“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
We stopped the car and waited. First, the driver of the other car alighted. He did not seem to walk with a limp. We waited for the passenger. She did not look crippled either. We, the occupants of the two cars, stared at each other for what seemed like a long time. I pressed the button to wind down the window and pointed to the driver that the parking lot was reserved for the disabled. The signboards and the disabled logos painted on the wall stated the obvious. He said that the other cars were also parked there. I do not know if the other cars parked there had disabled drivers or ferried disabled passengers but I told him pointedly that I am disabled.
He grudgingly moved his car and stopped a short distance away, allowing Peter to drive into the space that he had occupied. When he saw my wheelchair being taken out from the car boot, he drove away. These are the people who will never think twice about parking in space reserved for the disabled. These people have absolutely no conscience. As long as it is convenient for them, it does not matter that the physically challenged are having a hard time because of their inconsiderate actions. They possess this herd mentality that if other people are doing it, they are entitled to do it also without thinking about the consequences.
If you are one of those drivers who often occupy parking spaces reserved for the disabled without a second thought, think again. Most normal parking lots are not spacious enough to fit a wheelchair for the disabled driver or passenger to alight and board. We are not asking for anything more than a little convenience. We are not asking for sympathies and we certainly are not asking for more than what we rightfully deserve. We are just asking that you are thoughtful to our plight. You can park your car in the many other lots available. We only have a handful reserved for us.
To the drivers of the two cars featured here, if you are not physically challenged, then I can safely assume that you are intellectually and visually impaired, meaning you are morons or blind, or both. Either way, you both do not deserve the driving licenses that were issued to you. The signs posted by the Management of the Kompleks Bukit Jambul clearly stated that the designated space is reserved exclusively for the disabled only. The four logos of the disabled painted on the wall are unmistakably visible. If you can prove that you are physically challenged, please send me an email and I will remove the respective images. Otherwise, they remain to show the world what inconsiderate humans you both are. So, which are you?