I (Dave) don’t have enough fingers or toes to count how many times I’ve come across a car that has parked on the pavement making me either turn in to Mr Skinny to squeeze through a tight gap or having to navigate it via the road. Currently there is no blanket law on this and it changes from county to county on whether parking on the pavement is illegal. As much as it’s frustrating for me, I do understand that, in some areas, there just isn’t enough space to park on the road without causing massive congestion and that’s why people choose to park on the pavement. I also think that part of this is due to cars being bigger than they used to be.
To give you an example, the cul-de-sac where I grew up had a road leading to a circular turning point with about 6 spaces for parking. The road was wide enough to fit 2 cars side-by-side with the right hand side of the road used for residents parking. No-one parked on the pavement and cars didn’t need to mount the pavement on the other side to drive past. My parents still live in the same house but now everyone parks their cars on the pavement – the road hasn’t reduced in width so would indicate that cars have got wider? I don’t think so, more that people prefer to park on the pavement to allow more room for cars to drive past.
I get all of the above but the thing that frustrates me is when there is no need to park on the pavement or when someone has parked their whole car (or as much of it as possible) across the pavement, preventing anyone from getting past. This isn’t just blind people, but parents with buggies, people in wheelchairs or elderly people using zimmer frames or electric scooters (no, not Vicky). It is drivers of these cars that have not considered pedestrians at all but probably want to get on the pavement so that their car is less likely to be hit by another passing car.
Guide Dogs are campaigning to get a single law for pavement parking – you can read more about the campaign at: (https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/campaigns/streets-ahead/pavement-parking#.WcurGU2Wxjo) which will help everyone understand the law regarding where they can and can’t park.
When I had Errol (my guide dog) I didn’t think about pavement parking as he would ensure that I didn’t walk in to them or, if the pavement was blocked, would alert me to this and take us around the obstruction safely (but in the road so not ideal). Since his passing in June, I’ve been using my long cane to get around and have naturally come across many cars parked on the pavements around where I live. In fact, almost every pavement that I use has parked cars on it. Most are just 2 wheels on the pavement leaving room to pass safely but I do come across cars on a regular basis that are parked with majority or all of the car on the pavement making it really difficult to navigate past.
I’m not going to finish on a moan, more of a plea to drivers to think about where they park and to consider how much room is on the pavement when they park. In addition, to consider the surroundings and ensure that there aren’t overgrown trees or hedges that will narrow the gap further. Please also avoid parking over the blister paving or dropped kerbs near the ends of roads which are specifically for safe crossing points for pedestrians.
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