The law surrounding pavement parking is a complete grey area in the UK.
It is only in London where the rules are clear with the Highway Code stating that drivers “must not” do so.
Rule 244 of the Highway Code states: “You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.
“Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.”
The issue here is with the words ‘should not’ as it is an advisory term and not definitely stating whether or not drivers could be penalised.
This indicates a more discretionary law across the UK, excluding London, where parking on the pavement will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
Drivers in London can face a fine of £70 if they are caught parking on the pavement.
Ironically it has been illegal to drive on the pavement since 1883 and section 72 of the Highways Act 1835 is used in the current Highway Code under rule 145.
Rule 145 states: “You MUST NOT drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency.”
We need a new nationwide law to end inconsiderate and unnecessary pavement parking
Motorists clearly have to drive on the pavement to park on it but it is unlikely this will be enforced.
In addition to being a nuisance, parking on the pavement can be incredibly dangerous for pedestrians, especially people with pushchairs, people with sigh loss or vulnerable individuals.
A spokesperson from charity Guide Dogs said to Express.co.uk: “We need a new nationwide law to end inconsiderate and unnecessary pavement parking.
“Drivers may not always realise, but cars parked on the pavement put people with sight loss and other vulnerable pedestrians in danger.
Parking on the pavement is not illegal across the UK
“Imagine being forced to step out into a busy road when you can’t see, and we know the problem can be so bad that people with sight loss simply don’t leave the house to do all the things others take for granted.
“We call on the Government make pavement parking a clear offence, except where there is an exemption in place from the local council.”
One reason why drivers could face a fine is for causing an obstruction.
Maximum fines for causing an obstruction are of Level 3 – which is up to £1,000 – but figures on the likelihood of a driver being penalised are unknown.
Steve Chambers, Policy and Research Coordinator, Living Streets said to Express.co.uk that there needs to be clearer rules surrounding motorists parking on the pavement: “Pavement parking is incredibly dangerous for people with wheelchairs, buggies or visual impairments, as they’re forced into the road and into oncoming traffic.
“We hear horror stories from disabled and older people trapped in their homes because of blocked pavements that don’t leave enough room for wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
“There needs to be tougher and clearer laws on pavement parking. It’s time for the Government to wake up and pass legislation which has been in the pipeline for some time now.”
Earlier this year the Government set out plans in their Accessibility action plan which could change the rules surrounding pavement parking.
Under section 8 49-51 it outlines the problem of pavement parking and the action going forward.
-8.49 As set out in the 2017 manifesto, where you live, shop, go out, travel or park your car should not be determined by your disability. Vehicles parked on pavements can cause significant problems and potential danger to people who are blind or partially sighted, and to wheelchair users, among others.
-8.50 Local authorities have the powers to introduce pavement parking restrictions where they consider it appropriate and the Department for Transport has taken steps to assist them in this.
-8.51 We convened a roundtable meeting in 2016 where it was identified that the major concerns affecting the ability to introduce and enforce pavement parking prohibitions (outside of London) were issues relating to the processing of Traffic Regulation Orders. We are planning to launch a survey in autumn 2017 in order to gather evidence about the current situation, the costs and timescales for processing TROs, and information about options for change.
Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Transport spokesman, said to Express.co.uk:
“Irresponsible parking can force pedestrians to step out into the street to get around parked vehicles.
“This is particularly challenging and dangerous for parents with prams, or blind or partially-sighted people, or people with mobility difficulties.
“In its Accessibility Action Plan, the Government has committed to looking at reforming traffic regulation orders and making them cheaper and less bureaucratic.
“This would give councils more flexibility in their local area to tackle pavement parking, and make sure that pathways are clear for their residents.
“Councils are keen for the Government to publish more detail on these plans, so that councils can more easily respond to local communities.
“Councils would like to have the option for a default ban, with the ability to allow pavement parking in certain circumstances, as is currently available in London.
“This would be simple and easy for everyone to understand. Councils would carefully consult with communities on the best parking provision for their area. This will enable local authorities to better protect vulnerable pedestrians and provide a more consistent approach for all road users.”
Certain councils have taken their own action against pavement parking including Bristol City Council who has started a petition to get the Mayor to ban unauthorised parking on the pavement.
Earlier this year, police forces in the West Midlands took to Twitter to name and shame drivers caught pavement parking.
Bordesley Green WMP is one of the police forces cracking down on these offences tweeting “Legal parking is a 24hr responsibility. 4 more cars in Bordesley Green ticketed last night #FineWithYouNotFineWithUs #NoExcuse #Antisocial”