Pavement parking puts wheelchair users, people who are blind or visually impaired in unnecessary danger. We look at the guide dog owners campaigning to change the law and what is being done.
Pavement parking often causes pedestrians to step out into the road, leading them alongside traffic. This can be dangerous, especially for vulnerable people.
If a vehicle has one or more wheels parked on the pavement, this is considered to be pavement parking.
Since 1974 pavement parking has been banned in London, and will soon be banned in Scotland under the Transport (Scotland) Bill. But, outside of London pedestrians with children, prams, wheelchairs or guide dogs are still forced to put themselves in danger.
The problem also means that pavements and walkways have to be repaired more often because they are not built to withstand the heavy load of a car.
Now, guide dog owners are taking a stand and calling for pavement parking to be banned throughout the UK with the backing of Guide Dogs.
Campaigns manager at Guide Dogs, Helen Honstvet, spoke exclusively to Enable:
“Pavement parked vehicles can force people into the road to face oncoming traffic, which is especially dangerous for blind and partially sighted people. We’re campaigning for a new law to end unsafe pavement parking.
“Outside of London it’s the norm that drivers can park on pavements without the fear of getting a ticket. We want to make this the exception. Pedestrians should be able to rely on pavements being clear.
“The Scottish Government is seeking to outlaw problem pavement parking; it’s time we saw this progress in England and Wales.”
Guide dog owners, parents and people with mobility issues are taking to social media to highlight the need for a law using #PavementParking. The public’s opinion has not gone unnoticed.
As the campaign to end pavement parking gains traction, the House of Commons select committee has launched an inquiry into the issue. The inquiry will investigate the impacts of pavement parking and how current fines are enforced.
The inquiry will advise on whether Traffic Regulation Orders should be amended to put an end to pavement parking and keep pedestrians safe.