Pavement parking might soon be an offence across the UK

Pavement parking might soon be an offence across the UK

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British motorists might soon face stiff penalties if they park their cars on the pavement. This comes after Scottish legislators approved a bill that makes it illegal to park partly on the footpath.

That in turn follows a draft proposal to make this practice illegal throughout the whole of Britain.

Readers who want to avoid inadvertently exposing their budgets to a £70 parking fine should be aware of the following:

The Highway Code explicitly forbids pavement parking. Rule 244 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.”

Theoretically this is a totally legitimate argument, but in certain towns and cities of Britain the roads are rather narrow, having been designed prior to the era of mass vehicle ownership. People there park on the pavement to make room for other road users, and to make sure they don’t block emergency vehicles.

Scotland will be the first region in the United Kingdom to prohibit pavement parking. The fine will initially be fixed at £70 and it will not come with penalty points.

Councils will, however, be allowed to remove cars that are obstructing the traffic, which will in turn expose the owner of the car to quite hefty storage and release charges.

The only time when you will be allowed to park on the sidewalk is when there are clearly marked signs or parking bays that authorise parking on the pavement.

This will probably be the case in certain streets where parking on the pavement has become the norm over time. Even in these cases, however, parking will not be allowed on both sides of the street to make sure pedestrians, wheelchair users and those with pushchairs still enjoy unhindered access.

The announcement has been welcomed by groups who are campaigning against pavement parking, including the pressure group Living Streets. The main reason why they want all pavement parking to be banned is because it creates problems for wheelchair, pushchair and guide dog users.

Pro-motoring lobby groups have, however, taken a different view. Nicholas Lyes, the head of roads policy at the RAC, said: “Parking is an emotive issue for many drivers, and there is certainly support for local authorities to clamp down on selfish parking where pavement access is blocked for pedestrians and vulnerable users.”

He added though that there were instances, especially on narrow residential streets, where car owners feel they are doing the correct thing by parking on the pavement with one or two wheels, so they don’t obstruct road access for other vehicles while at the same time allowing enough space for wheelchair users and others using the pavement.

Lyes went on to say that all eyes will from now on be on the guidance and standards for local authorities produced by Scotland’s government, which his organisation hoped would also be easily understandable for motorists.

How your car being damaged by a driver while it’s parked halfway on the pavement will affect your car insurance is a subject for another day.

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