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Able-bodied motorists in the Far North now have even less excuse for parking their cars in parking spaces reserved for disabled people.
The Far North District Council is repainting mobility parking spaces across the district to make them more visible and to deter people without mobility permits from using them.
Fourteen mobility parking spaces in Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Paihia, Kaikohe, Moerewa and Kawakawa have been painted blue with funds from the Council’s Disability Action Group.
More parking spaces, currently identifiable by an orange wheelchair symbol painted on the road in the centre of the space, will be painted blue as funds become available.
Group chairman David Senior says mobility parking spaces are meant for people who can’t walk more than 200 metres unaided and who hold a mobility parking permit.
Yet a large number of able-bodied motorists park their cars in the spaces, many claiming they did not notice they were reserved for disabled drivers.
“It may not seem like a big deal to you, but depriving a disabled driver or disabled passenger of a mobility parking space can mean they are unable to carry out an important errand, such as shopping for food or visiting a doctor.”
Painting the road surface in the parking space blue and marking it with a white wheelchair symbol will make it harder for mobility parking cheats to feign ignorance, he says.
“Other councils across New Zealand are repainting mobility parking spaces blue.
“We hope that doing the same in the Far North will reduce the illegal use of these spaces in a cost-effective way.”
Mr Senior appeals to the public to support the initiative by taking care when parking and by reporting misuse of the spaces.
“The Council can’t monitor every parking space in the district. We need the community to help us support the disabled by reclaiming these spaces for their rightful users.”
People who park illegally in mobility parking spaces on public roads will risk an instant fine of $150 if they are caught by Council monitoring officers.