/ 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.

David says:
19 June 2018

I would like a ban on parking on all URBAN pavements to give all pedestrians and wheelchair users safe access to the highway.

Pavements are for People – if you wanna nick that for and Ad. it’ll cost yer! lol

BB says:
19 June 2018

Parking on pavements should only be allowed in specific places where there is still sufficient room for other pavement users, councils should mark out these specific permitted areas and it should be banned everywhere else.

It would be far, far, cheaper to say “allow 1m passable space” (for example) and fine heavily anyone who didn’t than it would to mark out every damn pavement across the country (and then re-mark every couple of years). We should expect car drivers to be capable of not being morons.

Crass parking on pavements or even green spaces in my area means that this move by the Scottish Government is very welcome. In my area we’re also trying to tackle fly tipping on pavements, which can be another obstruction for buggies, mobility scooters, guide dogs, and the rest of us when we have to walk on the road because there is about 10 cm left between the car/sofa and the tenement wall.

Crass car parking, fly tipping, etc, it’s all part of a whole and it has been demonstrated that one thing leads to another. Next dog mess isn’t picked up, bins are set fire to, walls are graffitied and so on. Enough of this total lack of civic sense!

For more info: http://leithersdontlitter.org/flyspotting

It goes much further than this. I would like to see a law demanding that all public buildings have to encompass an underground, or at least ground floor, car park covering the whole building floorplan to cater for the total parking requirement plus; and having as many underground floors as required. It is done elsewhere in the world – we just seem to be lazy in covering a lot of ground with concrete as an easy option. Think town offices, hospitals, supermarkets and you begin to get the idea.It wont solve the current problems but will help alleviate the nonsensical use of land purely for parking for 8 or so hours a day.
Legacy town parking is a real problem as that appears not to have an easy solution for reasons already mentioned..

As a non-motorist I support a pavement parking ban, except where a clearly marked pavement parking bay system is in operation. I regularly collect my grandson from primary school and continue to be amazed at the utter selfishness and idleness of some motorists (a phrase I increasingly use as a term of abuse) who park right across pavements denting pedestrians any use of them and forcing them into the road. They also park across other people’s drives (it’s only for a few minutes!) and on yellow zig zag lines outside the school. Fine them and double the fine for every subsequent offence! That might stop their abuse of the pavements and help pay to repair the potholes in the roads!

>park across other people’s drives /

I’m fine with this, as is the law I gather, as long as you’re not blocking a car in. If the occupant needs egress whilst you’re there and has to wait a protracted time (more than 5 minutes say) then it’s not acceptable but there’s no right in general to access a driveway from the road. Nor, should their be, you can’t reserve a section of road by getting a driveway.

If someone is prepared to make space for one or more cars on their property it is hardly useful if they cannot readily get on and off their drive. A friend used to live in an area where people did this and the council marked the road to ensure that residents could use their drives. It helped to cut down on the demand for parking on the road. Residents like my friend knew that they might not get a parking space outside their home or even in the same street if they arrived late in the evening.

Where there is a permit parking scheme it is quite common to see a white bar painted across the driveway to preserve access at all times. It means the owner cannot park their second car there, even with a permit, without risking a parking ticket.

That would be a rather naughty way of having a reserved parking space outside your house. The white bars don’t need to be as long as a car and the ones I have seen are not.

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It would be helpful if the markings were consistent and covered in the Highway Code.

Parking contraventions are no longer criminal offences. After parking enforcement has been progressively transferred from the police to the local highway authority the function has been ‘decriminalised’ and a parking ticket is a civil penalty. If the council puts a white bar across a driveway it can enforce against any vehicle parking in that place even if it is the property owner’s. It probably would not do this unless it had been specifically requested to do so by the property owner in order that they can enter or leave their property. I believe this only applies within controlled parking zones where parking bays are marked in white on the road and indicated by signs. As Duncan says, the white bar does not carry the prohibitive force of a single or double yellow line and would not attract automatic enforcement as an absolute contravention.

