Baying for change

Fremantle muso Mike Burns relies on ACROD parking in Fremantle to play gigs.

FREMANTLE muso Mike Burns is supporting a new nationwide campaign to stop selfish people misusing ACROD parking bays.

As part of This Bay is Someone’s Day, eye-catching stickers and posters on ACROD bays, and social media videos will highlight how parking illegally in ACROD bays can ruin someone’s day.

To coincide with the campaign, the state government has increased on-the-spot fines for illegally parking in an ACROD bay from $300 to $500. Court imposed penalties have gone from $2000 to $5000.

Burns, an ACROD permit holder and wheelchair user, says people who illegally park in an ACROD bay can scupper his gigs.

“ACROD parking bays are so important because it means I can plan my day effectively, particularly as a musician myself, they are crucial for me to even accept an offer to play somewhere,” he says.

 “It’s hard for me to walk at all, even getting the wheelchair out of the car is tricky, so if I were 1km away from the venue it could take me an hour to get there where an abled person could get there in five minutes.

 “Sometimes I have to drive home because it’s too hard for me to get myself and instruments there.

 “Quite often the worst abusers are people who use a relative’s car with an ACROD sticker and then park in an ACROD bay to go and do their shopping.

 “That can be really annoying. Please remember that an ACROD bay may represent a certain person’s chance to do something that means a lot to them, and by parking there illegally, you may prevent that person of achieving that.”

Over the years the Chook has been inundated with letters from angry ACROD permit holders about people illegally parking in their bays.

In 2017 we ran a story about former Herald journo Mark Fletcher (“Disabled drivers baying for blood”, 31/3) who has multiple sclerosis and was sick of turning up to do his shopping only to find ACROD bays taken up by tradies or time-poor shoppers.

As part of This Bay is Someone’s Day, Fremantle parking inspectors will distribute information cards with fines telling drivers who park illegally in ACROD bays that their actions can have significant consequences for people who genuinely need them.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt says more than 90,000 Western Australians with severe mobility restrictions had an ACROD permit. 

“Parking in an ACROD bay without a permit is never acceptable,” he says.

“ACROD bays provide essential access for people with disability to go about their daily lives, and the misuse of these bays can take away a person’s independence.

“We hope this campaign will educate our community and encourage drivers in Fremantle to consider the real-life implications for permit holders who are unable to access ACROD parking.”

The City of Fremantle is one of 25 local governments and seven shopping centres across WA supporting This Bay is Someone’s Day. To learn more about the campaign go to http://www.facebook.com/ThisBayIsSomeonesDay/

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