Pavement parking has long been a confusing grey area.
When faced with a not-particularly wide road, do you plonk your car completely in the road and risk it picking up a scrape, prang or worse? Or do you tease a section of the car onto the pavement and potentially inconvenience any passing pedestrians, some of whom may be wheelchair users or buggy-pushing parents?
There seems to be no winners in this situation and you can’t go a few days without spotting something in local media about someone who’s gotten hot under the collar about a car-blocked pavement.
What the law says
People are fully entitled to get irate about pavement parking, but what does the law actually say about it?
In London, you simply cannot park on the pavement and doing so is likely to result in a £70 fine.
Outside of the capital though, matters aren’t so cut and dry. The Highway Code says that drivers should not park on the pavement. Note the use of ‘should’ there. This is advisory and not backed up by any legislation.
The actual rule says drivers must not leave their vehicle or trailer ‘in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road’.
So it’s subjective. If your car is deemed to be either dangerously positioned or unnecessarily obstructive, you could be hit with a fine.
In summary, outside of London, use your common sense and consider whether your parking is inconveniencing other road users. If it is, perhaps you should find a different spot.
There could be change afoot as Scotland is currently looking to follow in London’s footsteps and introduce fines for pavement parkers.
All of England and Wales could also adapt the approach too, with the UK government currently reviewing the situation.
Transport minister Jesse Norman revealed that the Department for Transport is “now undertaking a broader piece of work to gather evidence on the issue of pavement parking”.
His department was expected to draw conclusions before the end of 2018 but that seems unlikely at this late stage.
What do Brits think about pavement parking?
Most of us are fine with it apparently. A survey by online parking portal YourParkingSpace.co.uk revealed that millions of Brits regularly park on a pavement – with one in ten doing it every single day.
It was a weekly occurrence for more than one in 20, while just under a fifth admitted they had done it but did not know how often.
A separate survey from earlier this year found that over half (55 per cent) were against banning pavement parking.
Harrison Woods, managing director at YourParkingSpace.co.uk, said a nationwide ban would “affect the parking habits of millions”.
He commented: “Parking on a pavement can cause real inconvenience to pedestrians but some motorists feel it can be their only option.
“Our advice, where pavement parking is currently allowed, is to always make sure there’s plenty of room for pedestrians to get past and to be aware of people with a pushchair, with a visual impairment or in a wheelchair.”
What’s your view on pavement parking? Should it be banned or should we retain the common sense approach? Let us know down in the comments.