Accessible Parking Bays: Who Can Use Them?

Two elderly people are loading a mobility walker into the back of a van parked in accessible parking bays, while another person stands in the background near a building entrance.

In this article we look at who can use accessible parking bays and what the requirements for a disability parking permit are.

20% of the Australian population live with disability, and for many of these people, limited mobility is an ongoing consideration. For this reason, a number of parking bays in public parking lots are reserved to cater to the needs of drivers and passengers with limited mobility disability requirements.

       Sign indicating reserved accessible parking bays for people with disabilities, with a notice of a $500 maximum fine for violations. Trees and greenery are visible in the background.

How are accessible parking bays designed?

Accessible parking bays are generally designed with larger proportions to provide room for a wheelchair ramp or for people to transfer easily. They’re also positioned close to building and facility entrance points to limit the distance and make accessing these spaces less hazardous or difficult.

However, even when there are enough accessible parking bays, wheelchair accessible vehicles can also factor into which parking space works and which doesn’t. Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail:

  • Wheelchair accessible vehicle entry points

Some vehicle modifications limit where a vehicle can park. In wheelchair accessible vehicles, the accessible parking that’s truly available to the disability parking permit holder depends on the type of access required.

  • Side door entry

Vehicles that use side-door access need extra width in their parking spaces to allow wheelchair users to enter and exit the vehicle. These can be easily parked in wider accessible parking bays. They can also be used in parallel parking spaces, as long as there is enough space to exit without entering traffic.

  • Rear door entry

Wheelchair accessible vehicles with rear door entry don’t need the extra width of accessible parking spaces, but they need extra length to allow a wheelchair user to enter or exit the car safely. This can limit their access to parallel parking.

Read more on why accessible parking spaces are designed the way they are and where to find great accessible parking.

An elderly woman in a wheelchair is smiling while being assisted outdoors by a young man and a healthcare worker, near accessible parking bays.

Getting a disability parking permit to use accessible parking bays

Accessible parking bays are marked with the international access symbol and are reserved for drivers or passengers with a disability parking permit. People with disability parking permits are also allowed to park in time-limited spaces for double the advertised time.

Who can get a disability parking permit in Australia?

Disability parking permits can only be obtained by people who fulfil the criteria in each state or territory. Although fairly standard, parking permit applications and regulations differ slightly in each state and territory. Read about how to get a disability parking permit here.

Find out about regulations for your state or territory:

Be sure to read our article on busting disability parking myths so you know your rights when using accessible parking bays.

Discounted car insurance for disability parking permit holders

With Blue Badge Insurance, disability parking permit holders are eligible for up to 25% discounted car insurance. Find out how having specialist disability car insurance safeguards your finances, your vehicle and even assistive technology within your car.

Click below to get a quote.

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