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DISABLED PARKING BADGES - PUTTING YOU IN TH KNOW
By Sally Bengtsson / 2008-02-24 20:27:58
After an inquiry about the validity of disabled parking badges in Spain, we have scoured a few web sites to try and give you some clear and accurate information.
It appears that if you display a disabled badge in Spain, it must be a blue badge. The blue badge is a standardised European Community disabled person's parking permit which provides parking entitlements to badge holders in all complying European countries - a blue badge from one country is valid in another. A person coming to Spain from another EU country can apply in their home country for this universal badge which allows the use of reserved parking.
Disabled spaces in car parks reserved for disabled people are marked with a wheelchair symbol. Do not park if the space is marked with a vehicle registration number, this means the space is reserved for this car only and you risk being towed away if you park here. There are no concessions for disabled drivers on roadside parking.
Yellow painted kerbs should be avoided at all times as the chances are that some type of parking restriction applies. That is, of course, if the yellow painting has been carried out with the authority of the local Town Hall. No person is permitted to "reserve" his own parking space and even access to a garage or garden is not considered to be a "right" unless the homeowner has paid his contribution to the local authority and paid his annual contribution to his "vado" as it is known. Blue curbs, of course, mean that some form of payment, usually in the form of a ticket purchased from a machine in the street, is due. In most cases, a vehicle parked in a restricted "yellow curb" zone will be towed away by the local grua (tow truck) to the municipal pound!
A number of disabled parking bays are available to those who are authorised to use them. They are recognisable by the yellow painted curb accompanied by the internationally known "disabled" sign. However, not all yellow painted curbs are there for the benefit of the disabled. You must be able to see a disabled sign.
Until recently, in cosmopolitan tourist towns like Torrevieja, "disabled badges" from all European countries were acceptable. The local police were under orders to accept badges from other countries and the Town Hall would issue badges to those who requested them and met the requirements. However, a new European law now changes the type of badge which is acceptable and certain extra conditions apply to those requesting the facility. The new badge is issued to the person using it and not, as before, to the vehicle. The style of badge is universal throughout all European states and is valid not only in the Valencian community and all Spain, but throughout the whole of Europe. Those entitled to apply for the new badge should be recognised on the municipal padron of the town in which they are habitually resident; they should be over the age of three years and have a recognised condition of disability, which now must also include "reduced mobility" which would prevent them from using public transport. Entitlement is decided at a medical assessment, which is carried out by the regional health authorities.
Disabled persons wishing to apply for the new badge should make first make application to the Town Hall of the municipality in which they are registered (empadronado). They should request, usually from the Social Services department, a Solicitud de Reconocimiento de la Condición de la Minusvalida (an application form for the disability) to be recognised by the regional authorities. Once completed and submitted, the applicant will receive an appointment to attend a medical examination at their nearest Centro de Diagnostico y Orientación (centre for diagnosis). In the case of residents who live within the province of Alicante, the examination centre is situated in Calle Teatro, No. 37, Alicante. Those badges which have been issued here in Spain by the local authority will continue to remain acceptable up to the date they expire, after this time, renewal should be made in accordance with the new regulations.