M has opened, we have had reports that delivery drivers are experiencing great problems getting in and out of their car park due to people (blue badges and others no doubt) parking adjacent to the opening into the car park.

“We would ask those that do park there to ensure that there is sufficient room.”
December is disability history month with a focus on media portrayal. Cath is a member of the NUT and one of the members based in London is in charge of running the disability history month.

There is concern within the group that portrayal of the disabled community has become negative over recent years.
Cath said: “Wheelchair users only take up around 2% of the current UK population, with one in six or seven being classed as disabled.

“I don’t think that one of the big papers have put a particularly positive spin on the disabled community recently, which won’t have helped the general public’s conception.”
In a handbook issued by the Department for Transport to blue badge holders, it states that badge holders may park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours.

However, they are not entitled to park where there are restrictions on loading or unloading, which are indicated by yellow kerb dashes and/or signs on plates.

If a blue badge holder leaves the double yellow lined area, they may not return to that particular area for at least one hour.

The blue badge also entitles holders to park in the wider disabled bays in public car parks that are situated in towns.

Cath added: “The disabled bays are wider to enable people to get the car doors wide open to make it easier for those with a stick or frame to exit the vehicle, or in my case bring the wheelchair next to it.

“However, in Driffield, the main car parks with disabled bays are more than 50 metres away from the high street so you find more cars parked on double yellows than maybe in other towns.

“Some people may have preconceived conceptions about blue badge holders but just because you see someone seemingly walk away from their car normally doesn’t mean they’re not entitled to one.

“A lot of conditions severely affect people’s ability to walk distances or carry shopping if it affects their upper limbs or back but they don’t necessarily need a walking aid.”

One of the main responsibilities blue badge holders have that Cath is keen to make clear is that a badge cannot be passed to an able-bodied citizen for convenience use.

In addition, badge holders are not allowed to park within 10 metres of a junction, at school entrances, bus stops, on pedestrian crossing or on a hill or a bend, to name a few.

“I remember one occasion seeing someone park in a disabled spot in a car park with a blue badge and wheelchair in back but they were clearly on their own and didn’t have the need for the badge,” continued Cath.

“That is the kind of issue that I think really annoys other people and especially those who are actually in need of the spacing.

“I made sure that when I first received my badge that I knew where I can and can’t park as I know how difficult it can be for other road users if you are parked incorrectly.

“It’s not as easy to obtain a badge as many people think, with several forms to be filled out and physical examinations to be done, so the right to have a badge shouldn’t be abused.”
Until four years ago, Cath was able-bodied, undertaking around 10 hours of exercise classes each week and by her own admission was “still doing cartwheels and handsprings”.

She now has an as yet unconfirmed neurological condition, meaning she is unable to walk more than around five metres at one time, which she understandably finds incredibly frustrating.

“It is frustrating after being able-bodied for so long.

“I now have powered wheels on the wheelchair as it affects my arms as well but it’s got me around the Green Man festival.

“I actually got stuck on a train five times last year, twice in one journey, as they don’t have ramps to get off, something which isn’t an issue on somewhere like the Tube in London.

“The conductor said he was helping some small children off the train, which I thought was fair enough but when it happened again it is quite demoralising really and the kind of situation that we hope can be avoided in the future.”

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