A lack of suitable parking is a common problem for many motorists with a disability, and it is often made worse by drivers who use designated disabled parking bays without displaying a Blue Badge, especially at supermarkets. The annual Baywatch campaign, first carried out by Disabled Motoring UK (DMUK) in 2002, aims to address this by asking disabled motorists to survey the parking situation at their local supermarket car park.
The Baywatch campaign - which is supported by disability and motoring organisations including the British Parking Association - explores the level of disabled parking abuse at UK supermarkets.
The DMUK Baywatch survey in 2019 revealed that on average 3 out of every 15 parking bays that should have been reserved for blue badge holders were being abused, meaning that last year roughly 20% of all disabled parking spaces were being used without a blue badge being on display.
The 2019 survey was the best ever, with record numbers of people taking part. However, this was before the Coronavirus pandemic, so this year DMUK will be asking participants to think back over the last 12 months and answer questions about their general parking experience at supermarkets and during other everyday journeys.
The charity will then collate and use this data to tackle UK supermarkets and other parking providers over their disabled parking policies.
Heidi Turner, Communications and Campaigns Director at DMUK commented: “Baywatch is one of the charity’s longest running campaigns and is really important to draw attention to the parking problems that disabled people face when just trying to do their everyday grocery shopping. The charity has decided to change the format of Baywatch this year in order to keep our supporters safe."
The campaign also has the support of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who said: “It’s so sad that Disabled Motoring UK has to run its Baywatch Campaign. Disabled bay enforcement should be mandatory, especially for the big supermarkets that can afford to invest in policing their car parks. I see disabled parking abuse every day, it’s never a surprise to me, including at my local supermarket. There is a real lack of understanding about how essential these bays are to disabled people and I applaud DMUK’s Baywatch Campaign as it plays a vital role in highlighting the issue of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets.”
As a thank you for taking part one lucky participant will win a £25 M&S voucher. The results of the survey will be printed in a future issue of the Disabled Motoring magazine and in the online version, which can be accessed via the DMUK website.
Disabled Motoring UK is a campaigning charity for disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders. They work with government & businesses across the UK to improve parking, refuelling and access provision for disabled people, families and carers across the UK.