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New Year could herald new parking law that benefits millions

08 Jan 2015

Cars, vans and other vehicles parked on pavements will continue to force pedestrians off the pavement and into danger on busy roads unless politicians back a change in the law, says leading charity Guide Dogs.

The call coincides with a scheduled debate in Parliament today and YouGov research1 released by leading charity Guide Dogs, which indicates that three quarters (72%) of people have been affected by vehicles parked on the pavement. 55% say cars parked on pavements make it harder for them to walk along pavements, 45% say they force them into the road, while 20% say parked cars make it feel like it’s more dangerous to cross the road.

Some groups – including people living with sight loss, older people or those with buggies – are at greater risk. 91% of respondents living with sight loss who responded to a previous Guide Dogs survey said that parked cars on the pavement regularly obstruct them.2

The latest data from YouGov shows that 72% of pedestrians using buggies or prams for children find it harder to walk along pavements due to vehicles obstructing their path, whilst 62% are forced into the road with their buggies. Meanwhile, more than half (51%) of people aged 55 or over are forced into the road.

The campaign to end pavement parking kicks off 2015 with added impetus as a Bill to ban the practice, led by Martin Horwood MP, is set to be debated soon in Parliament. Pavement parking has been banned in London for over 40 years, which includes exemptions for businesses loading goods and specific exemptions granted by individual councils. Guide Dogs believes this approach works well and is leading calls for a new national law that would implement a London-style system across the country.

Guide Dogs has also released real-life video footage highlighting the harm caused by vehicles parked on pavements.  The footage – filmed from a guide dog’s view – highlights the impact irresponsible parking has on people living with sight loss.

James White, Campaigns Manager for Guide Dogs, said:

“Parking on pavements blights pedestrians’ lives. It puts pedestrians in danger, particularly those living with sight loss. Imagine how scary it is for people without sight to have to walk in the middle of the road because the pavement is blocked?

“We hope this year sees this dangerous practice outlawed once and for all and call on all political parties to back a change in the law.  We also urge drivers to consider making a new resolution this year and think twice before parking on the pavement.

“The case for a change in the law is clearly highlighted in these dog’s eye-view clips and I welcome tomorrow’s debate on the issue.”

22 year old Becky Clark, from Liverpool, who lives with an eye condition called Albenism has very little sight to rely on and struggles on a daily basis with the sheer number of cars that park on the pavement.

At certain times of the day, the problem can be extremely bad, and Becky has to avoid going out during the school run hours.

Becky commented:

“There is always that worry when you're walking in the road that there are cars that don't take notice, and mostly drivers aren't expecting guide dogs to be walking in the middle of the road.

“I can't judge distance very well, so I can see that there is something in my way, but I don't know how wide the gap is. I rely on my dog to take us round.

“One driver who I approached who had parked his van on the pavement responded angrily and  said that if I scratched it then I would have to pay, This kind of attitude is unfortunately far from unusual.”

Previous YouGov research found that almost seven in 10 people (69%) support a national law that prohibits pavement parking and that three quarters of drivers would stop the practice if it became illegal.3

To support the campaign and ask your MP to support the Bill follow this link: www.guidedogs.org.uk/pavementparking

  1. YouGov research commissioned by Guide Dogs, December 2014 – sample size 2,068 UK adults, undertaken online between 9th and 10th December 2014. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (18+).
  2. Data from a previous Guide Dogs survey of 780 people living with sight loss, 2013
  3. YouGov research commissioned by Guide Dogs, March 2014 – sample size 2,352 GB adults, undertaken online between 14th and 17th of March 2014. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (18+).


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"I find it immensely frustrating when a car blocks my way by parking on the pavement, especially if it forces me and my guide dog Breck in to the road to compete with passing traffic. This is inconvenient and dangerous for pedestrians like myself."

John, Guide Dog Owner