Will 2 July mark the beginning of the end for pavement parking?

James W Head ShotA couple of weeks ago twenty MPs were drawn in the Private Members Bill Ballot. This means they were given the opportunity to present a bill of their own choosing before the Westminster Parliament.

The Guide Dogs Campaigns Team thought this was a great opportunity for a bill to address the problem of pavement parking to be put forward. We have joined forces with the charity Living Streets and others to call for a law preventing pavement parking across England and Wales, except in a few, specially designated streets. Excitingly, one chosen MP, has decided to take forward our concerns!

Why are we campaigning on this issue? In a survey we conducted in 2013, 90% of respondents who were blind or partially sighted said that cars parked on pavements caused them problems. Guide dog owner John, told us,

"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."

It's not just guide dog owners either. Vulnerable pedestrians, for example, those with reduced mobility, wheelchair or mobility scooter users, parents with young children or buggies and people with sight loss who are unable to see moving vehicles, are placed at even greater risk of accidents and injury.

Furthermore, pavements are not designed for parking. Vehicles parked on footways cause pavement surfaces to crack and tarmac surfaces to subside, in some cases even damaging pipes laid beneath the surface. Local authorities spent over £1billion on repairing kerbs, pavements and walkways between 2006 and 2010. £106million was paid in compensation claims to people tripping and falling on broken pavements during the same period. Inconsiderate parking adds to those costs at the taxpayer’s expense.

There’s a heart-wrenching quote from a guide dog owner who said "I tripped and fell and broke my wrist, I still don’t know what it was".

The lack of clear and consistent legislation sends the wrong message to drivers. In England and Wales it is illegal to drive on pavements and footpaths , and in London, parking partly or wholly on the footway is prohibited. The Highway Code (rule 244) says that drivers “should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it” – but a YouGov survey for Guide Dogs found that 54% of drivers admit to parking on the pavement. This suggests that under current legislation most drivers believe it is acceptable to do so.

Councillors support our call for a national parking law 89% of councillors surveyed believed that pavement parking creates safety risks for pedestrians and 78% of councillors support the introduction of a national law to prohibit pavement parking. They say that the powers they already have are insufficient to tackle the problem effectively.

The proposed Bill is supported by 18 other organisations and by the public: A YouGov survey found 69% of the public support the proposed legislation.

I am pleased to say that on 2 July a Bill will be introduced to Parliament by an MP called Martin Horwood calling for a ban on pavement parking across England and Wales.

However, unless we keep up the pressure, the Bill is very unlikely to become law. This is because, as a Private Members Bill, without Government support, the chances of success are limited. This is why it is really important that people continue to lend their support to our campaign to stop inconsiderate pavement parking - if politicians are aware of the inconvenience, and in some cases danger, that pavement parking causes, they are more likely to act.

More information about how you can help can be found on the Streets Ahead pages of our website. We are also campaigning in the rest of the UK for changes, so no matter where you live you can help us!

Comments

Campaigns Team, 12:00am Fri 19 Sep 2014:


Hi Barry, just to let you know that both bills have now been published and are available on our website at http://bit.ly/1miB4C3

Campaigns Team, 1:16pm Thu 31 Jul 2014:


Hi Barry Thanks for your comment. The Bills are still in the process of being written, there will be a draft in time for the second reading on 12th September. We will be putting up more information on our website soon in the meantime you can find a summary here: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/pavementparking.html

Barry, 8:41am Sat 26 Jul 2014:


Although I have written to Robert Goodwill in support of the two pavement parking bills, I cannot find a link to the text of these bills on your webpage! Surely you shouldn't expect people to support bills which they are unable to read!! Please correct this by providing a copy of the two bills on your webpage.

Andrew, 4:07am Sat 26 Jul 2014:


I am very pleased to be able to give my full support to this campaign. It is clear that it makes sense to have one piece of well considered clear and concise legislation to cover the whole country. I also agree that there has to be one or two clearly expressed exceptions but please keep these to an absolute minimum. I would be interested to know the penalty provisions being considered. I spent 34 years as a legal adviser in the Magistrates' Court's Service and found that new legislation was always full of all sorts of exceptions I do hope this is not the case with this bill. Could I suggest that consideration be given to making the offence one that carries an endorsement and 6 penalty points with a discretionary power to disqualify . In my experience this power is vital to make the errant motorist wake up and think about where they park. After all no one wants to lose their licence so please ensure that the courts have this power as well as a maximum fine of £5000. I wish Guide Dogs every success and I hope that the Government do back this new bill as it will clearly help the blind and the partially sighted as well as their splendid guide dogs but also the able bodied. no one wants to have to walk around badly parked vehicles.

Andrew, 4:06am Sat 26 Jul 2014:


I am very pleased to be able to give my full support to this campaign. It is clear that it makes sense to have one piece of well considered clear and concise legislation to cover the whole country. I also agree that there has to be one or two clearly expressed exceptions but please keep these to an absolute minimum. I would be interested to know the penalty provisions being considered. I spent 34 years as a legal adviser in the Magistrates' Court's Service and found that new legislation was always full of all sorts of exceptions I do hope this is not the case with this bill. Could I suggest that consideration be given to making the offence one that carries an endorsement and 6 penalty points with a discretionary power to disqualify . In my experience this power is vital to make the errant motorist wake up and think about where they park. After all no one wants to lose their licence so please ensure that the courts have this power as well as a maximum fine of £5000. I wish Guide Dogs every success and I hope that the Government do back this new bill as it will clearly help the blind and the partially sighted as well as their splendid guide dogs but also the able bodied. no one wants to have to walk around badly parked vehicles.

Paul, 6:45pm Fri 25 Jul 2014:


Lets see pavement parking more vigorously enforced at the very least. Any Police officer can presently book a motorist who is causing "unreasonable obstruction" of the Highway. If we can also get a by-law passed giving Local Authority's the powers to enforce pavement parking then this will be a very positive step in stamping out inconsiderate parking.

Alan, 7:13pm Thu 24 Jul 2014:


It is already an offence which the Police have authority to act upon - if they choose to do so and, to be fair, most of the time they do not. Changing the law and all that entails seems to be a way of wasting money and giving those involved a platform for public preening. Dumping what the Police don't want to deal with upon Local Authority staff is a vile way of operating: you can't kick the Police so find somebody else that you can? Ridiculous. Simply report, report and report again (in person, by email or on 101) every single incident. The huge weight of data will force the Police to take action. I agree with you that pavement parking can be selfish, stupid, thoughtless and dangerous...as well as benign and inoffensive. It should be tackled and it is the Police who have the resources and legislation in place to act.

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