Pedestrians berate drivers who pull up on the kerb but those behind the wheel say they often have no choice. With a proposal for a blanket ban on pavement parking under discussion, Gemma Sherlock reports.
Pavement parking, should we or shouldn’t we?
What sometimes is a necessity for drivers can potentially be a life-threatening situation for other pedestrians.
Pavement parking was banned in London 40 years ago but it is legal across England and Wales if there are no other parking restrictions already in place.
Whether the vehicle is partially or wholly parked on the pavement it can cause a potential problem for wheelchair users, the blind, families with prams and other vulnerable pedestrians.
Morecambe mum, Samantha Threlfall, says she “regularly” has to push her pram and walk her five-year-old daughter onto the road.
Samantha, 28, who lives on Thomas Grove, said: “It is dangerous and it is not fair at all really when people can’t park appropriately.
“I understand drivers have got to make room for emergency vehicles but maybe if they park a little further down the street or around the corner?”
A private members bill proposing a blanket ban on pavement parking across England and Wales has been backed by charity Guide Dogs as well as Living Streets which campaigns on behalf of all pedestrians.
The bill proposes to make provision for the safety, convenience and free movement on pavements of disabled people, older people, people accompanying young children, and other pavement users; to clarify, strengthen and simplify the law relating to parking on pavements in England and Wales.
However some drivers disagree with the proposed bill saying sometimes they are left with no choice.
Hazel Beckett commented on Facebook: “We live on a narrow cul-de-sac, and admittedly some people are too lazy to park in their own driveways, but visitors, and those few who don’t have a driveway, have no choice but to park partly on the pavement, otherwise people living at the far end of the road, plus service vehicles wouldn’t be able to pass.”
Wendy Cole said: “I used to stay on Windsor Avenue and we had a driveway which we parked the car but my ex-husband used to have to park his van on the pavement/road as did most people on that street, because if he and other people just parked on the road, no cars would get down that road. So I say no, they should not ban pavement parking.”
A recent YouGov survey lead by charity Guide Dogs indicated that 72 per cent of pedestrians using buggies or prams find it harder to walk along pavements because of vehicle obstruction.
During the school run Samantha uses Whitby Road, George Street, James Street and Outmoss Lane to get her daughter, Aimee, five, to Lancaster Road Primary School. The mum-of-two battles to get past on a regular basis.
“I know people want to park outside their house but they are nice and warm in their car so why should wheelchair users have to go down the road?
“I can bump the pram down the kerb but someone in a wheelchair couldn’t safely bump themselves down a kerb, they would have to go back down the road to the nearest lowered area to safely then get around the car.”
Living Streets say more than half of UK adults aged 65 and over (51 per cent) do not know whether parking on the pavement is illegal in their local area.
So when does it become a legal issue?
Paul Riley, Lancashire County Council’s parking services manager, said: “Currently, the county council can only issue penalties where a parking restriction is in place. In some instances, the restriction also applies to the pavement.
“Unfortunately, we have no powers to stop people parking on the pavement where there is no adjacent restriction. However, the police can take action where vehicles parked on the pavement are causing an obstruction.”
Sergeant Adie Knowles, Morecambe Police, said: “In terms of obstruction offences and dangerous parking then it would be us enforcing that.
“At the end of the day it comes down to common sense, if it is affecting vulnerable users to have to go into the highway then it is something we would certainly look at and I would encourage people to let us know if this is the case.
“We try and find where the car is, who owned it and give them the opportunity to move it and not just issue a ticket.”
Within the waiting and parking section of the Highway Code it says “you must not park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.
“Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.”
While parking on pavements still remains a controversial subject there won’t be a second reading (debate of the main principles) of the bill until March, 27.
If you wish to report a parking problem you can complete an online questionnaire on Lancashire County Council’s website.
If the parking problem is an obstruction of the road or a more serious offence you can contact your local neighbourhood police team on the Lancashire Police team website.