/ Motoring

Would you ban parking on the pavement?

The Scottish government is planning to ban pavement parking – and the rest of the country could follow suit. Would you support pavement parking prohibition?

As a 17 year-old at college I remember the police coming in to give us a talk on the local parking situation. The college car park was off-limits to students, and the roads surrounding were residential and extremely busy.

With plenty of students having just passed their tests many were flocking to these narrow roads every morning in a bid to park up as close as possible.

Is it illegal?

We were strongly discouraged from parking on the pavement by the police. I remember clearly being told that if there wasn’t enough room for a double pram to get through, then you’d have to move.

But what does the law actually say? In London, it’s crystal clear. The highway code states:

Rule 246: 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.

But outside of London, it’s a little more ambiguous. Councils have the power to enforce bans on pavement parking, but it’s not an option that’s widely taken up, or even enforced.

Consideration over convenience

Pavement parking is an issue that many groups feel strongly about, with a survey by Guide Dogs revealing that 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions.

The government has acknowledged the issues, saying that a review is underway which will help tackle inappropriate parking.

It’s so common to see streets of parked cars with two wheels on the pavement, with many people clearly opting for the convenience of being close to their destination or home. Do you think people should be parking more considerately?

Let us know if you’d like to see the rest of the UK following Scotland’s plans for a blanket ban.


I never park on the pavement unless I absolutely have no choice it is inconsiderate and selfish, the road is for cars and the Footpath/pavement is for pedestrians unless there’s a proviso for it to be a cycle path too, the roads are built for cars and the amount of money our council have wasted repairing footpaths due to ignorant (and I don’t necessarily mean stupid) drivers use the path as a car park, often making pedestrians use the road as they can’t pass, they park on the corners, kerbs and double yellow lines completely ignored and with no consideration for anyone else,

There is a cycle path/footpath at the top of our road, on Kempas Highway which is often used as a car park irrespective of cyclists and pedestrians, they drive over the kerb and double yellow lines both completely illegal and some even have drives without legal access,

I have complained to the council (Coventry) yet nothing has been done, before they repaired the path on Kempas Highway there were bollards to stop cars driving on here but they did not replace them, I have asked that they enforce no parking at the top of the roads leading onto the highway as cars are blocking the view with potential fatal consequences,
My question, “does someone have to die before they do something constructive with the money they take from us”?

I was visiting friends recently and we went into town on a bus that travels through residential areas before heading into town. There is no shortage of on-street parking but some drivers park thoughtlessly, as shown in this photo:

The bus driver did try to get through he gap but gave up and reversed. I went to the house adjacent to the white car and someone moved it out of the way.

Last time I took the same bus route we were stuck a little further along the road, where there was a car on one side of the road and a large van with its wheels on the pavement. I knocked on a few doors without success and eventually the driver had to phone his company and get permission to reverse far enough to take an alternative route.

Car drivers do tend to forget that larger vehicles may also need to use the streets.

(“It’s all about me and my car”)

Yes, it’s not just buses that will be affected.

Apparently it’s quite common for buses to be held up on this route and the danger is that the company could withdraw what is a useful service. The bus will stop outside your house if you are on the route.

There needs to be room for emergency vehicles – fire engines are quite big! But who parked there last to create the obstruction

I don’t know, but probably the driver who parked on the pavement. Obviously they did not think of fire engines, etc. The driver of the white car could have parked on the drive.

There is also the danger of the introduction of parking restrictions that will make everybody unhappy. Something similar happened near me and now there are very few spaces to park for shops and residents although there were plenty before the restrictions and local buses could still get through.

Councils tend to go too far when they have the chance to impose parking restrictions.

If there is a local residents association, perhaps they could ask residents and their visitors to park more considerately if they don’t want parking restrictions introduced.

I agree, and have seen examples of how restrictions have exacerbated problems, but in this example there is no shortage of parking at any time of day.

