Tag Archives: disabled parking permit

Fight goes on despite disabled parking permit win

A Canberra rider who had his $600 disabled parking fine waived has also now received a second permit so he can have one in his car and one permanently on his motorcycle.

Alan Francis (pictured above) says a more compact motorcycle-specific permit would be handy, but he is happy with the verdict.

Victorian Motorcycle Experts Advisory Panel independent rider representative Dean Marks welcomes the decision, but says the campaign for more suitable motorcycle permits continues.

He says this is an issue for disabled riders right around Australia who are being “heavily fined and penalised”.

Disabled parking fine

Alan's new motorcycle parking permit
Alan’s new motorcycle parking permit

In March this year, Alan, 68, was issued with a $600 ticket for parking his bike in a disabled spot despite displaying a disabled parking permit.

It is believed the inspector told a witness that handicapped stickers are for those who can’t walk any distance and if the owner could ride a Harley he was a “fraud”.

Alan has a compressed spine and has difficulty walking, but not riding.

He had photocopied his disabled parking permit because it was too difficult to swap it between his car and his bike while guaranteeing the flimsy permit would not be stolen.

He did not know it was illegal to reproduce the permit and faced a further $228 fine.

Alan has now been issued with two disabled parking permits, but his is a special case and there is no provision for other disabled riders, nor for a smaller, motorcycle-specific permit.

He says he is grateful for his win and has now enclosed and firmly bolted the permit to his bike which he could not do before.

However, he says a smaller permit would be better.

Permit campaign

Dean Marks disabled permite parking
Dean Marks

Dean raised the matter of riders with disabilities being excluded from the parking provisions and traffic management programs in April. 

He says NSW seems to be leading the way by producing a suitable warrant for both motorcycles and cars.

“Riders around Australia are being disadvantaged as they are subject to penalties for parking in disabled parking spots even if they were legally permitted to as they had an issued permit for their car as no system existed to safely and securely attach same to a motorcycle,” he says.

He contacted the Victorian Roads Minister and VicRoads to ask for consideration in their extensive review of the disability parking system in Victoria to bring it in-line with Federal requirements.

However, he said it is evident that riders with disabilities are not taken into consideration in any way.

Dean Marks Riders invited to discuss mental health Shepherds Australia permit
Dean on another charity program to collect socks for the homeless

Victorian Roads Minister Jail Pulford has acknowledged the oversight and says she wrote to all local councils asking them to consider the needs of all motorcyclists in their traffic management plans.

Dean says the issue has become more pressing as councils such as Melbourne City begin removing rider parking from footpaths.

“Councils and local by-laws officers are acting inconsistently and making assumptions as to whether a rider could even have a disability and hence issuing infringements that placed these persons in stressful situations where they had to fight infringements that never should have been issued,” he says.

Dean says disabled riders risk their permit falling off or being stolen as it is difficult to fix properly to a motorbike.

“Should it be lost or stolen, the driver/rider then has a protracted process to have a new one re-issued and in the meantime would not have access to use disabled parking spots,” he says.

“I find it distressing that we are even having this conversation as it demonstrates that the needs of motorcyclists as a legitimate means of transport are not even in the minds of local councils, city planners and others responsible for making these decisions.

“It leaves me perplexed and wondering if anyone even asked question who holds a disabled parking permit and what are their needs.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Disabled rider claims parking discrimination

A disabled Canberra rider could face a $228 fine for copying his disabled parking permit and making his own holder to use on his Harley because no suitably secure system is available for motorcycles.

Alan Francis, 68, says the ACT Transportation Department only supplies a flimsy plastic sleeve with the permit which would not be secure on a motorcycle.

“That’s discrimination of disabled riders,” he says.

The situation came to light recently when Alan received a $600 ticket for parking his 2015 Harley-Davidson Low Rider in a Canberra Hospital disabled park while he visited a terminally ill friend.

He says an eyewitness told him the inspector said handicapped stickers are for those who can’t walk any distance and if the owner could ride a Harley he was a “fraud”.

Painful suffering

The former firefighter and New Zealand sidecar champion says he suffers from a compressed spine and dead nerves in his legs which makes walking any distance painful and difficult.

“My feet are basically useless, but the Low Rider has forward controls and I can lift my leg to change gears,” he says.

“If I don’t have sturdy boots on, I am susceptible to falling over.

“And when I go for a ride with my mates they usually stand by the gutter and offer a shoulder so  I can get on and off.

