Why do we need a new law? Aren’t existing laws enough?
Firstly, we need a new pavement parking law because it’s a huge problem.
Too many drivers are parking on pavements and it’s putting pedestrians at risk. A YouGov survey (2018) commissioned by Guide Dogs found that 65% of drivers had previously parked on pavements and 43% of drivers had parked on pavements in the last six months.
Living Streets FOI request (2018) found that 93% of local authorities in England and 87% of local authorities in Wales have received complaints from members of the public about pavement parking, but the existing laws are clearly not working.
Driving on the pavement is illegal – so too is causing an obstruction – but our police forces don’t have enough ‘bobbies on the beat’ to enforce the law and respond the scale of the problem. If they did, we wouldn’t have MPs proposing action or progressive transport bills in Scotland, and we and all our partners, including Guide Dogs, Sustrans, RNIB, British Cycling, Scope and Civic Voice (among many others), would not be leading a pavement parking campaign.
Lack of police capacity is one of the reasons that parking offences were decriminalised in the first place and parking management became a local authority responsibility. In London, parking on the pavement is explicitly forbidden by a Private Act of Parliament. Elsewhere councils can use Traffic Regulation Orders to make the act of leaving wheels on the kerb a civil offence.
So parking on pavements is covered by criminal and civil law. Not surprisingly, the YouGov survey above found that only 5% of drivers know fully about all aspects of the law on pavement parking. Raising awareness of the issue would no doubt help, but fundamentally the law needs to be made much, much clearer.