Crackdown on able-bodied drivers using disabled spots in B.C.

Municipalities in B.C. are trying to crack down on able-bodied people taking over spots for the disabled.

Vince Miele, a paraplegic since the 1970s, has had to circle parking lots for a spot he can use, only to discover that many fellow motorists are not always honourable.

“I say if you’re going to park there, you’re going to take away a spot from someone who really needs it,” says Miele.

Last year, the Social Planning and Research Council of BC polled its disability parking clients, and overwhelmingly their big complaint was abuse of the accessible spots.

Their solution was to open up a tip line so people could report parking cheats. Karen Williams from Social Planning and Research Council of B.C. says she gets lots of tips on a daily basis.

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“We occasionally hear reports from people where they left home, they’re planning on going to the grocery store or to some other place. They went there and all the accessible parking was taken and they waited for a while and after a while they just got frustrated and went home.

The council says the problem is mostly in the big cities. Burnaby reports 153 accessible parking violation tickets last year, Vancouver 214 and Surrey jumped about 25 per cent to 254.

With files from Geoff Hastings

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