Comment: “Parent and child parking bays? It’s a matter of respect...”

Aisling Surguy and her children at a parent and child bay
Aisling Surguy and her children at a parent and child bay

Our story this week on the mum calling for parking permits to control parent and baby parking bays has already provoked lots of debate online.

Link to story

Personally, I don’t think campaigner Aisling Surguy’s permit scheme would ever work in reality.

It would be too costly and bureaucratic to introduce and manage.

Moreover, family bays are not crucial to mums and dads in the same way as disabled bays are for those with mobility issues, while some parents perhaps don’t help themselves by choosing to drive wide 4x4s.

A better solution would be to place parent and child bays further from the stores.

There is no reason they have to be so near to shop entrances, making them tempting to others – unlike disabled people, mums, dads and their offspring are capable of walking!

Nevertheless, I fully understand Aisling’s frustration at drivers who abuse the parent and child spaces.

All she is asking is for people to have a little regard for others.

The bays are quite clearly designated for families, to make their lives a little easier when they’re getting their little ones – together with their prams and other accessories – into and out of the car. The bays also offer an area for kids to be placed much more safely than normal spaces.

Drivers without children who park in these bays display an arrogance towards the kind of norms and conventions which help make for a pleasant society.

They are sticking two fingers up at the vast majority of us who play by the rules – and they couldn’t care less if their behaviour attracts a few quiet tuts or head shakes from those around them.

It is this lack of respect which offends me more than the actual sin of parking in the wrong bay.

Yes, it might seem like a small deal. But this kind of behaviour is consistent with those who light-up in non-smoking areas, use their phones in the designated ‘quiet’ carriage of a train, or who refuse to offer their seat to an elderly or pregnant person on the bus.

They don’t give a damn about others and society is worse off for them.