“But the moment I lift my feet of the ground I’m as good as the next guy on a motorcycle.”

Parking permits are supplied to people for a range of disabilities including those whose “physical condition is detrimentally affected by walking 100m”.

Friend and Motorcycle Riders Association of the ACT president Lorne Thurgar confirms that Alan has a genuine ACT Government issued handicap pass and walks with a walking stick.

“The ticket should be cancelled and Alan deserves an apology,” Lone says.

Disabled rider Alan Francis claims parking discriminationParking permits

The ACT disabled parking permit instructions say: “The Australian disability parking permit is correctly displayed if it is on the dashboard, or affixed to the windscreen, inside the vehicle or as close as practical to the front left side in a way that all permit details are clearly visible from outside the vehicle.”

The instructions make no allowances for motorcycles or for easily relocating a permit from the safety of a car’s interior to the vulnerability of a motorcycle.

So Alan photocopied the disabled permit, laminated it inside the supplied plastic holder and cable-tied it to his left saddlebag.

In 2016, a Canberra paraplegic driver was fined $228 for failing to display her ACT permit correctly.

“There is no holder to be able to do this with a motorcycle and they cannot provide one as I asked when I was given the permit,” Alan says.

“I have a car as well and carry my wheelchair in the car so I need my sticker in the car.

“For me to be legal on both vehicles and has been stated by them is that I have to remove the sticker from the car and firmly attach it to the bike in the yet-to-be-designed holder that meets their requirements.”

Alan says if the department can’t supply a secure holder for the permit, they should supply a second motorcycle-only permit for disabled riders.

“I  am now in the knowledge that my solution is illegal and I must be severely punished for it,” he says.

“Further to my situation is that I have received comment, but not from the department, that maybe I can’t be a pension-reliant person if I can afford a Harley.

“I don’t normally publicise this but the bike was a gift from my partner who has now passed away.”

Parking incidentDisabled rider Alan Francis claims parking discrimination

As for the parking ticket, Alan says that when he parked in the disabled spot closest to the hospital elevators, he waved over a young female traffic controller to explain his situation.

“I told her ‘just out of courtesy I’m showing you that I am handicapped and legitimate’,” he says.

“About 50 minutes after parking there, the traffic inspector employed by the hospital started ticketing my motorcycle.

“The young girl came running over to him close to tears to explain that I’m an ok bloke and genuinely disabled, but she couldn’t stop him putting a ticket on it.

“Quite frankly what the parking inspector said to her about me being a fraud was soul destroying.”

Onerous appeal process

Alan says it was also a huge inconvenience to have to walk a long distance to Access Canberra (sic) to lodge his appeal against the ticket.

“The girl at the office looked up the sticker and told me it was legal and legit, but I would have to wait to find out if the ticket was rescinded.

“I’m speaking on behalf of disabled people; it’s straight out discrimination against disability.

“He’s shagged me round good and proper.”

Meanwhile, Alan says that he has now laminated the original permit in its plastic holder and cable-tied to the left pannier as it was when he was fined.Disabled rider Alan Francis claims parking discrimination

“I have chosen not to use a handicapped park for the car as at least I have the wheelchair to get me the further distances,” he says.

“My permit is again cable tied to the saddlebag which is still open to coping a fine I guess if a particular parking attendant randomly decides I am a fraud.

“Had I been informed on the infringement notice that it was the permit and not the parking position that was the problem, this situation would have never transpired.

“I freely admit in hindsight that my solution was not appropriate and if I am to be fined it should be for this and not the parking position.”

ACT reply

We received this response from the ACT government’s media team:

Access Canberra does not publicly comment on individual parking issues through the media, in respect for the privacy of the individual.

However we can advise that we are looking to have this matter be resolved as soon as possible.

We can also advise that contact has been made with the individual and the reasons why the infringement was issued explained.

The individual should be hearing the outcome of the review in the near future.

Depending on the complexity of a review it may take a bit longer, however the majority are processed within six weeks.

We’d also like to provide a reminder to the community that Australian Disability Parking Permits (also known as Mobility Parking Permits) are valid for use by the person to whom they are issued and to no other.

Like with any form of identification such as a driver’s licence, an Australian Disability Parking Permit holder must display the actual permit issued by the Road Transport Authority on the motor vehicle used at the time for their transportation or for their parking requirements.

When it comes to motorbikes, it is important that the permits are securely displayed.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com