Disabled parking infringements rife

Margaret Baker is frustrated drivers take special parking spots without a permit. (Joe Mastroianni)

A Kyneton disability permit holder has urged motorists to think of others before parking illegally, amid a spike in numbers of people doing the wrong thing.

Macedon Ranges council figures show 22 motorists have already been nabbed this year for parking in a disability parking space without a valid permit – up from three last year and five the year before.

The increase is due in part to proactive patrols, launched in response to complaints from residents with mobility problems.

Kyneton resident Margaret Baker said she was frustrated by the number of motorists taking spaces reserved for people with disabilities.

‘‘Every time I go to the shops, there’s at least one, if not two, cars parked in those spots without a sticker,’’ Ms Baker said.

‘‘Some people seem to think, I’ll only be a minute. But for those of us with walking sticks or a frame, it does put a lot of pressure on us.

‘‘If we have to park further away, not only is it a greater distance to walk there, it’s further to walk back, sometimes with a trolley and then return it.’’

Ms Baker said she often saw people using a valid permit that had been issued to a friend or relative, who was not in the car with them.

‘‘One day you may find yourself in the position of needing a disability permit and the availability of close parking at your destination,’’ she said.

‘‘Please think before you take one of these valuable spots.’’

Council assets and operations director Dale Thornton said there were about 1700 permit holders in the municipality.

‘‘So far in 2015, 45 per cent of fines issued have been for expired permits so we are encouraging everyone to double-check that they have a valid permit,’’ Mr Thornton said.

People who park in a disability parking space without a valid permit can be slapped with a $148 fine.