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Disabled Moncton man takes up personal crusade against accessible parking violators

A Moncton man who uses a wheelchair has taken it upon himself to videotape violators who park in wheelchair accessible parking and post the confrontations online. Global’s Shelley Steeves reports.

A Moncton man says he’s come too close to being seriously injured thanks to some less-than-courteous drivers in the city.

Hugo St-Pierre says wheelchair-accessible parking spots are constantly being taken up by people who don’t need them, or have a proper permit.

“It’s an issue that happens every day, like every place that I go,” St-Pierre said, who uses a wheelchair after being injured in a motorcycle accident in 2004.

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St-Pierre says many people use the spaces — often closest to front doors of businesses — because it’s easier, or they don’t plan to be parked for long.

Fed up with hearing excuses like those, St-Pierre has resorted to confronting people in parking lots and posting videos on YouTube and social media.

“I want people to understand it’s not respecting handicap parking [spaces] and handicap people in general,” St-Pierre said.

A representative from Ability New Brunswick, Haley Flaro, says this kind of public shaming of parking perpetrators online is becoming a trend across the province — though it’s not something they condone.

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“People using accessible parking [spaces] when they don’t need them can become a safety risk,” Flaro said.

“We have had people with a disability parking in another locations where there is not adequate pathways or curb cuts and have to go behind vehicles. We have seen people injured or get in accidents that way.”

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St-Pierre also says accessible parking spots are also at least a foot wider than conventional parking spaces, and for good reason.

“I need my door to be open a little bit wider and especially for people in a wheelchair that need a lift, that takes a lot of space on the side, people don’t realize that.”

According to The New Brunswick Department of Public Safety, people can be fined up to $125 for the parking violation.

Until people get the message, St-Pierre says he will continue his online crusade.