I woke up very late this morning as I totally was exhausted from the road trip to Ipoh, then to Penang, back to Ipoh and finally back to Kuala Lumpur. One of the things that I usually do right after I get up is to read blogs. I headed over to KY’s blog and found this very interesting photo he put up with an equally interesting entry on it.
Sunway Pyramid is not a favourite weekend haunt for Wuan and me as we usually prefer Mid Valley Megamall, The Gardens, One-Utama or Ikano and The Curve. These places all have accessible parkings. Ikano, notably, has one of the best accessible parking of all the shopping complexes which is of the correct size and situated just next to the entrance.
At Mid Valley Megamall, there are number of parkings at Level P1 which are labelled with the wheelchair logo. There are three more at Level 3 multi-storey parking complex with the same labelling. However these are standard size lots reserved for disabled people. Where parking for disabled people is concerned, Mid Valley Megamall does not adhere to the accessibility standards. Moreover, these parkings are regularly used by inconsiderate non-disabled drivers who are too lazy to look for vacant parkings elsewhere.
Car parks for drivers who use wheelchairs are called accessible parking and not handicapped parking or disabled parking. The standard width of a normal parking lot is 1.80 meters while an accessible parking has to be 3.6 meters. There is logic to this. If a driver who uses a wheelchair parks in one of those normal lots, he will not be able to open the car door fully. There also will not be enough space for a wheelchair between cars. In short, normal-sized parkings is useless to a wheelchair user as he cannot get out of his car.
These accessible parkings should preferably be reserved for drivers using wheelchairs rather than for passengers in wheelchairs. Accessible parkings are very limited in numbers. A disabled driver who cannot park in an accessible parking will have nowhere else to park. If we were to use the normal-sized parkings, we will not be able to get out as some of us travel alone and need that extra space to fully open the door and assemble our wheelchairs there and then. On the other hand, a disabled passenger can be dropped off at the entrance while the non-disabled driver can go look around for the normal parking lots and park there.
Image courtesy of KYSpeaks.
Back to KY’s photo. We can see that this black Toyota Vios with the car registration number WPK 6393 parked his car smack right in the middle of two accessible parkings. Truth be told, I usually do the same thing at the Mid Valley Megamall’s Level 3’s accessible parkings. That is because the three lots that the complex management reserved for disabled people are of the standard size. If I were to park according to the lines on the ground, the cars beside the driver’s side could be too close to mine and I could be stranded without a way to get into the car.
In KY’s photo, it is apparent that three normal sized parkings were made into two. That is the standard width for accessible parkings. There is more than enough space for a disabled driver using a wheelchair to fully open the door and place his wheelchair there if he were to park properly. There is no justification whatever for any driver, disabled or otherwise, to park like that. It is not only inconsiderate but this act deprives people who really need to use those two parkings.
Perhaps this person has a problem with his eyesight. If that is so, such drivers should not be allowed to drive not because they are inconsiderate but because they are a danger to other road users. Perhaps he had a stomach ache and needed to get to a toilet fast and those were the only parking he could find. If that was so, I hope he did not soil his pants. It would have been so embarrassing to be walking around Sunway Pyramid with a stain at that strategic spot. Or perhaps he was just being an idiot. We will never know.
KY suggested that I beat up this fellow with a stick. I am not that violent lar, KY. Besides, there is no law to penalise drivers like this as there is really no law that states that non-disabled drivers are not allowed to use such parkings. The Ministry of Transport and local authorities are not doing anything to change the situation to make it easier for drivers who use wheelchairs. Having said that, a little consideration by non-disabled drivers in not abusing such facilities will go a long way in making life easier for disabled people. Is that too much to ask for?
This person who parked his car indiscriminately in KY’s photo should pray hard that his will never ever genuinely need to use accessible parkings. Disability does not discriminate. Anybody can become disabled at the blink of an eye. It happened to me. It can happen to just anybody else. To people who think it is all right to deprive disabled drivers of such facilities, think about what I have just said the next time you think that parking at places reserved for disabled people is an excuse for your laziness. You may just really need that parking one day. Thanks to KY for highlighting this issue.
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
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Multiple benefits of accessible tourism - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 5 October, 2013