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Law Column: I accidentally parked in a disabled bay

Q: I am not a wheelchair user nor am I disabled in any way. One week ago I accidentally parked in a wheelchair parking space on the main street in Kinsale. 

I didn’t mean to do it at all. I parked in the space and never saw the marking on the street.

When I returned to the car after a little shopping, I was shocked to have received a fine for €80 on my return to the car.  

However, there is not the usual high pole located nearby on the adjoining path to indicate the existence of wheelchair parking there and I wonder if you could inform me on this point or advise me as to where to go to find the law it.

This afternoon I checked the situation in the city centre and these poles were alongside the wheelchair parking spaces in each of the areas I checked.

A:  “Under Statutory Instrument Number 181/1997 the Road Traffic (Signs) Regulations 1997, local authorities are responsible for authorising regulatory traffic signs in designated areas where parking is restricted or prohibited.

Part III Roadway Markings, Section 19, provides as follows:- Traffic sign number RRM 015 shall – (a) indicate a disabled person’s parking bay, and (b) consist of roadway markings, the dimensions and design of which shall be as set out in Section 2 of the Seventh Schedule.

As there is no mention of disabled parking bays in Part II of the Regulations (dealing with Regulatory Signs - Upright), there is not a statutory requirement to display an upright sign in a disabled person’s parking bay.

I am not familiar with the wheelchair parking space in Kinsale but I would suggest that if the markings, dimensions and sign on the space are not as set as above, that you appeal against your parking ticket to your local authority who issued the fine. 

I would advise that you take as many details of the scene as you can, to include photographs and the details of the road markings and send them to the local authority traffic division with your parking ticket and a letter outlining your complaints and reasons for the appeal.

You should do this without delay as under the system of fixed charge parking fines, you must pay the fine within a period of 28 days from the date of the fixed charge notice. If you do not, you will have to pay an increased fine (50% more) and if that is not paid within a further 28 days, you will receive a summons to attend Court.

Susie Elliot is a Partner in the Medical Negligence Department in Cantillons Solicitors of 38/39 South Mall, Cork an award-winning law firm practising in all areas of litigation. Since the firm was founded in 1980, they have been involved in precedent making cases, amongst them Best V. Wellcome, Louise O’ Keeffe v.

Ireland and most recently Costello V. HSE, a medical negligence claim in which they achieved damages of €17.8 million, the highest ever award in Irish personal injury litigation to date. Cantillons Solicitors received the award of Munster Law Firm of the Year (Over 5 Solicitors) at the AIB Irish Law Awards 2016.

*This weekly column is a readers’ service and is not intended to replace professional advice.

No individual correspondence will be entered into. Email your queries to: legalqueries@cantillons.com