A common problem for many disabled motorists is not being able to park close to their desired destination, especially at their local supermarket. The major complaint is that the disabled bays are all occupied with cars not displaying a Blue Badge.
Disabled Motoring UK’s Baywatch campaign seeks to address this. This campaign measures the level of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets, by asking disabled motorists to survey their local supermarket car park. Specifically, they count how many disabled bays are provided and how many cars that are parked in them without displaying a Blue Badge. The other information we ask for is details of the type of enforcement (if any) carried out by the parking operator responsible for the car park. Details of the operator and enforcement actions should be displayed on the signage near the disabled bays.
When the survey closes the results are calculated, published and shared with the supermarkets to encourage them to work with the charity to improve their parking policies with regard to tackling disabled bay abuse by using effective enforcement. The Baywatch campaign also aims to change public attitudes by bringing to the attention of disabled bay abusers the impact that their actions can have.
Lack of enforcement can lead to tragic consequences, such as in December 2013 when Brian Holmes died after being punched by Alan Watts in the Asda car park in Biggleswade following a dispute over a disabled parking bay. This case is an extreme example of what can happen when people try to police disabled bays themselves.
This campaign was first launched in 2002 and over the years we’ve seen small improvements in the levels of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets. In light of the future changes to the eligibility criteria for the Blue Badge there is likely to be an increase in Blue Badge holders and therefore an increase in demand for Blue Badge parking. It is now more important than ever that disabled bays are enforced properly and effectively to ensure that only genuine Blue Badge holders are using them. If supermarkets do not act now we could see many more sad and tragic incidents arising from the frustration Blue Badge holders have because disabled bays are not properly enforced.
The 2019 Campaign
This year Baywatch will take place in the month of June and DMUK is asking as many people as possible to survey their local supermarket car park so we can get some really good data on the levels of Blue Badge parking abuse at supermarkets around the country. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete, copies can be requested from the office or you can visit our website and complete it online.
The campaign has support from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, she commented: “I often experience problems when trying to park at my local supermarket because Blue Badge parking bays are not enforced properly. There is a real lack of understanding about how essential these bays are to disabled people. DMUK’s Baywatch Campaign plays a vital role in highlighting the issue of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets. It is a campaign that I fully support and I intend to survey my local supermarket car park in June to help DMUK obtain the data they need to take the supermarkets to task over their disabled bay parking policies.”
Heidi Turner, Communications and Campaigns Director at DMUK, said: “Baywatch is one of the charity’s longest running campaigns and is really important to draw attention to the parking problems that disabled people face when just trying to do their everyday grocery shopping. It’s fantastic that the campaign has support from Baroness Grey-Thompson. This campaign relies on public participation and we hope her support will encourage others to get involved.”
DMUK Baywatch Sponsor
DMUK has worked for many years with the British Parking Association (BPA) to improve parking for disabled motorists. This year the BPA has further shown their commitment to the work of DMUK by sponsoring DMUK Baywatch 2019.
Kelvin Reynolds, BPA Director of Corporate and Public Affairs says, “We are delighted to sponsor the 2019 Baywatch campaign. Effective parking management plays a vital role in everyone’s lives, especially people who are disabled and those needing to park their vehicles close to their destination. Parking bays reserved for Blue Badge holders must be managed properly to ensure they are not obstructed and used only by people displaying a valid disabled Blue Badge. We support this campaign to raise awareness of the absolute need for proper and effective parking management of Blue Badge parking bays everywhere and at supermarkets especially.”
Disabled Motoring UK
Disabled Motoring UK is the national charity which supports disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders. We work with government and businesses to improve parking, refuelling and access provision for disabled people, so that they can access the goods and services that they need. Disabled Motoring UK is not just an organisation for disabled motorists; we also campaign for and support scooter and wheelchair users, families and carers.
The charity is a membership organisation and membership subscriptions is what the charity relies on to continue its work. Full members receive a monthly magazine, access to our information service and discounts on variety of good s and services.
For more information please contact:
Communications & Campaigns Director