Why do we campaign on pavement parking?

Cars parked on pavements are a dangerous obstacle for people who are blind or partially sighted, often forcing them out into the road. This can be particularly dangerous for people with sight loss as they cannot see oncoming traffic. In the worst cases, pavements obstructed by cars can stop people who are blind or partially sighted from leaving their homes.

A blue van pavement parkedThe Problem of Pavement Parking

Pavement parking is dangerous for pedestrians, especially those who are blind or partially sighted, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people. People with sight loss are particularly affected as they can be forced into the road where they can’t see oncoming traffic.

The lack of clear legislation on pavement parking allows drivers to assume it is an acceptable practice. A YouGov survey for Guide Dogs found 54% of drivers admit to parking on the pavement.  It is also expensive - local authorities paid over £1bn 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 five year period.

Limitations of Existing Powers

Local authorities report measures available to them to prevent pavement parking are expensive and insufficient. The limited geographical scope of Traffic Regulation Orders means that often problems are simply displaced to surrounding roads. Physical barriers similarly just transfer the location of a parking problem so, to be effective, barriers must cover large areas and become prohibitively expensive. The insufficient tools available to local authorities mean that 78% councillors support a law across the country to make parking enforcement more manageable. The Transport Select Committee, a cross party group of MPs, considered pavement parking in a recent inquiry. Their subsequent report recognised “there is a confusing patchwork approach across the country”.

Guide Dogs Recommendation

In London, parking on pavements is prohibited unless specifically permitted – a law that has been in place since 1974. Expanding the Greater London law to the rest of England and Wales would reduce regional disparity, improve clarity, empower local authorities and properly tackle the problem of pavement parking. Flexibility for local authorities is retained, allowing them to permit pavement parking where unavoidable through markings on the pavement to allow a minimum space for pedestrians to pass.

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Parking on pavements van graphic

"Pavement parking is a problem for the Council as it costs us a great deal of money to repair broken pavements, in addition to the obvious problems not only for blind people but also for those in wheelchairs, mobility scooters and with double buggies and prams.”

Local Councillor