In a recent announcement, UK motorists could now be fined for parking on pavements. The UK Government’s Department of Transport has released new proposals to make walking safer and easier for families and for those with disabilities, such as visual impairments. Pavement parking has historically been banned in London for 50 years now, but outside of our capital the only vehicle that can’t park curbside is a lorry.
For years, communities have been vocal with complaints from members of the public about the difficulties in accessing pedestrian walkways and pavements. Amongst these members, those with young children and disabilities, especially wheelchair users and visually impaired people, are eager advocates for bans on antisocial parking. But where will this leave motorists?
Recent research published by the charity Guide Dogs seems alarming. According to the findings, around 32% of people with visual impairments and a further 48% of wheelchair users are less likely to be social or go outside their houses on their own because of antisocial parking.
Stephen Edwards, the Director of Policy and Communications at walking charity Living Streets has said:
“This has impacted more people during the pandemic, with blocked pavements affecting everyone’s ability to physically distance.”
Courting a mixture of opinions, nationwide car network The AA has warned that a ban could create “unintended consequences”. Jack Cousens, head of roads policy, said: “As we have seen over the past few weeks with road closures and narrowed roads, councils have acted with little consultation and in many cases lost confidence of the communities they serve.”
According to local authorities, antisocial parking is one of the most common complaints filed by members of the UK public.
Announcing this change in attitude, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said:
“Parking on pavements means wheelchair users, visually impaired people and parents with pushchairs can be forced into the road, which is not only dangerous, but discourages people from making journeys. A key part of our green, post-Covid recovery will be encouraging more people to choose active travel, such as walking, so it is vital that we make the nation’s pavements accessible for everyone. Pavement parking presents a clear safety risk when parked cars occupy the pavement and force vulnerable pedestrians to move into the road.”
This news has developed amongst a new trend of rogue private firms who control a small share of parking in the UK using unfairly priced tickets.
The question remains: how will the outcome affect care owners and pedestrians alike if the ban is extended outside of London across the whole of the UK?