Having a friend who is blind and has the use of a guide dog makes me acutely aware of how those of us who drive vehicles make the lives of those with disabilities, the elderly and indeed Joe and Jane Pedestrian difficult and at times dangerous.
I took the two photos above on 16th October around 1.45pm because I just could not believe what I was seeing as I tried to navigate the section of pavement in front of these shops. One vehicle actually pulled onto and over the pavement right in front of me to access the private land which is actually the majority of what looks like pavement.
And thereby hangs the problem. The pavement is probably about 3ft wide from the kerb line, the rest of the hard standing is private land belonging to whomever owns the shops. Vehicles want to park on that private land as it’s free to do so and parking is very limited in the immediate area. To get to it they have to cross the pavement and with successive road resurfacings making the kerb level quite low it means that in reality vehicles bounce across the pavement wherever they can/want. In turn this makes a pedestrian’s life quite exciting and akin to running a gauntlet, at least it is for the abled bodied who can do that. The elderly, people with disabilities and the blind just have to hope they won’t be knocked over!
But in fact things are even worse than that because the pavement part is often parked upon too so there’s no clear footway at all as you can clearly see from one of the shots where there’s a parked car all but abandoned at an angle over it. A few days prior to taking these photos I had reason to walk in front of the same shops and I found a van parked pretty much the same way as the abandoned car. On that occasion there were a couple of blokes unloading the van and I decided to tackle them. That may not have been a wise thing to do but I stayed calm and simply said they should move their van because it was making the pavement dangerous particularly for people with disabilities. Half expecting some abuse in return they just looked at me and said nothing. However, when I went past again in the other direction a little later the same van was sensibly parked against the kerb. It seems they got what I was saying.
The black bollards you can see in one photo had to be put there to try to stop vehicles using the dropped kerb of the Pelican Crossing to access the private land about a dozen years ago so the problem is far from being a new one. However, it has got so much worse in recent times and I fear that there’s an accident just waiting to happen.
I’ve asked Sefton Council Highways to have another look at this area to see what can be done to make things safer.
Readers of this blog site won’t be surprised that I’m very much in favour of tackling the scourge of pavement parking although I also think such a move needs to go hand in hand with tackling cycles being ridden on pavements too, other than by small children.
The link below is to the Government’s consultation on the matter:-
My most recent blog/rant on the matter is available via the link blow:-
But and it’s a BIG but even if the law/guidance is changed will Councils and/or the Police actually enforce? History seems to indicate they won’t as the powers that be do little or nothing now with the regulations they can use as far as I can see. Just think how much trouble would it actually be for a passing police vehicle/council enforcement officer, not already on an urgent call of course, to stop and ticket vehicles parked on pavements or even to tackle anti-social bike riding on them? I appreciate that the present regulations may fall between the Police and Councils but surely if they wanted to sort this out they could have done without Government issuing new regulations/passing new laws?
Well anyway you have the link to the Government consultation so let Government know how you feel.
I’ve never quite understood the habit of the many drivers who park their vehicles on pavements, then again I find adults riding cycles on pavements troubling too.
Below there’s a link to a Liverpool Echo article about the problem which seems to be getting worse almost daily:-
When I stop for a coffee at the CoOp in Town Green on one of my regular cycle rides I often observe drivers pulling straight off Town Green Lane and onto a small piece of land at the side of the shop where there are cycle racks. If it’s a large car (and there are a lot them in leafy Aughton) the vehicle often can end up overhanging/blocking the pavement. Do the drivers realise this, do they care? What’s more the CoOp does have a large car park!
Another thing I’ve noticed is that some drivers seem to pull two wheels onto the pavement when stopping as a matter of course. Even if the road is quite wide they still do it, even if the pavement is quite narrow they still do it! It’s a habit which needs challenging and if Merseyside Police are going to start to do so all well and good – Sadly Town Green is in Lancashire so unless Lancs police adopt a similar policy………
The really, really bad practice is putting all of a vehicle on the pavement/cycle track/shared pedestrian-cycle path so that pedestrians or indeed cyclists are blocked and sometimes forced into the road. Such acts of selfishness surely have to be deliberate rather than thoughtless. We can only assume such drivers have no members of their family who are blind, no members of their family who push prams and that they are are completely at ease with putting other lives lives at risk.
Oh and while Merseyside police are at it I hope they also start to tackle pavement cyclists as they are a danger to pedestrians; as I always say pavements r 4 pedestrians except where they have been designated as shared space with cyclists of course.
For the benefit of doubt I am a pedestrian, cyclist and driver. And no I can’t say hand on heart that I’m a perfect driver, cyclist or pedestrian but I don’t mind my failings being pointed out to me by the police or frustrated pedestrians.
It really is time that we all adopted the this approach – PAVEMENTS R 4 PEDESTRIANS and that all police forces took steps to enforce it.