I live on a narrow lane with just enough room for cars to pass. Sometimes tradesmen will park on the drive but they usually have to be asked to move their van.

If only asking motorists to be more considerate were the answer. A lot of pavement parking occurs simply because many motorists have got into the habit of doing it. They see everyone else parking on the pavement and they do the same, regardless of any “necessity”.
While I accept there are areas where on-street parking is extremely scarce, it’s not only in those areas that motorists park on the pavement. I live on a road wide enough for two buses to pass comfortably. There is plenty of room for cars to park fully on the road. But some neighbours park on the pavement, often across the entrance to the empty driveway they can’t be bothered to turn into. School run time sees both pavements parked on, although drivers could park safely within two or three minutes’ walk.
On housing estates built between approximately 1920 and 1970 most properties have large front gardens with plenty of room to park. Yet these are the scenes of some of the most selfish and obstructive pavement parking. Again, I often see vehicles parked on the ramp leading to an empty hard standing. More modern estates often have less land available, but it would help if residents made use of the land which they have rather than assuming they own the pavement as well. And they would often find there are safe and reasonable places to park if only they were prepared to walk a few yards back home.
The Guide Dogs Association has suggested that local authorities should be allowed to grant exemption to a general ban on pavement parking. This could go some way to dealing with areas where few residents have front gardens, though I hope this power would be used sparingly. In large areas of our towns and cities there are plenty of alternatives to pavement parking, but I suspect only a parking ticket will convince some drivers of this.

That’s a major problem, Vincent; the cultural normalisation of aberrant driving behaviours. Sadly, you’re all too right. In many places, motorists have simply come to accept parking half on a pavement as normal.

In many of Gloucester’s old Victorian streets, cars are parked half on the pavement on both sides of the road. Without that, residents would not be able to park all their cars.

That’s true of any town or city.
It’s not going to change overnight. Parking on pavements as standard practice has been going on and getting more prevalent for half a century or more in areas of terraced Victorian housing. People living in such areas (I used to) acquire one or more cars with no thought of where they are going to park them, while the authorities just look the other way and do nothing as pavements and other public land get taken over for parking. The Guide Dogs Association’s solution – to allow controlled pavement parking in specified locations – seems to offer the best way of dealing with the issue, though it won’t please everyone.
My point remains – a lot of pavement parking arises merely out of laziness, thoughtlessness, bad habits and a copycat mentality. You don’t need to go to the Victorian streets of Gloucester to see pavements covered with parked vehicles. Go to post-war housing estates where everyone has, or could have off-street parking.
Most of it could be eradicated without really inconveniencing anyone. Sadly polite requests won’t work. A parking ticket on the windscreen will help some motorists to rediscover their empty driveways, or help them realise that the road is wider than they thought.

I wonder how many people park on pavements or on the road generally because they can’t reverse on (or off) their drives? I see many cars parked outside houses despite empty drives, and often the car is parked across the dropped kerb i(and half on the pavement) implying it is their own house. The TV programme Britain’s Parking Hell (channel 5) would seem to reinforce this – how did some people pass their test? Time for compulsory driving tests every 5 years to remind people of how to drive.

I believe that in Tokyo, you can’t own a car unless you can provide evidence of a parking place.

Strange how in the UK we are all hell bent on making ourselves so unfit, to the point of being less able to walk up hills or steps, by insisting on parking as close as possible to our homes and destinations.

Scotland has finally banned pavement parking. Now it just needs enforcing, which is the expensive bit.

Yes I support the ban and look forward to it being rolled out across the UK.

Whilst I agree you should not park on pavements the government should ask each council if it’s a on issue. I believe that all councils should look at there areas as some roads have car are parked on pavements on both sides of the road as there is not enough parking spaces in the road not to park on the pavements. If they did park on the road a problem will arise for the fire brigade on an emergency call out as they won’t be enough room for them to pass. Whilst this is a good step forward they should be looking at cyclists who use the payments when there supposed to use the roads..

