Charity Guide Dogs is calling on MPs and the public to back a new Bill to outlaw irresponsible parking, as its campaign ramps up this week. According to the charity, badly parked cars, vans and other vehicles are putting the lives of pedestrians up and down the country at risk every day.
YouGov research conducted on behalf of Guide Dogs found that the problem of vehicles parked on pavements is rife - a huge 80% of people see vehicles parked on pavements at least once a week. Parking on pavements can block the footway, forcing pedestrians into busy roads. Guide Dogs is concerned that this is making some cities and town centres into no-go zones for people who are blind or partially sighted - many of whom can’t see when it’s safe to step into the road.
Now members of the public are rallying behind the campaign and, since April, have sent the charity more than 1,000 pictures of vehicles parked on pavements. The images have been used to create a map which shows that badly parked cars and vans are blocking the way for pedestrians across the country.
A Private Member's Bill calling to end irresponsible pavement parking will be given its first reading today, Wednesday 24 June. Guide Dogs wants politicians to back the change in the law and help the almost two million people who are living with sight loss today live life the way they choose.
The Bill has been put forward by Simon Hoare, Conservative MP for North Dorset, and comes after 184 MPs attended a parliamentary event held by Guide Dogs earlier this month to draw attention to the matter.
Amongst those attending were senior Westminster politicians from across all of the major political parties. The event was hosted by Lord Holmes of Richmond - who is himself a guide dog owner.
Simon Hoare MP said it's important we act to address the issue: "I'm passionate about pedestrian safety and it's undeniable that vehicles parked on pavements can lead to unnecessarily dangerous situations. This new law would help not only those people living with sight loss but also parents with buggies and people living with a disability. I hope that my fellow MPs will also see the sense in this argument and vote to outlaw such irresponsible parking."
Lord Homes said: “Pavement parking makes everyone’s life a misery. Why would you want a situation where guide dog owners, young families and people with push chairs have to step into oncoming traffic because there are cars blocking the pavement? We have a crazy situation in this country where we have the cars on the pavement and the pedestrians in the roadway. I hope Parliament will support this new law to make pavements safe for pedestrians"
Pavement parking has not been allowed in London for over 40 years, which includes exemptions for businesses loading goods and specific exemptions granted by individual councils. Guide Dogs believes this approach works well and is leading calls for a new law that would implement a London-style system across England and Wales. To date, 21 other organisations have signed up to support the campaign.
James White, Campaigns Manager for Guide Dogs, said: “Parking on pavements is blighting Britain's streets. It puts all pedestrians in danger, but particularly those living with sight loss. It is terrifying for someone who cannot see oncoming traffic to have to take the risk of stepping out into a road just because someone has decided to park irresponsibly on the footway. We hope this year will see this dangerous exercise outlawed once and for all, and call on all MPs to back a change in the law."