Fight goes on despite disabled parking permit win

Disabled rider Alan Francis claims parking discrimination

A Canberra rider who had his $600 disabled parking fine waived has also now received a second permit so he can have one in his car and one permanently on his motorcycle.

Alan Francis (pictured above) says a more compact motorcycle-specific permit would be handy, but he is happy with the verdict.

Victorian Motorcycle Experts Advisory Panel independent rider representative Dean Marks welcomes the decision, but says the campaign for more suitable motorcycle permits continues.

He says this is an issue for disabled riders right around Australia who are being “heavily fined and penalised”.

Disabled parking fine

Alan's new motorcycle parking permit
Alan’s new motorcycle parking permit

In March this year, Alan, 68, was issued with a $600 ticket for parking his bike in a disabled spot despite displaying a disabled parking permit.

It is believed the inspector told a witness that handicapped stickers are for those who can’t walk any distance and if the owner could ride a Harley he was a “fraud”.

Alan has a compressed spine and has difficulty walking, but not riding.

He had photocopied his disabled parking permit because it was too difficult to swap it between his car and his bike while guaranteeing the flimsy permit would not be stolen.

He did not know it was illegal to reproduce the permit and faced a further $228 fine.

Alan has now been issued with two disabled parking permits, but his is a special case and there is no provision for other disabled riders, nor for a smaller, motorcycle-specific permit.

He says he is grateful for his win and has now enclosed and firmly bolted the permit to his bike which he could not do before.

However, he says a smaller permit would be better.

Permit campaign

Dean Marks disabled permite parking
Dean Marks

Dean raised the matter of riders with disabilities being excluded from the parking provisions and traffic management programs in April. 

He says NSW seems to be leading the way by producing a suitable warrant for both motorcycles and cars.

“Riders around Australia are being disadvantaged as they are subject to penalties for parking in disabled parking spots even if they were legally permitted to as they had an issued permit for their car as no system existed to safely and securely attach same to a motorcycle,” he says.

He contacted the Victorian Roads Minister and VicRoads to ask for consideration in their extensive review of the disability parking system in Victoria to bring it in-line with Federal requirements.

However, he said it is evident that riders with disabilities are not taken into consideration in any way.

Dean Marks Riders invited to discuss mental health Shepherds Australia permit
Dean on another charity program to collect socks for the homeless

Victorian Roads Minister Jail Pulford has acknowledged the oversight and says she wrote to all local councils asking them to consider the needs of all motorcyclists in their traffic management plans.

Dean says the issue has become more pressing as councils such as Melbourne City begin removing rider parking from footpaths.

“Councils and local by-laws officers are acting inconsistently and making assumptions as to whether a rider could even have a disability and hence issuing infringements that placed these persons in stressful situations where they had to fight infringements that never should have been issued,” he says.

Dean says disabled riders risk their permit falling off or being stolen as it is difficult to fix properly to a motorbike.

“Should it be lost or stolen, the driver/rider then has a protracted process to have a new one re-issued and in the meantime would not have access to use disabled parking spots,” he says.

“I find it distressing that we are even having this conversation as it demonstrates that the needs of motorcyclists as a legitimate means of transport are not even in the minds of local councils, city planners and others responsible for making these decisions.

“It leaves me perplexed and wondering if anyone even asked question who holds a disabled parking permit and what are their needs.”

4 Comments

  1. There are many disabled Veterans out there who have made use of the GST exemption to purchase a motorcycle, and yes they can actually be a pillion if they can’t ride themselves due to injury. What an appalling treatment of anyone with a disability, and I can assure you that there are people out there with Disability Permit stickers who may look “normal” but in fact are not.

  2. I said it many times get number plates with a wheelchair symbol on them problem solved why is it so backwards look to the USA people have those number plates and no problems or drama’s with police so they can be out and and do a real job

    1. So in a two car and motorbike family, with only one disabled person, what is the solution? My wife doesn’t want to drive a car with disabled plates. Plus I don’t want my perosnalised plates on car and motoribike displaying a disability symbol, I paid money to have them simple and clean, no additions. The permit is fine as is, it works, I take it overseas as I recently did in the UK (and a few years ago in Europe, you need a translation placard in some countries) and saw many parking inspectors look at it, smile, and walk away. Simply having one that could be secured with a bike would be a very practical, simple, cost effective solution. I have already had two fines waived (BCC) using a replica on my motorbike, however this story has me a little spooked and I am trying to make a secured housing for my “real” permit to avoid future issues.

  3. A metal medallion with an area below the symbol that can be engraved with the permit number should be made legal .
    If so you could have multiple medallions as long as you have a valid permit.
    The medallions could be sold at every place that does engraving.
    But that would make too much sense wouldn’t it.
    Perhaps a change.org petition could be started?

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