For those with disabilities, a handicap parking space is not a convenience, it’s a necessity.
For one Caymanian teenager with disabilities, a photo showing a police car parked in what appears to be a blue spot was the final straw.
Tonight, she’s speaking out against blue spot violators, and confronting those who refuse to play by the rules.
“We struggle with parking, people parking illegally in the blue spot every day, every single day,” said 16-year old Elisabeth Bise.
She told Cayman 27 both she and her mother have disabilities, but having a handicap parking placard doesn’t guarantee a blue spot will be available when they need it.
“When you are disabled and you have a disability, going to the grocery store to get milk is not going to be a five-minute thing. That’s going to be 20 minutes,” she said.
She invited our cameras along for a short ride to some of the island’s blue spot trouble spots, and it didn’t take long to find violators. The first was at Marquee Plaza in front of the Cafe del Sol.
“Somebody is pulling to the side of the curb, and is blocking the handicap spot,” said Ms. Bise.
The driver of that car immediately noticed the error of his ways and politely moved to another space.
One mile away at the Strand Shopping Centre, another blue spot violator is caught in the act. Ms. Bise decided to confront her.
“Excuse me, hi, are you guys handicapped? Because you’re using the handicap parking spot,” said Ms. Bise, who showed her handicapped placard to the driver and explained her situation to the driver. “Now we can’t come and park here, and it makes things very difficult for those of us who are handicapped.”
Kristen Jackson, admitted she parked in the blue spot, but only for a minute while she picked up a large take-out order.
“I can see where it is a disadvantage to those who actually need the space, even though it is a short amount of time that I’m going in there for,” said Ms. Jackson.
Ms. Bise told Cayman 27 it’s an excuse she hears all to often, and says only enforcement can turn the tide.
“What needs to change is that the law needs to be enforced, we need to have officers who receive our educated in the disability laws of cayman, and we need them to respond when somebody is illegally parked, and they need to write a ticket,” said Ms. Bise.
It took just 30 minutes to find two instances where a blue spot was either blocked or taken by someone without a handicapped parking placard.