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Aussie mum's parking complaint backfires: 'Get over yourself'

A frustrated Aussie mum who complained about someone who parked his car in a "parking with prams" space has sparked a debate over whether people without kids are allowed to use the spot.

The woman, who vented about the incident on the Facebook page Canberra Drivers, claimed to have confronted the "offender" and snapped a picture of the man's car parked in the coveted space.

"Why is it acceptable to park in parking with prams without a baby? It's hard to get a baby in and out of the car let alone get through the carpark," the woman wrote. "The owner of this car ran away when I asked if he had a pram."

Car in car park space for parents with prams
A Canberra mum confronted a man in a car park for parking in a space designated to parents with prams. Source: Facebook

'Mind your own business'

The woman's post, however, was not met with much sympathy as other Canberra drivers chimed in with their views on her actions and who has a right to the spot. "I'm a mum with three kids and strollers but I still believe you should just mind your own business, and it's not your responsibility to call them out and post all over social media," one commenter blasted.

"Why do you need them for a pram? They have wheels and can easily be pushed through the car park... elderly (not disabled ) should be able to park close. Just push your pram and stop the constant complaining 'cause you might have to walk an extra 100m with a pram (that has wheels)," another person criticised.

"I hold a disability permit and when a disability space is not available, I have no hesitation in using these spaces," a third added, while another told the poster to "get over yourself".

The post also sparked a generational debate between older and newer parents after some commented on the fact that these spaces were not available to them in the past and they managed just fine. "I survived without these parks when I had kids... so can you! These parks are my pet peeve," wrote one woman.

"All the Boomers saying they survived without them, cool. Survived without disposable nappies too. Call it progress or evolution. It's not entitlement just because you didn't have it. It's about safer and easier accessibility. There's a good reason why these were put in car parks," someone else argued.

What the law says

According to motorist organisation the NRMA, "parents with prams" car spaces are provided by the owners of parking lots as a courtesy and unlike disabled parking spots, are not enforced by law in NSW and the ACT. "The short answer is that legally there is nothing to prevent a person without a pram, or infant, parking in a pram spot. It is at the management's discretion how they choose to enforce parent parking rules," the NRMA website explains.

Many argued there should be more disabled spots in shopping centre car parks. Source: Getty
Many argued there should be more disabled spots in shopping centre car parks. Source: Getty

"Like allocated 'seniors only' parking, these spots are provided courtesy of the owners of the property to help customers who are generally regarded as less mobile. So while car park management could ask someone without a pram, or infant, to vacate a parent parking spot, it's not enforceable by law."

"For the system to work it requires people to do the right thing and only park there if they have small children and prams to unload," the NRMA adds, stating that it all comes down to common courtesy. "It is reasonable that parents with children, as well as senior drivers, need ease of access more than regular drivers. Heavily pregnant women could also fall into this category, which the law does not define (although private car parks may have guidelines for their premises)."

The NRMA also revealed that one in five parents admit to using a "parents with prams" spot even when their child is no longer in a pram or not with them.

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