Derek says:
19 June 2018

Agree should ban parking on pavements, however need some common sense from Councils with regard to planning as well. We moved back to UK last year – so spent a few months house hunting including looking at one new estate which had only just started building. It was clear the road around it was not wide enough, there were some dedicated parking bays for visitors – but woefully inadequate for the size of the Estate – who allows this to go ahead!

I agree it do cause problems for the disabled , my own wife is one , but some streets in Cardiff in wales are really narrow we have a bus uses our street where there have been a few near misses, in some streets the road is so narrow a fire engine had to park at the end of the road to put a fire out in a house as it could not get into the street as the cars were parked on the pavement on both sides .

I tried to find out about recommendations about parking provision for new homes. Here is a relevant document on planning: https://www.planningni.gov.uk/index/policy/planning_statements_and_supplementary_planning_guidance/spg_other/parking/parking_standards_annexes/parking_standards_annexa.htm

I am struggling to understand Table 8 and looking at the ‘Creating Places’ parent document seems to offer no explanation. It is interesting that a drive capable of accommodating more than two cars in line only counts for two parking spaces (a practical consideration that anyone who has had to shuffle two or more cars will appreciate) and that it is reasonable to use some garage space for storage (the typical modern house is not well supplied with decent sized cupboards).

The only thing done with any parking enforced by councils overstaying your time in a time restricted zone , illegal orand other sort of parking is just ignored . Councils could make much money
by punishing illegally parked vehicles .Do any know the rules as set out in the Highway Code both advisory and compulsory??DO YOU

Welcome back, bishbut – I hope you’ve been alright.

Richard Smith says:
20 June 2018

Pavements are for pedestrians. Parking wholly or partly on a pavement requires you to drive on that pavement. That is dangerous and probably illegal.
Half measures which require subjective measures such as the width of a wheelchair would be unenforceable.
Follow London’s example. Ban all parking on pavements.

Parking on pavements could be allowed with 2 wheels only providing there is at least 1 metre of space between the car and the building to allow access for wheelchairs, prams etc. Areas were this is allowed by the council should be marked with dotted yellow lines, areas not marked parking would be illegal.

My address in Coventry is in a road which is narrow, and if everyone parked wholly on the road, then no emergency vehicles or waste collection wagons would be able to drive down it because of the width of road. I park partially on the pavement as I have no garage or off road parking access., but I ALWAYS ensure people & prams, etc can walk by my car without going on the road. I would be fearful of scratches on my car if I parked in-considerably. The problem with pavement parking is that too many motorists don’t care where they park or how they park, and I include white vans & delivery lorries in that opinion. As always a reasonable law is spoiled by the selfish person.

I think Simon Scott’s comment at the beginning of these comments would make any law ambiguous and open to interpretation. I’m constantly annoyed by thoughtless drivers who completely block the pavements with their vehicles leaving pedestrians to walk out into the road to get around the vehicle. While I am able to do this, I feel concerned for the disabled in wheelchairs etc and mother’s with prams.

I would support any complete ban on pavement parking – which I thought was already illegal. Certainly when I took my test in the mid 1960’s, we were taught not to park on pavements. Surely pavements are there for pedestrians?

James Brownlee says:
20 June 2018

It is a is difficult one. When the narrow roads were built, the average person did not own a vehicle. I have my own off road drive but have every sympathy for the person who can only park on the pavement, provided they leave enough room for a pram to get by. (Construction and use regs.)

It is clearly a matter for the local council. There are several narrow residential roads in my area where parking causes problems for emergency vehicles and deliveries. However, my road has recently been declassified (from an A road) and the council have allowed parking on the pavement (2 wheels on, 2 off) because the pavement is wide enough. In fact in some areas, pavements have been deliberately & recently widened to act as a traffic calming measure. My vehicle (a van) still allows 5ft of pavement width for pedestrians/push chairs/mobility scooters etc. One problem we have in Weymouth is that many large older properties are being converted to flats or demolished to be replaced by flats. As a result a large property which housed 5-6 people is now home to 30 with the garden now a car park. Whilst some additional car spaces are part of the planning agreement, there never seems to be enough (next door – two visitor spaces for a development of 15 flats and only 1 allocated space per flat). Without parking on the road and partly on the pavement, there would be no-where to park, anywhere nearby. I think it would be a serious mistake to have a nationwide blanket ban and would solve one problem but cause lots of others.

