Abusing Accessible Parking – What KY Saw At Sunway Pyramid

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.

KY Saw - Abuse of accessible parking at Sunway Pyramid
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

Inconsiderate Drivers

“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.”

Accessible parking occupied by cars of non-disabled drivers

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.

Accessible parking occupied by cars of non-disabled drivers

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

Blind Moronic 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?