“Encik, ini tempat letak kereta untuk OKU.” I told the man who just backed his Yellow Hyundai Getz into the accessible parking lot and pointed to him the large and unmistakable sign with the wheelchair logo.
“Lu mau parking sini kah?” He shot back with an annoyed look.
“Bukan, tapi kalau you park sini, pemandu OKU tiada tempat lain untuk letak kereta.” I pointed to the standard parking lots and continued, “Semua tempat lain tak cukup besar untuk letak kerusi roda apabila pemandu OKU nak keluar.”
He nodded with an extremely exasperated look and reluctantly drove out from the lot. I thought I had convinced him that parking in accessible parking lots would cause undue hardship to disabled drivers who needed to use the space.
Standard-sized parking lots are not wide enough to place a wheelchair by the side of the car for the driver to get out and in. The width of standard-sized parking lots is 2.50 meters while the width of an accessible parking lot is 3.60 meters.
A short while later Wuan who was pushing me pointed out, “See, he drove his car back into the parking lot.”
I turned back to look. Sure enough, the car was nicely parked and he was folding the wiper away from the windscreen. I shook my head and continue on my way to the LCCT-KLIA. It was not my place to insist that he move his car. That is the responsibility of the car park operator.
Of the 10 cars that occupied the 6 accessible parking lots at LCCT-KLIA car park, 9 were driven by non-disabled drivers. The other was mine. I had to get out from the car outside the lot and let Wuan drive the car into it. I would not be able to get out had I parked the car as the space between cars was too narrow for my wheelchair. How did I know the drivers of the other cars were non-disabled? None of the 9 cars had hand control kits installed and none had stickers with wheelchair logos.
It may seem harmless for non-disabled drivers to use accessible parking. However, such parking spaces are very limited.
Rightfully, cars with disabled passengers must not use these spaces too. The driver should drop the disabled passenger near the entrance and park in standard-sized lots. When these spaces are occupied, disabled drivers will not have other places to park their cars.
Before occupying one of these spaces, please consider the hardships that a disabled driver has to go through. What is convenient for a non-disabled driver will cause a great inconvenience to a disabled driver. Please think before using an accessible parking.
I need to clarify that accessible parking spaces are for vehicles with either a disabled passenger or a disabled driver. I made a mistake in saying that they should only be for disabled drivers. I have since realised that reserving accessible parking spaces for disabled drivers while disallowing vehicles with disabled passengers is discriminatory. Read more about my take on this matter here: Say No To Priority Parking For Disabled Drivers
Penang Trip 2 - Day 1 - 25 August 2013
Dealing with prejudices - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 26 October, 2013
Wonderful Wuan - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 19 October, 2013
My principles in life - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 12 October, 2013
Multiple benefits of accessible tourism - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 5 October, 2013