Monday 14th December 2015
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Parking on pavements is another one of those controversial topics for motorists, pedestrians, residents and others.  Some people say that it causes damage to the roads and makes it impossible for people with prams, pushchairs or mobility scooters to get by on the pavement.  Others say they can cause accidents as oncoming motorists can’t see children or animals about to walk off the kerb. Likewise, people can’t see oncoming vehicles as they step off the pavement and have to peer around parked cars and vans.  Some blind people have complained that cars parked on pavements make it harder for their guide dogs to navigate round. All of these worries have lead campaigners to take up the cause and ask for more controls over pavement parking. The Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill was drawn up to address the issues that vulnerable pedestrians have with vehicles parked on pavements.  It had its second reading in Parliament on December 4th but was withdrawn.  If the bill had been passed it would have made parking on a pavement a civil offence and liable to a fine.

Many motorists don't want the Pavement Parking Bill

Motorists are not happy about controls being increased as they say it is already hard enough to find parking spaces.  The Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) oppose the Pavement Parking Bill as they believe it could lead to blanket bans across whole areas of residential roads.  ABD are not condoning irresponsible parking, however, they do believe that the Bill is unfair to motorists who could park sensibly on pavements.  ABD’s director, Ian Taylor, said: "I emphasize that the ABD does not condone irresponsible parking that obstructs pavements; any more than that which blocks road carriageways. This is already covered in law. "However, there are places where sensible pavement parking would and should take place without obstructing anyone - and would indeed help keep traffic flowing.

"The proposals within the Bill are hugely disproportionate, unfairly punishing the majority of sensible and considerate drivers looking to balance pedestrian access with minimal obstruction of other road users. "This needs to be catered for in the Bill, not banned unless left to the "generosity" of local authorities, who can already take action to ban it where that is necessary."

The ABD argues that pavement parking can actually be useful. Hugh Bladon, a founder member of ABD says that there is often a good reason for people to park on pavements. "You can't have people blocking the pavement but there are lots of places where the roads are just not wide enough for traffic to flow backwards and forwards if they park on the road. "The end result can be that you get emergency vehicles that can't get through and that then becomes a real problem."  He is absolutely right, some roads are so narrow that if drivers didn't park on the pathways some large vehicles like fire engines wouldn't be able to get through.

Pavement Parking bill withdrawn

Fortunately, depending on your view, the bill was withdrawn on 4th December by Simon Hoare MP who had proposed the bill. Ministers felt that introducing a national ban on pavement parking outside London would create burdens for local authorities in terms of finance and planning where the ban would be placed as well as other logistics like passing resolutions, sorting signage and road markings. It was recommended that before passing any kind of bill like this a full and objective analysis and consultation would need to be done to assess the legal, logistical and financial implications for local authorities. They agreed to convene a round table next year to discuss footway parking issues and that the Department for Transport would undertake research on logistics and financial issues for councils.  So it looks like we will have to wait a while longer to find out if this legislation will be passed.