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I am seeing more and more examples of selfish parking by owners of the ubiquitous 'blue badge', especially in the Crouch Hall Road area. There is a reason why double yellow lines have been painted on corners to reinforce the existing 'no parking within x metres of a corner' rule - to reduce accidents caused by blind spots created by parked cars - and to allow delivery lorries to turn. It makes my blood boil, especially when the driver skips out of the car and is clearly not in the 'disability' category. When I see flagrant breaches, I say something. More often than not they move on. But some don't. Do blue badges, whether or not legitimately allocated, permit parking in a dangerous place?

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The rules do seem to allow parking on double lines:

In England and Wales, Blue Badge holders may generally park:

  • on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours, unless there is a ban on loading or unloading
  • at 'on-street' parking meters and pay-and-display machines for free and for as long as they need to
  • in disabled parking bays

which makes an even bigger nonsense of this scheme which is already honoured more in the breach then the observance.

These badges do seem to be handed out willy nilly and then are used by relatives rather than by the issuees. Every so often there is an outcry over this abuse, but nothing ever seems to come of it.

On another traffic related matter, I was on a main route into the city this morning and astonished to see the number of cyclists using it. When I was a cyclist (about 10 years ago) I would sometimes pull up alongside another at the lights. Crossing the Balls Pond Road this morning there were at least 20 cyclists waiting for the lights. Two good things about this

1) they were all waiting for the lights

2) they had all clearly signed the "I will never be in a collision waiver" with God, to judge at least by their erratic wibbly wobbly all over the road behaviour. They must all believe thay have divine protection

I think the clue here is the word 'generally'. The guidelines contain a section entitled 'Safe and responsible parking'. In that section it states that badge holders must ' not park where it would endanger, inconvenience or obstruct pedestrians or other road users. Examples of dangerous or

obstructive parking include the following, although there are others: parking opposite or within 10 metres

(32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space; where it would hold up traffic, such as

in narrow stretches of road or blocking vehicle entrances'. What I'm seeing constantly in Crouch Hall Road is flagrant breaches of this guidance on corners and opposite the entrance to the CGHR car park used by the delivery vans.

Can you really be sure that someone is "clearly not in the disability category?" I would hesitate before passing this sort of judgment. I am sure that there are frauds, but also lots of people with a disability (which I might not be able to discern at one glance, but I'm not a medical expert) for whom a blue badge makes things just a bit easier. Report frauds by all means - they give a good scheme a bad name - but otherwise live and let live?

I lost patience with blue badges when I lived near the Arsenal stadium and on match days the vast majority of blue badged cars parked in the residents zone were big top of the range vehicles out of which strapping men in their 20s and 30s used to leap. 

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