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Woolworths shopper slammed over disabled parking act: 'Not legal'

Where can motorised mobility devices be parked?

Motorists across Australia have called out a shopper for parking a mobility scooter in a spot designated for disabled drivers at a Woolworths car park in central Victoria.

A photo of the scooter parked outside the Bendigo supermarket was shared to a Facebook group dedicated to naming shaming able-bodied drivers who ignore the rules of disabled parking bays.

The driver who shared the image recounted trying to pull into a vacant disabled parking space but found the scooter already there. "Surely not legal," she suggested before clarifying the mobility scooter wasn't displaying a disability parking permit.

Mobility scooter parked in disabled parking bay outside Woolworths
The mobility scooter was occupying a disabled parking bay outside a Woolworths store in Bendigo. Source: Facebook

Debate over parking rules

The pictures ignited a fierce debate about the regulations of parking mobility scooters in disabled parking bays, with the resounding response that it is not legal to do so.

"It isn't legal," one group member alleged. "They are not registered vehicles and can be left outside the front of the store or taken inside the store if they want." The indignant Facebook user also said not all people who use mobility scooters have a disability, claiming many opt to use them out of convenience.

According to VicRoad guidelines, however, the devices are strictly for disabled users. "Motorised scooters and powered wheelchairs are therapeutic devices," the guidelines state, "they should only be used by people who are unable to walk or have difficulty walking."

What the law says

VicRoads' comprehensive manual to mobility scooter usage goes on to clarify the rules of parking the devices. "You cannot use vehicle car parks to park your motorised mobility device, even if the parks are designated as parking spaces for people with disabilities."

A spokesperson from the Victorian Department of Transport and Planning confirmed with Yahoo News Australia that mobility scooters should not be parked in parking lots.

"Under Road Rule 203, all drivers must display an accessible parking permit to lawfully park in a disabled parking space," the spokesperson explained. "Riders of mobility scooters that travel below 10km/h are defined as a pedestrian and need to travel and park on the footpath."

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