Member of Parliament for Loughborough, Nicky Morgan, spoke with the charity Guide Dogs at the recent Conservative Party conference about the challenges pavement parked cars create for blind and partially sighted people, who may have to risk their safety by walking into the road just to get by.
A survey by Guide Dogs showed that 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions, and 90% of those had experienced trouble with a pavement parked car.
Nicky heard 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 national law on pavement parking.
To illustrate the problem, the charity asked Nicky to clear the streets of pavement parked cars against the clock on a specially-themed whack-a-mole game.
The MP is 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.
Nicky said “Every one of us has, at some time or another, had our way hindered by an obstruction on the footpath; for those who are blind or partially sighted that hindrance can quite literally become a matter of life and death.
“The challenges brought about by on pavement parking have long since been tackled in London, it’s time to take a look at how this real problem can be addressed through the rest of the country.
"This is an issue that I’ve been working on, alongside Charnwood Borough Council parking wardens and members of staff from the RNIB, for a number of years now. For the safety of so many vulnerable people it’s an issue that we really must get to grips with."
James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, commented “Cars blocking pavements are a nuisance for everyone, but can be a real danger for people for 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.”