Luton Borough Council was prosecuted by the HSE late last year following an incident at a high school in which an assistant headteacher was attacked by a pupil and left with life-changing injuries.
A recent publication by the Transport Committee recommends that pavement parking be made illegal and for the introduction of new offences.
Parking on the pavement is often the norm, especially in busy residential streets and near to public buildings, such as schools and hospitals, but it can pose a particular problem for disabled people, children and vulnerable pedestrians trying to cross the road. We have seen the risks and problems first hand for our clients, for example, those in wheelchairs who can't continue along pavements blocked by cars, and clients who are hit by approaching vehicles when they step out onto the road between poorly parked cars.
Charities, such as Living Streets, have been raising attention to this issue for years with their ‘Pavements for People’ campaign, highlighting the risks that increasing levels of pavement clutter and parked cars present to all pavement users. During its research, the Transport Committee noted evidence of increased risk to pedestrians around schools as a result of cars driving onto pavements with little regard for pedestrians and the risks to children. Research conducted by Living Streets drew attention to examples of disabled people rendered housebound as a result of inaccessible footpaths, along with someone who advised that “It became impossible for me to take my elderly mother for a walk around the block, physically supported, because there wasn’t enough room left for 2 people to walk side-by-side.”
Creating an obstruction has been illegal in London since 1974 and the Highway Code restricts pavement parking, specifically:
“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.”
We are all familiar with pathways being rendered unusable as a result of poorly parked cars, with many of us sharing the frustration and concern caused when trying to manoeuvre a pram or wheelchair from the kerb and into the road, just to be able to continue our journey.
The risks to pedestrians cannot be understated. The charity, Guide Dogs, advised that they train dogs to stop at a hazard, which can lead to their owner being aware of an issue, but not knowing what the issue is. This can result in the user having to step into the road, a potentially fatal situation. During its consultation, the Transport Committee were also made aware of situations in which people have been injured as a result of attempting to walk on pathways that have been rendered excessively narrow.
Although civil enforcement measures have existed for years, due to budgetary constraints, these are often unenforced, leading to a culture that the Alliance of British Drivers describes as one where “people think that they can get away with, because there has not been much actual enforcement where it is not allowed, people tend to do it”.
At Anthony Collins Solicitors, we represent clients in personal injury and clinical negligence cases who have suffered life-changing injuries that impact on their ability to safely mobilise, whether as a result of neurological or physical symptoms, resulting in disability. We are also mindful of the risks of injuries to pedestrians as a result of having to traverse around poorly parked cars and stepping into the carriageway.
If you, or someone you know, would like to know more about the services we provide, please contact Christopher Frankling, or call us on 0121 200 3242. We are happy to talk to you on an initial free, no obligation basis.
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