Cycle lane gets priority over disabled woman’s struggle to walk

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A WOMAN with artificial legs has been refused a disabled parking space in the quiet street outside her home because it could inconvenience cyclists.

Anita Gatherum walks with crutches and has a specially-adapted car which is controlled using her hands alone.

But the 45-year-old has been told by Fife Council that she cannot have a disabled parking space because a cycle lane is already marked in the road.

 

Anita Gatherum struggles with the walk from her car to her house without an allocated parking space

 

The decision has infuriated and baffled Anita because the quiet residential street in St Andrews has relatively little traffic and some residents simply park on the cycle lane anyway.

Anita works at a local hotel in the town and lives with her partner Fraser Renfrew.

Despite doing her best to live a normal life, the lack of nearby parking is making her life a misery.

Fraser said: “They said they couldn’t remove the cycle lane to put in a disabled parking space. How is she supposed to get in with her shopping?”

“I work as a taxi driver and sometimes I have to come off the job to come home and help her in.”

Fife Council told Anita Gatherum and her partner that it was impossible to mark a disabled space on the road as a cycle lane-measuring only a few metres-has already been put in place.

A disabled space has been marked out further up the road but is still too far away for Anita to walk back to her home. The property she is in now is also several feet above ground level so there are still steps to climb before being able to enter her home.

 

Cars already park on the cycle lane outside Anita Gatherum's house (Credit: Google Maps)

 

Capability Scotland’s Richard Hamer warned this could become an increasing problem for disabled people as cycle lanes become more common.

He said: ”This situation highlights the barriers disabled people face when getting out and about.

”With cycle lanes becoming more commonplace in Scotland, this is an issue that could well affect more disabled householders across the country in the future.

”Capability Scotland is aware that many disabled people find public transport inaccessible and are, therefore, reliant on their cars for getting from A to B. It follows that they need to be able to park close to home.”

Colin Gilbert, Fife Council’s area housing and neighbourhood team leader for North East Fife, said: ”If the needs of our tenants change since accepting their tenancy agreement then we will, of course, review their situation and if required make any necessary adaptions to their home.

”If there have been significant changes to their circumstances then alternative housing may be necessary. This would require a new application to be made for accommodation.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. To be fair, this is an issue with the council and being a cyclist myself I can’t see cyclists having an issue with a proper parking space. Councils are often extremely difficult to deal with and hope there’s a resolution here soon! Bear in mind too that cycle lanes are often exceptionally badly implemented anyway and often put out as lip-service, costing people money.

    I would like to take issue with the phrase “inconvenience cyclists” though. Cycle lanes are not there to be ‘convenient’ for cyclists but as some measure to protect cyclists. Putting this article in these terms is not only quite disingenuous but also does cyclists nor Anita no help at all.

  2. I agree with Beth A, this article is unnecessarily written in anti-cycling terms. The reason that marked disabled parking spaces are required at all is nothing to do with cyclists, it’s to stop other _motorists_ using the required space.

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