Mandurah residents are bucking a Perth-wide trend of illegally parking in disabled bays, with the number of local infringements and cautions falling over the last three years.
It has been widely reported that Perth drivers are illegally using ACROD parking bays, which People With Disabilities WA executive director Samantha Jenkinson has concurred with.
However, the issue has been improving rather than getting worse in Mandurah.
City of Mandurah statistics show 51 infringements were handed out in the 2017/18 financial year, with 153 cautions issued.
In 2016/17 there were 79 infringements and 195 cautions, with 86 infringements and 215 cautions in 2015/16.
City of Mandurah chief executive Mark Newman said while people are infringed for parking without displaying a permit, many of the infringements end up being withdrawn when the alleged offender produces his or her permit.
“The policy of the City has always been to ensure that we don’t unfairly punish the elderly and vulnerable people within our community who forget to display their permit," he said.
“We also understand that some permits may have expired and not been renewed and we don’t take a hard line in these cases."
Ms Jenkinson said despite the Mandurah statistics improving, people using ACROD parking bays unlawfully could have a major impact on others.
“To access a disability parking permit people need to prove through their doctor that they cannot walk more than 50m without it being an issue, or that they need to use a mobility aid,” she said.
“When other people who don't need an accessible parking bay park in those bays, it can often mean that a person with a disability is parking further away or in a bay which is too narrow and unsafe for them.
“Also people who use a mobility aid and sometimes people with prosthetics or difficulty standing need to be able to open their door widely to get in and out of the car and so the extra space is really important.
“My own experience as a wheelchair user is that if I cannot find an accessible parking bay I may often have to go home and simply not be able to access the shops or the venue on that day.”
Ms Jenkinson said PWDWA had seen an increase in fines across the metropolitan area, especially in the City of Perth.
“We are not sure if this is a greater awareness on the part of rangers because the illegal parking in disability parking bays has always been quite an issue,” she said.
“Another issue which we are hoping to get greater awareness of is that when they park across a footpath this is illegal.
“They are often forcing people who use wheelchairs, scooters or mums with prams onto the road to get around the blockage on the footpath – it can be extremely dangerous.”