Vincent Griffiths says:
20 December 2019

You can’t walk on most pavements in 2019, as they’re blocked by cars, vans & sometimes lorries!
Time companies also stopped employees taking these huge vehicles home, as they often have their own vehicles to commute to/from work, but leave them at home and prefer to inconvenience others by parking their stupidly-sized vehicles on pavements!
Why not tax companies who allow their vehicles to be used as commuting vehicles by their employees?
Also, I’m sick of seeing new housing developments built only to see the access roads made far too narrow hence lots of cars fully blocking pavements all over the country!
Yes, it’s time to totally ban this SELFISH pavement parking in Britain, and not let pedestrians have to walk on the roads….. If councils are so strapped for cash, here’s a golden opportunity for them to substantially improve council funds….. CLAMP THEM & HIT THESE UNCARING CLOWNS IN THE POCKET!
Vehicles are for roads, pedestrians are for pavements…… Also, fine cyclists who ride on pavements instead of the roads…. they are just as much a menace!
Make it compulsory for all new roads built in the UK to be made wider to prevent this nonsense of pavement parking…. councils need to wake up and realise, it’s 2019, not 1969, look how many vehicles are now on our roads,(Far too many)….. I drive, and I never park on pavements, I’m coming up 60 and I’d still rather park properly further away and walk, people today are simply TOO LAZY!

I no longer keep up-to-date on income tax reliefs and liabilities but it used to be the case that unless the employer required the employee to take a trade vehicle home [e.g. for emergency call-outs] then such home-to-work use of a company vehicle was classed as a benefit in kind and was taxable. That depended on the situation being declared, of course.

In many of our towns and cities where the streets were laid out in Victorian times [and later] it would be impossible for anyone to have a vehicle and park it where they live. Most developments after 1945 have been laid out to more spacious standards and in some places the amount of highway is excessive. Modern developments do indeed have narrow access roads but off-road parking is usually a planning condition and is provided with some relationship to the number of bedrooms. Unfortunately many residents choose cars that are too big for their garages, or prefer to keep other stuff in their garages, or have too many cars for their site.

…..and have visitors who would like to park their cars.

The photo shows a Royal Mail van parked partly on a combined pavement/cycle path while delivering the post to one or more of a row of six cottages . I’m not keen on vehicles parking on pavements, but this one is quite wide and if the van had parked on the road, passing vehicles would have to move across the centre line.

A lot of drivers routinely park with at least two wheels on the pavement – it’s just a habit they’ve got into and they do it everywhere regardless of any “necessity”. Many think it is their duty to do so. Having mounted the pavement at a dropped kerb, they may continue driving for a significant distance before stopping at their chosen parking spot. So pedestrians beware – you are not safe on the pavement.
I don’t know the road in the photograph. But motor vehicles are fitted with brakes and steering wheels. If parking the van fully on the road forced other motorists to perform a simple manoeuvre, or even to stop momentarily is it such a hardship?

Hi Vincent – This is a B-road where traffic speed frequently exceeds the 40mph speed limit and I have never seen any speed checks. If the Royal Mail van had stayed on the road any following vehicle would have to stop until there was no oncoming traffic.

I am strongly opposed to parking on the pavement but in this case it might be the best option since the van is only there for a matter of minutes once a day. Cycling is permitted on what looks like a pavement so pedestrians already have to be careful. I would have no objection to stopping as you suggest.

Hello Wavechange,
I think we broadly agree.
The proposed legislation allows some latitude for delivery vehicles – I understand this mimics Scottish legislation. However if I had the technical skills I could share photos from my “Royal Mail collection” – they show Royal Mail vans parked fully on the pavement when there are acres of available space on the adjacent road. (Some would say I should get out more. But then I’d probably take more photographs). I do understand that people making deliveries cannot always observe the letter of the law, but the problem is many motorists automatically default to pavement parking. This leads in some cases to an ever more “liberal” attitude to driving on the pavement – I occasionally see vehicles mount the pavement to get past someone turning right ahead of them, rather than waiting for the right-turning vehicle to complete its manouevre.
In the case of the van in your photograph, the ideal solution might be for residents to agree to the van parking on their driveway, assuming they have one (of course in practice life is rarely that simple!)

