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By Policy@Manchester

Why we need a Pavement Parking Act

Simon Hoare MP | Guide Dogs

3 min read

Ahead of today's second reading, Simon Hoare MP calls upon Parliament to back his Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill.

Today, my Private Members Bill, the Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill, is due to receive its Second Reading following Mike Wood’s Bill, which kicks off the day’s proceedings.

The issue of pavement parked cars first came to my attention, as a possible subject for my Bill, in June at an event held by Guide Dogsin Parliament. At the event, guide dog owners highlighted the serious danger that pavement parked cars pose to people living with sight loss. These cars often force people out onto the road, into oncoming traffic which they cannot see, which is absolutely terrifying. A survey from Guide Dogs clearly underlines the issue, showing that 90% of blind or partially sighted people have experienced trouble with a pavement parked car while they are out and about.

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I soon learnt that the current legal framework surrounding pavement parking is patchy and inadequate. In London, since 1974, pedestrians have benefitted from a law which outlaws pavement parking except on the streets where it is necessary and there is clear signage. However, motorists and pedestrians in the rest of the country – bar a few exceptions: Slough, Worcester and Exeter – are living in a no-man’s land when it comes to pavement parking law. On the one hand, the police can charge someone with a criminal offence if their car is deemed to be causing a wilful obstruction to pedestrians, although the definition of ‘obstruction’ is extremely vague. On the other hand, a local Council can issue an expensive Traffic Regulation Order on a particular street, but this can often simply displace the problem to another area.

For a number of years, Guide Dogs have been campaigning for the rest of England and Wales to benefit from a similar law as in London. I absolutely agree with them, along with 69% of the public and 78% of local authority councillors and this is why I chose this as my Private Members Bill.

Since deciding to take the Bill I have campaigned with Guide Dogsand other organisations to win government support for my Bill. It looks as though we may be gaining traction, with the Government beginning to show some recognition of the problem and making it clear that they see improving access for disabled people as a key priority. I hope we will hear more about this from the Government today.

I want to thank my colleagues in Parliament and the organisations who are supporting the Pavement Parking Bill, including Living Streets, the Local Government Association and RNIB. I look forward to us continuing to work together to change the law and ensure that pedestrians in the rest of the country, particularly those with disabilities, can benefit from the same protection as people in London.

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