Yes I would! However it is not just those who park half on and half off the road that are a nightmare.
Further problems are caused by those who buy cars that are more like a Centurion tank, and then park on their front garden but with up to the front wheels hanging over onto the pavement. It is ‘interesting’ when you get an overhanger and a kerb invader in close proximity. Walking becomes a slalom event.

Neil K. says:
21 June 2018

My feeling is that parking on a pavement should not be acceptable but I would add something else into the mix: there seems to be a habit of also parking across drop kerbs, particularly near shops and schools. My daughter uses an electric wheelchair with back stabilisers which prevents the front wheels being raised to kerb level, so I have become acutely aware of the problems she increasingly faces. The simple act of crossing a road often entails moving from the pavement to the road and then travelling along the road to the next available drop kerb on the opposite side of the road.

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I fully support the rest of the country following Scotland’s lead in banning parking on pavements. Unless action is taken soon, parking on pavements is so widespread that it is becoming the accepted norm. It does not appear to be enforced, certainly in the Derbyshire/Staffordshire area where I live, a situation which I am sure is replicated across the rest of the country. Pavements are provided for a good reason – the safety of all pedestrians including children, the elderly, blind people and wheelchair users. Pavements are not provided for car parking. I have experienced and seen at first hand problems caused by cars parked on pavements. Being forced to walk in the road carriageway puts myself and other pavement users in a compromising and dangerous position. I have witnessed wheelchair users being completely thwarted by parked cars and having no option put to abandon their journey – totally unacceptable in my view. In areas with narrow streets car users should consider making alternative parking arrangements before buying or renting properties or even consider using alternative means of transport. No one should assume that parking on pavements is a given right in any circumstances. Furthermore pavements are not designed and constructed for vehicular use and will suffer consequential damage. The sooner parking on pavements is banned the better.

If parking on the pavement – allowing a certain distance from the fence etc as others have mentioned – is a sensible compromise in some roads, why not narrow the pavement/widen the road to define the limit more precisely, and then ban (and enforce) pavement parking in those roads?

Imagine the cost! Think how many potholes could be repaired if everyone parking illegally were fined. I’m surprised the local authorities have not thought of this, and outsourcing the enforcers.

A local authority close to us allows each district to nominate, apparently, a road each year for complete resurfacing. This is then put into the annual budget. I passed one of these undergoing a makeover a couple of months ago – an insignificant side road well outside a village with nice houses each side. No through traffic, just a quiet backwater. Through an FOI I learned this had cost £75 000. For which around 1000 potholes could have been repaired – like those that were sprinkled along the main village road I was using that passed the end of said road.

It depends what sort of state the road was in.

It took 20 years to get part of our relatively nice quiet backwater road resurfaced after it was highlighted in a local newspaper. It is a road favoured by driving instructors for practicing 3-point turns where wheels get repeatedly turned on the spot.

When I last drove along it the surface was quite adequate, alfa, but it was its priority over badly pot-holed more major roads that I found questionable. When we have scarce resources we need to use them to best effect, I feel. Cyclists suffer worse than most on badly maintained roads.

Suggestions have been made for leaving – where possible – a minimum footway width of 80-100 cm to enable wheelchairs, mobility scooters, twin pushchairs, etc to get past parked cars without having to go out into the road. But what about when one wheelchair user wishes to pass a twin pushchair coming the other way? Ideally we need about 160cm of unobstructed footway width as a general rule. Where it is narrower than that it should only be for short sections so that one party can give way to the other. Alternatively, where there are pavements on both sides of the road, there could be one-way working with pedestrians, disabled people and buggy pushers on the side facing the oncoming traffic – for safety reasons.