Once I heard how the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity had launched a campaign to have parking on pavements banned, I was right behind it.
It seems I’m not the only one – a brand new poll commissioned by the charity found that 69% of men and women would support a new law banning pavement parking.
And also in a separate part of research, 78% of local authority councillors said they would support it too.
I am always amazed at the selfishness of motorists with regards to parking.
In one occasion in London I came across a Mini Cooper parked in the middle of the pavement!
I could not believe that anyone would be so brazenly inconsiderate as to do such a thing.
It absolutely was inconvenient in my opinion having to squeeze past the car but a blind person would have walked right into it.
The problem of pavement parkers
Elsewhere too, though since then, I’ve noticed the amount of pavement parkers there are – not just in London.
It even happens where I live in Devon.
Many motorists will just pull up to the pavement as it saves them a few minutes’ walk, although here, there’s really no excuse because there is generally ample space to park.
It’s something certain to annoy me, particularly because my father had multiple sclerosis and used a wheelchair.
Kerbs could be tricky at the best of times, as whoever has pushed you will know.
And the prospect of having to bump down and up them, and wheel the chair within the gutter just because of someone’s lack of forethought is infuriating.
‘I think it’s selfish’
boy in baby buggyAnd of course it’s extremely tough for parents pushing buggies also.
It’s a nightmare attempting to get past having a double buggy and another child in tow, says Cathryn Scott, 35, a yoga teacher and mother-of-three from Cardiff.
I often find myself needing to navigate the four of us in the road because the buggy just won’t fit.
I think it’s selfish and shows an entire disregard for other people’s safety.
Legislation on pavement parking
Looking further to the topic I discovered how hazy current legislation actually is.
Driving on a pavement has been an offence since the Highways Act of 1835.
But while parking with a pavement is against the law in London, it’s not elsewhere.
That’s why The Highway Code states, in rule 244, that motorists should never park partially or wholly on the pavement in London but says that motorists should not do this elsewhere unless signs permit it.
Councils should act
Councils may have powers within the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to restrict or ban parking on individual streets through the making of the Traffic Regulation Order.
And a few councils, including Exeter and Worcester, have banned parking on pavements through private Acts of Parliament.
However these processes might be time-consuming.
This has led to Guide Dogs to the Blind is calling for a ban that operates throughout the UK, with councils having the capacity to specifically permit it on certain roads.
Justice for pedestrians!
I think this is an excellent idea as it gives flexibility for councils to permit pavement parking in some specific locations – such as very narrow streets – and freedom from pavement parking for the rest of us.
The charity Living Streets, which champions the rights of pedestrians, also campaigns against pavement parking.
It offers information on the legal issues, posters that can be downloaded for display in local shop windows or libraries and template letters you are able to send for your local council or police.
So if it’s an issue that infuriates you too, then get in touch with them.