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Bill to increase fines for parking in disabled spaces

parking, parking lot, disabled parking, handicapped parking, parking space

The fine for illegally parking in a space reserved for the disabled will go to €500, up from €300 now, under a bill discussed in parliament on Thursday.

The legislative proposal belongs to Edek MP Andreas Apostolou, and has the backing of the transport ministry, the ombudswoman as well as groups representing disabled persons.

Parking in spaces reserved for the disabled “is one of the most serious and inexcusable offences, as the offender consciously denies access to a fellow human being with disability issues”, Apostolou commented.

He said that since 2019 when the fine was increased from €150 to the current €300, there has been a 40 per cent decline in these offences.

Raising financial penalties clearly works, the MP added.

The bill will be discussed again at the House transport committee in a fortnight, after which it will go directly to the plenum for a vote.

Demetris Lambrianides, head of the Cyprus Paraplegic Association, lent his support to the proposal.

He said state and local government authorities should ensure that parking spaces for the disabled are properly maintained and clearly marked so as not unfairly ‘ensnare’ drivers.

Lambrianides said police should be given “new tools” to crack down on illegal parking, such as photographing illegally parked vehicles and sending the fine to the offender by post.

But other than deterrence through fines, the head of the association suggested that authorities start towing away illegally parked cars – because what matters the most is removing the obstacle.

For his part, Akel MP Valentinos Fakontis called for more checks by police and local authorities at public and private spaces alike – such as malls and doctors’ offices. He said many people still park their cars on pavements, which hinders access to pedestrians and disabled persons.

It transpired that whereas the transport ministry is on board with upping the fine to €500, the justice ministry has certain reservations. Fakondis said his party would consider all the parameters and then decide whether to back the bill.

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