MP pledges to help campaigners calling for pavement parking ban

MP Nigel Evans has promised to back charity campaigners who want to make it illegal to see drivers park on pavements.
MP Nigel Evans has promised to back charity campaigners who want to make it illegal to see drivers park on pavements.
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Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans is backing campaigners who are calling for pavement parking to be against the law.

Mr Evans made the pledge after experiencing firsthand the problems and challenges that people with sight loss face when walking around the streets.

He said: “I will continue to press the government for reform in this area, to ensure that partially sighted and

the blind are accounted for when policies are created.”

Mr Evans visited a street scene set up in Parliament by the charity Guide Dogs to learn more about the challenges that people with sight loss face on a daily basis.

At the event, he dodged a pavement parked car, stumbled across a variety of street clutter, and visited a “shared space” area lacking safety features such as kerbs and pedestrian crossings.

Guide dog owners who have to deal with these obstacles said it can often leave them scared and reluctant to go out.

According to a Guide Dogs survey, 97% of blind and partially sighted people have encountered

obstacles on the pavement.

The most common obstacles were cars parked on the pavement and nine out of 10 have had problems with pavement parking which forced pedestrians into the road to face oncoming traffic something that is particularly dangerous for people with vision impairments, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people.

In separate research by YouGov for Guide Dogs, two out of three drivers (65%) admitted having parked on the pavement and nearly half (46%) were confused by the law on pavement parking.

Guide Dogs is campaigning for a law to make pavement parking an offence, except on streets where local authorities agree that it is safe for pedestrians.

This is already the case in London, but elsewhere across the country, councils struggle to tackle unsafe pavement

Mr Evans added: “Several years ago I was led through the streets of Clitheroe with one of my constituents who placed goggles on my eyes which replicated having severely depleted sight.

" It's safe to say that I struggled as much today as I did then.

“It is a problem that is hidden to most of the public, but those reliant on guide dogs really struggle to navigate the various signs, chairs and cars on pavements.

"The majority of these will be there illegally, but there is little in the way of enforcement.

James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said: “Too often, our streets can be cluttered with dangerous obstacles for blind and partially sighted people.

“The worst offenders are cars parked on the pavement. If you have a vision impairment, pavement parked cars aren’t just a nuisance, they can force you to step out into the road and put you in real

danger.

“Outside London, the law on pavement parking is unclear and difficult to enforce. We want pavement parking to be the exception so pedestrians can rely on their path being clear. When drivers themselves don’t know the rules, that is a strong sign the law needs to change.

"Back in 2015, the Government committed to look into every option to tackle this serious problem.

"We hope that they will now follow up with a new law on pavement parking.”