Feb 1, 2023

Parking On Pavements

Ian Biddle
Further reading

Frustrated pedestrians are fed up with the increasing obstruction caused by motorists who park on the pavement and yet many do with the best of intention to ensure that the road is kept free enough to allow traffic to move. The problem is that our roads were not built wide enough to allow people to stop by the roadside with enough room for traffic to move through. Equally many residents have driveways but still park in the street when they could be off the road and the majority of houses now have more than one car but there is a general parking issue when one considers that a car is parked for up to 95% of its time.

Whilst we continue to encourage people to make short journeys by a means other than the car, perhaps we should consider whether we could at the same time encourage reduce car ownership. However a pavement parking ban may finally be introduced this year as campaigners continue to call on the Government to fine drivers who flout the rules. Parking on pavements is currently covered by criminal and civil law, with different rules in different parts of the country, and vastly different experiences of enforcement from district to district.

Scotland originally announced its intention to ban pavement parking and dropped kerbs in 2019, but was delayed due to the pandemic. A consultation was run by the Scottish Government between March and June 2022 regarding the proposed pavement parking laws. Living Streets have demanded that the Government act and ban the parking on pavements before the end of 2023, saying any further delays would be ‘unacceptable’. Drivers could face fines for parking on the pavement, if the laws are to be introduced. If and when passed, drivers could face a £70 fixed penalty notice for parking on a pavement. However many drivers are unsure of the rules around pavement parking, with a YouGov study, commissioned by Guide Dogs, finding that 46 percent of drivers are confused by pavement parking laws.

Only five percent of motorists knew all aspects of the current law around pavement parking. Pavement parking is already banned throughout the 32 London boroughs and the City of London under the Greater London (General Purposes) Act 1974.

The Highway Code states ‘you must not park partially or wholly on the pavement in London’, although the Code does not have the legal standing to fine drivers. All councils in London can and should enforce this law by issuing parking tickets to any vehicles parked on pavements, unless there is a sign there that specifically permits it. On the other hand if caught parking on the pavement by the police, you could be charged with “unnecessary obstruction of any part of the highway’ and so in many respects we already have laws, if enforced which could eliminate this problem. However, the Living Streets charity claim that action is rarely taken because the existing laws are unclear and can be difficult to prosecute. (Traffic Safety Roads)