Common myths about disabled badges dispelled

Harriet Meyer / 30 March 2015 ( 03 August 2018 )

Millions of disabled drivers use Blue Badges, but there are plenty of common misunderstandings about the parking scheme. Harriet Meyer dispels some of the myths about who is accepted as a badge holder, and when and where you can use them.

Myth: Only wheelchair users can get a badge


Many people think that blue badges are solely for vehicles carrying a wheelchair user. 

Actually, they can be given to those with a wide range of mobility problems, including those that are less obvious, such as sight problems or prosthetic limbs. 

Essentially, any problem that makes it difficult to walk short distances.

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Myth: Friends and family can use the badge


Blue Badges are for the holder’s use only, so cannot be handed over to a friend or relative so that they can take advantage of the scheme.

As a blue badge holder, you must be driving or traveling in the car for the badge to be valid. It cannot, for example, be used by someone who’s out shopping for you or visiting you. 

Doing so is illegal. 

If you have a badge, nobody else can take advantage of it, even if they’re running errands for you or visiting you in hospital. This could lead to a £1,000 fine and confiscation of the badge.

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Myth: Blue badge holders can park anywhere


While badge holders have the benefit of relaxed parking rules, there are still some key restrictions:

• The scheme typically only applies to on-street parking, so it does not apply to off-street car parks or private roads.

• Single or double yellow lines can be parked on, but the maximum time limit is three hours

• There are double yellow lines that are there for safety, such as at a junction. Nobody can park there

• Likewise, if single or double lines are there for loading or unloading, badge holders can’t park there

• On private land, holders have no special permission unless signs show otherwise.

• Check for central London restrictions, which are greater than elsewhere in the country. For example, more time limits may be imposed.

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Myth: Your doctor can provide a badge


If you want a badge, you must apply to your local authority, rather than your family doctor. You have to answer a series of questions and provide proof to your local authority, which can be found online

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Myth: Once you have a Blue Badge, you have it for life


Not true. Every holder has to apply to renew their badge every three years.

For more details on the scheme, download this guide.

What to do if your request for a blue badge is refused

Q I’m going to Melbourne this year to visit my daughter. I have rheumatoid arthritis and my blue badge parking permit is a godsend! Do you know how I could apply for an Australian permit? I’m there for nine weeks.

We contacted New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services agency, which replied: ‘Provided it is current and valid, an interstate or overseas disability parking permit can be used in NSW. Be aware that parking concessions vary between states and territories.’

UK blue badge-holders will be pleased to know that they are also valid in all member states of the International Transport Forum, including Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, the United States and European countries from Albania to Ukraine.

Extract taken from Saga Magazine, August 2018. For more travel and money tips, subscribe to the magazine today!

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.