7th December 2015
The rules for parking on the pavement are pretty unclear and it should be noted that the below article is designed to be informative, and you should still always check with your local authorities on restrictions applicable to your area.
The Highway Code states that “You must not park partially or wholly on the pavement in London and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.” In London it is an offence to park on the pavement and offenders can be given a parking ticket. However outside of London, “should not” does not constitute an offence on the understanding that it is not illegal.
In the Highways Act of 1835, driving on the pavement was banned, and this rule still applies today. But how can you park on the pavement, when driving onto it is a punishable offence? Simply there may need to be witnesses to you driving on the pavement to allow a prosecution to proceed. However even without witnesses, driving a vehicle on a pavement is a punishable offence, even if it is just to park on it.
The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 gives powers to local councils to restrict or prohibit parking on individual streets by applying for the making of a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). Using this they can apply bans on things such as pavement parking.
A few councils have taken a slightly different route to have the ban approved and instead passed it through private acts of parliament. A different way of applying the ban but the end result is still the same.
Naturally, some motorists will insist that in some areas parking on the pavement is unavoidable due to lack of parking space. Other areas have pavements so wide that parking on the pavement isn’t actually an issue for pedestrians.
You would be hard pushed to find someone who at some point has come across a parked car blocking the pavement they’re walking on, therefore leaving them no choice but to step into the road. For most people, this would be nothing more than an inconvenience as they can safely assess the situation and go around the car once the road is clear. However for a person in a wheelchair, with a pushchair or someone who is blind or partially sighted, stepping out into the road can be extremely dangerous.
Many different organisations and charities actively campaign for pavement parking to banned across the country. These groups include Disabled Motoring UK and Guide Dogs UK. The latter is a recent study showed that 90% of blind or partially blind have experienced issues with cars blocking the pavements, leaving them in a dangerous situation that could have been avoided easily.
The Pedestrian Liberation group took campaigning a step further by shaming motorists by posting images of there cars blocking pavements.
With a blanket ban across Greater London, and several councils pushing through acts to prevent the same within the areas they cover, it seems to be a growing trend that eventually pavement parking will be eventually banned everywhere. Especially if campaigners continue to make noise highlighting the problems it causes. Whether this is reached by individual councils imposing bans, or by a bill covering the country remains to be seen.
Of course, most people, when parking on the pavement are considerate enough to ensure that pedestrians including those who need extra room are still able to use the pavement. However, those who do not are causing unnecessary problems for pedestrians by simply not thinking about it.
We’d love to know your thoughts on pavement parking, do you think it’s a necessity or a problem? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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