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Proposal for tougher penalties on disabled parking offences defeated

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

A bill proposing far tougher penalties on motorists who park in spaces reserved for people with disabilities was resoundingly defeated in a vote in the House plenum on Thursday.

The legislative proposal had been introduced by Edek MP Andreas Apostolou. It proposed raising the current fine from €300 to €500. In addition, repeat offenders would be criminally liable and would, if convicted, face sentences of up to one year in prison and/or a fine up to €3,000.

But the bill received just four votes in favour, and 35 against.

In remarks on the House floor, the majority of MPs said the current fine is sufficiently deterrent.

Despite his bill getting defeated, Apostolou said he’d bring more bills in the future that seek to protect people with disabilities.

Diko MP Christos Orfanides, who voted against, argued that more severe fines should be introduced whenever there is an increase in offences. But in this case, regarding parking spaces for the disabled, there has actually occurred a 60 per cent drop in reported offences since 2019.

Moreover, penalties must be proportionate, Orfanides stressed. Imposing severe fines could be “catastrophic” to some families.

The MP noted also that he had personally proposed, to the transport minister, that offending vehicles be towed away. But this has yet to be adopted.

Demetris Demetriou, of the Disy party, remarked that “a suspicious person” might think that Apostolou brought the bill only because he wanted exposure as he’s running in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

But, Demetriou added, he does not personally think this, given Apostolou’s long-standing sensibilities on matters relating to disabled persons.

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