BMW driver's 'frustrating' parking job ignites debate

A woman’s frustration over a BMW driver’s parking job has ignited a fiery debate among locals.

Last Sunday, Emmalie Skelton, a disability support worker, decided to enjoy the sunny weather at a cafe in Woy Woy, NSW, with her sister, who also works in the field, and a wheelchair-bound male client.

But when the trio returned to the man’s disability vehicle, they discovered a BMW parked closely behind, preventing them from using his ramp access.

In the heat of the moment, an annoyed Ms Skelton, 30, posted photos of the car on a community Facebook group while urging others to be more mindful of where they park.

“I just want to highlight the utter lack of respect/knowledge/understanding of some people in the community when it comes to disability vehicles,” she wrote.

The wheelchair-bound man in front of the BMW and the disability sticker on the back of his car.
Emmalie Skelton said the wheelchair-bound man was unable to get into his car after the BMW driver parked too close. Source: Supplied

“Thank you to the BMW who parked so close to our car, that was clearly marked as a disability vehicle with a sign stating not to park within three metres.

“We could not get the young gentleman into his car however the car in front had just left, allowing us to move forward. Hope you have the day you deserve.”

The images show the back of the modified disability car with a white and blue sticker on the bumper reading: “Ramp access/ Please don’t park within three metres”.

Disabled drivers regularly face problem

Ms Skelton, who has been a disability support worker for nine years, told Yahoo News Australia it’s not the first time a client has been stuck with no way into their car.

“Situations like this do happen on a regular occurrence and not just to this gentleman’s car,” she said.

“It was a busy day but we did park at the end of the roadside parking because we thought if we were further away there was more of a chance that no one would park around us.

“When we did get back to the man’s car, the [BMW] was parked right behind us — they could have gone further back or even in front,” she said.

The 30-year-old said that although the car was parked a sufficient distance away for a normal car, it was not enough room to bring disability vehicle’s ramp down and get the client onto it.

Brick Wharf Road.
Ms Skelton said the trio had tried to park further away from the cafe on Brick Wharf Road. Source: GoogleMaps

Parking post ignites heated debate

Ms Skelton’s Facebook post has attracted hundreds of comments, with many locals claiming they would never have seen the sticker on the back of the car.

“In all fairness, the sign is pretty small. When someone is in a hurry for whatever reason it could be very easily missed,” one person commented.

“The sign seems a bit small to grab attention, would suggest making it bigger,” another wrote.

Others said that while the sticker was small, you can obviously tell the car is a disability vehicle.

The slew of comments prompted Ms Skelton to reply, saying she understands their concerns about the size of the sticker.

“I agree from all the recommendations to get a bigger sign. But the car is also modified and you can see it has a ramp in the back of it,” she wrote.

“It just happens all the time, not just to this car but other cars I drive that have been modified for people with disabilities. It can get frustrating.”

Ms Skelton told Yahoo News Australia the signs are placed on vehicles by the companies that modify them but she has spoken to some families she works with about purchasing larger ones.

Overall, communities just need to be more mindful of others and hopes that her complaint will help educate drivers on what to look for when they park their cars, she said.

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