A GIRL whose father suffers a debilitating spinal condition has condemned able-bodied motorists who park in disabled bays.
Chloe Fodden, 12, from Close House, near Bishop Auckland, says countless family outings have been hampered by non-badge holders parking in disabled spaces.
Her father, David, 55, has suffered arthritis and spondylosis – a degenerative spinal condition – for 16 years, and can only walk short distances before needing a wheelchair.
Her mother, Heather, has arthritis, which is exacerbated by pushing her husband’s wheelchair.
Chloe says the worst offenders are people visiting supermarkets for a couple of items, or motorists in busy car parks using disabled bays when the other spaces are full.
“If those people want the disabled bay, they must also want the disability to go with it. It makes me so angry,” said Chloe.
Mr Fodden, who is also diabetic, said the family is often too intimidated to challenge offenders for fear of reprisals.
He said: “Sometimes when I cannot get into a space because it is blocked by a non-badge holder I feel like parking in front of them and leaving my vehicle there.”
Interim chief executive of the UK Disabled People’s Council, Richard Ward, praised Chloe for raising the issue and said a campaign was being launched to curb the problem.
“This is recognised as a nationwide concern,” said Mr Ward. “It is illegal to park in disabled bays without a blue badge and clock, and there needs to be greater vigilance.”
The Northern Echo, 7th May 2009