Michael learns about pavement parking

MP dodges pavement parked cars in Parliament

Michael Tomlinson MP visited a street scene set up in Parliament last week by the charity Guide Dogs to learn more about the challenges that people with sight loss face when walking the streets.

At the event, the MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole dodged a pavement parked car, stumbled across a variety of street clutter, and visited a “shared space” area lacking safety features such as kerbs and pedestrian crossings. He heard from guide dog owners that dealing with these obstacles can leave them scared and reluctant to go out.

According to a Guide Dogs survey, 97% of blind and partially sighted people have encountered obstacles on the pavement. The most common obstacles were cars parked on the pavement: 9 out of 10 have had problems with pavement parking. Pavement parked cars force pedestrians into the road to face oncoming traffic. This is particularly dangerous for people with vision impairments, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people.

In separate research by YouGov for Guide Dogs, two out of three drivers (65%) admitted having parked on the pavement and nearly half (46%) were confused by the law on pavement parking.

Guide Dogs is campaigning for a law to make pavement parking an offence, except on streets where local authorities agree that it is safe for pedestrians. This is already the case in London, but elsewhere across the country, councils struggle to tackle unsafe pavement parking.