Last week at the Labour Party Conference I spoke with the charity Guide Dogs about the challenges pavement-parked cars create for blind and partially sighted people, writes Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley.
Pavement-parked cars mean many of these blind or partially-sighted pedestrians have to risk their safety by walking into the road just to get by.
A survey by Guide Dogs showed that 97 per cent of blind or partially-sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions, and 90 per cent of those had experienced trouble with a pavement-parked car.
It was very interesting to hear of the difficulties that councils face in trying to tackle the issue with their current powers, and why Guide Dogs is calling for a clear law on pavement parking.
To illustrate the problem, I was asked to clear the streets of pavement parked cars against the clock on a specially-themed whack-a-mole game.
I will now be supporting Guide Dogs’ campaign to make pavement parking an offence, except in areas where local authorities grant specific exemptions.
This would give local authorities real power to properly tackle this problem and bring the rest of the country in line with the current law in Greater London, which has been in place since 1974.
Cars blocking pavements are a nuisance for everyone, but can be a real danger form people with sight loss, potentially forcing them out into the roads to get by.
Outside of London, the powers that councils and police have at the moment aren’t sufficient to tackle the problem.
And that’s why we want a clear law where drivers cannot park on the pavement unless they’re in a specifically designated area.