Pavement parking

The problem of pavement parking concerns many disabled people as not being able to use pavements because of motorists parking on the kerb hinders people’s mobility. Not only does pavement parking force wheelchair and scooter users onto the road, but it also causes problems for blind and visually impaired people who don’t expect a vehicle to be parked in their path. The problem of pavement parking is certainly not new and a campaign was launched in 1979 by the National Federation of the Blind called “Give Us Back Our Pavements”. Despite this campaign the problem has not been resolved and so Disabled Motoring UK continues to campaign on this issue.

WHY pavement parking is dangerous

Pavement parking is dangerous as it can obstruct the footway and force pedestrians into the path of oncoming traffic. This is particularly dangerous for people with sight loss who are unable to see moving vehicles but also those with reduced mobility, wheelchair or mobility scooter users and parents with young children or buggies.

Pavements are not designed for parking

Vehicles parked on footways cause pavement surfaces to crack and tarmac surfaces to subside, in some cases even damaging pipes laid beneath the surface. Local authorities spent over £1billion on repairing kerbs, pavements and walkways between 2006 and 2010. £106million was paid in compensation claims to people tripping and falling on broken pavements during the same period.[1]

Current situation

The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that In England and Wales it is illegal to drive on pavements and footpaths, and in London, parking partly or wholly on the footway is prohibited. The Highway Code (rule 244) says that drivers “should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it” .  However,  there have been some changes to help local authorities control pavement parking more effectively. in 2011 The Department for Transport gave permission to all councils in England to use traffic signs to indicate a local ban on pavement parking, rather than having to seek permission every time they want to do so.

The end of August 2018 marked 1000 days since the government promised to research a new law to prevent unsafe pavement parking. The campaign which is spearheaded by the Guide Dogs charity, is supported by a large number of individuals and organisations including DMUK. Shortly after receiving the Private Members Bill on the subject government promised to look into the possibility of a law, much like the one that already exists in London,to cover the entirety of the rest of the country. Guide Dogs has written an open letter to the Prime Minster asking her to take urgent action on pavement parking. 

The Department for Transport is currently conducting research into pavement parking; looking at its impact, councils’ existing powers, and potential solutions including a new law.

what you can do

Please write to your MP on this issue. Please include these key asks in your MP letter:
  1. Please write to the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, stressing the importance of this research and calling for action on pavement parking.
  2. Please ask your local authority (county council or unitary authority) to lobby the Government for additional powers to tackle pavement parking.
  3. Please consider tabling a parliamentary question on pavement parking.