I sense ‘pavement envy’ will soon become a thing for those of use who live where there are no pavements.

The post van in wavechange’s photo seems to be considerately parked, leaving enough room for pedestrians and prams while obstructing the road and view of the bend as little as possible. Nor do I imagine it would stay there for long.

Its obviously parked on the pavement because of the bend ahead. If it were fully parked on the road, traffic approaching from behind it presumably would be forced to blindly overtake with no view of oncoming traffic. A dangerous manoeuvre.

Malcolm and Beryl – I hope you are both right in attributing such positive motivations to the driver of this van. In this case you may well be. And this driver is likely to benefit from one of the exceptions in the proposed legislation (all delivery vehicles would be allowed twenty minutes and I believe Royal Mail may receive additional allowances).
As I have said above – I sometimes see Royal Mail vans (besides all sorts of other vehicles) parked on the pavement for no better reason than because it is there. (If you saw my photos I think you would agree). Sadly, an increasing number of drivers think that’s what pavements are for. And on other occasions I see their vans parked sensibly, considerately and fully on the road, causing no apparent problems for anyone.

Thanks for the comments. The road narrows to some extent for the bridge, the railings of which can be seen in the photo, but the curve is not sufficient to prevent drivers from seeing oncoming vehicles.

I had a chat with the owner of the first cottage this evening and apparently the RM van always stops in the same place. The sensible solution would be to do as Vincent has suggested and park on one of the drives, do the delivery, turn round and go back onto the road. At least two of the six cottages have large enough drives for vehicles to turn round.

Vincent – You are welcome to post photos here if you upload them to a photo sharing site and post the link. My photo was on Imgur. To start with, any post containing a link will be delayed for checking by a moderator but if you log-in and don’t post anything dodgy, posts will eventually appear immediately. Another benefit of logging in is that you get 30 minutes to correct errors.

Many years ago I would sometimes park with two wheels on the pavement but a neighbour pointed out that this could make life difficult for partially-sighted pedestrians.

Ian – Our lane does not have a pavement and if vehicles park on the road it it makes it difficult for vans and impossible for bin lorries. I don’t know why most tradesmen are reluctant to park on the drive.

Alastair says:
17 July 2020

Where I live there are more pavement obstructions caused by trees and shrubs growing out if gardens than by parked cars. I see no logic in enforcing a pavement parking ban but doing nothing to force home owners to keep trees under control. But of course motorists are a soft target with mechanisms already in place to extract money from them.

I agree that overgrown hedges hanging over pavements are a nuisance and possibly danger to pedestrians. Just down the road from me one householder has a hedge which hangs over about a third of the pavement – at school run time the rest of the pavement is taken up by cars belonging to parents whose offspring attend the local primary school (there is plenty of safe parking in the area, but to be fair, some of it is almost a two-minute walk away, clearly too far for some).
A relative living in another part of the country used to be plagued by a number of hedges which blocked pavements. She complained to the local council and the hedges were soon cut back – whether by the householder or the council I do not know. They also took action against householders who left their bins on the pavement all week, despite having large front gardens. But nothing was done about the pavement parkers – only Police had the power to deal with that, and they were not interested. So she still could not safely use her mobility scooter.
The proposed legislation will give power to local authorities to deal with pavement parking. It is proposed that properly controlled pavement parking (allowing adequate room for pedestrians) should be allowed in areas where an absolute ban on pavement parking would cause enormous inconvenience and disruption to motorists. Parking on the pavement has become totally normalised everywhere, regardless of “necessity”. Pedestrians also have to deal with hedges, bicycles, bins, uneven surfaces, skips, doggy do, temporary road signs etc etc . I’d like to eliminate them all, but getting rid of pavement parking is a valuable first step.