It’s funny what you learn when you find yourself in unusual circumstances. After suffering a broken pelvis a month ago, it was a while before I could get out and about again. I’m still walking on crutches, but hopefully not for much longer. I thought that I may at least be able to use the disabled parking spaces until I was properly mobile again, but how wrong could I be?
Here’s the line from the eligibility criteria that floored me:
- You do not qualify if you have a disabling condition that is only temporary, such as a broken leg.
So when I go to the hospital for a follow up appointment, I suffer exactly the same parking problems as the able bodied, and wind up parking in the multi-storey car park. Unaccustomed to hobbling about on crutches, I’m just about all in by the time I get to the hospital’s main entrance, and I still have a similar distance to go to that between check-in and gate at a respectably-sized airport.
Looking more closely at the criteria for blue-badge entitlement, I noticed some really quite arcane requirements, for example:
- Subject to assessment you may also be eligible for a badge if you are over two years old and you drive a motor vehicle regularly, have a severe disability in both arms, and are unable to operate all or some types of parking meter
Who dreams these schemes up? I understand that they have been widely abused in the past, but I wonder if in tightening them up the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater? I now begin to understand why, wherever we go, we see lines of unused disabled bays outside the entrances to buildings. It’s because hardly anyone qualifies. That said, it’s still not unusual to see (and I’ve noticed this particularly in the past two weeks), as I’m hobbling past these bays, a 4*4 parking up, and a couple of apparently able-bodied folks hopping out.
I hope to be almost back to normal in another couple of weeks, and then I doubt I’ll give this problem another thought. That’s the reason things like this aren’t well worked out or responsive to real needs – at any given time, it’s only a tiny minority of people that are affected. C’est la vie!