Although The AA's campaign has focused on road potholes, this recent twist to the campaign is well supported by us. Potholes on pavements don’t usually get the same attention paid to those on roads.
Its press release, which opens “Drivers who are told by politicians to leave the car at home and walk or cycle for short journeys are running the gauntlet of potholes and poor pavements,” has a point to make.
Our mission is to achieve a better walking environment and inspire people to walk more. We’re clear that if we’re to change behaviour (and reverse the decline in walking everyday journeys) we need towns and cities to be better made for people on foot.
There is little doubt that with the AA FOI showing that there were 10,200 claims for trips and slips on pavements over the past 12 months, that our most vulnerable peers (the elderly, young and disabled) will be put off walking to the shops, to work or to school.
There are two ways that pavement parking endangers people on foot; parked vehicles force pedestrians to walk in the carriageway and damage to the footway surface from motorised vehicles parked on the pavement, leads to trips and falls.
Local authorities should have the power to prevent parking on the pavement, to prevent as many potholes occurring. Local authorities spent at least £106 million in paying compensation claims for trips and falls on the footway between 2006 and 2010. The true figure when all councils and on-going cases are factored in is likely to be nearer £300 million*.
Let’s all work together to ensure central government makes parking on pavements the exception, rather than the rule and take a real step forward towards achieving a better walking environment for all. If the AA can speak up for people on foot, surely we all can all take a step forward.
*Guide Dogs 2011 report ‘Cracking under pressure’