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Friday, 25th September 2020

“Make Way Day” urging drivers not to block pavements or disabled spaces

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A car blocking the pavement at the junction of Chord Road and Hand Street.

I came across a woman pushing a buggy up the middle of the road in a housing estate in Drogheda the other day. I could see she was angry so I asked was she alright. “No I’m not alright “she replied, “I’m bloody raging!”

Pointing to a car parked on the pavement she said: “That f****r over there parks his car on the path every day, I’m really sick of it.” Those weren’t her exact words but you’ll get her drift. She was not a happy lady.

And you can see her point, why should she have to endanger hers and her child’s life because some ignorant driver can’t be bothered to consider other road, or in this case footpath, users?

Over the past few years Drogheda Life has championed the cause of disabled people and their right to “access all areas” just like their able-bodied brothers and sisters take for granted.

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We’ve had some successes but there is much still to do. Drivers who block footpaths with their cars should have them towed and only get them back on payment of a substantial fine.

Today is “Make Way Day” which is a campaign that brings the disability and wider community together to consider the needs of people with disabilities in the public spaces we all share.

It is led by the Disability Federation of Ireland and is a unique collaboration across Ireland and the voluntary and local government sectors. But most of all it’s about people with disabilities.

But everyone can get involved. And everyone should get involved because we’ve discovered thoughtlessness is the big issue. Their top three of obstacles that stop people with disabilities in their tracks.

  • Cars parked on footpaths
  • Bicycles illegally parked
  • Bins left on footpaths

The whole point of Make Way Day is to make the public aware of an issue that is fully within their power to change. You could write a polite mesage such as “Hey, this blocks my way!” and put it under the windscreen wipers of offending vehicles or post photos and videos on social media using #MakeWayDay20.

“Access is the most basic of all disability rights” say the campaign organisers. “The public footpaths are for everyone and we can all agree on that. In a wider context this one day focuses the mind on people with disabilities, their lives and needs. For more information see: http://makewayday.com/.

Of course An Garda Síochána have a big role to play in this and they are supporting the campaign fully.

Chief Superintendent Raymond McMahon of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, said, "We are urging drivers to be conscious of other road users, particularly those with impaired mobility and disability by asking them not to park on footpaths or use designated disabled parking bays without a proper permit."

"As part of Operation Enable An Garda Síochána have targeted offences relating to the improper use of disabled parking bays. Since 2017 we have issued over 18,000 fines, even in this year with Coronavirus we have issued over 1,800 fines."

"Please be conscious of the needs of others and remember that using hazard lights does not entitle you to park where you wish."

 

Post a pic of everyday obstructions #MakeWayDay20

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