Inconsiderate Parking causes issues 4 the Disabled

I am an admin on a site on Facebook and a post was put up showing 3 cars parked fully on the pavement blocking it totally for pedestrians let alone wheelchair users, the visually impaired, anyone with a child on a scooter or ride along, pushchairs the list goes on.

There was much debate including defending the parking blaming councils and planners for the way that estates are designed, people claiming they had to park like it for insurance purposes (erm wasn’t aware on pavement was an option for where is your vehicle kept overnight), some saying if you didn’t know where you were visiting you may not know where to park and others (the vast majority) saying how inconsiderate it was and that people really should think of the community and pedestrians.

We received a request to remove the images and the post and after discussion decided we would leave it up. The photo was taken in a public place of a public space (the path) and there was no house name/no’s or street names in the photo’s.

We responded with a comment on the post that read

We have had a request to remove this post and have decided that it should remain. Can we please ask you all to look at rules 2 and 3 before commenting further. Namely no abuse of any kind and admin decision is final. We would like to draw to your attention that following Facebook page that clearly has number plates and streets visible. We considered a number of factors and have these comments in response to the comments above;
1) As a community we should be considerate of other people and blocking the path for people who use a wheelchair and those with visual impairments is not acceptable. We are in the process of setting up an Enabling Access Group to bring the community together and to be able to advise planners of issues like this. We are sure a wheelchair user would love to be able to park further away and walk but cannot, having to find a dropped kerb after encountering parking like this is not as easy as finding an alternative parking space.
2) As home owners please let visitors know of legal, safe parking spaces if you do not know the area.
3) As someone who now attends council meetings I would urge others start to do the same, there are plans that were discussed in recent meetings about yellow lines that SNDC are wanting to lay down in a variety of places that will make this an issue for visitors on a wider scale.
4) Actively get involved in the planning process of other developments such as the one in Silfield so mistakes like this do not get repeated.
5) We have sympathy with parking issues, and would urge you to contact your local Councillors to raise these issues as residents with limited visitor parking.

I received a private message saying the post was going to be reported to the police tomorrow and I assured the person that if we were advised it was illegal we would remove it as a matter of priority. The same person then told me if the vehicles or property were vandalised they would send the police in my direction, the veiled threat did not go unnoticed and my wife said ignore them they are not worth it, and she was right (ssssshh don’t tell her I have written this). I had to chuckle at this and did not respond further. A few comments thought firstly if the cars were vandalised I’m sure the insurers would take the view that the cars were illegally parked and therefore squirm out of paying out (I’m sure if they are there overnight it is not in a designated parking area, driveway, garage or on the road), secondly the person complaining had no idea I am a wheelchair user – as much as ignorant parking (I wish I had the image to show you all*) really frustrates me the police would not hold me responsible, there was no way of knowing where the parked cars’ owners were or which houses should be “vandalised”. It for me really was a sad indictment as to community spirit or rather the lack of it that firstly people would park with such little respect, but more than that, that they would threaten people questioning the parking. In the end the person who posted the photos removed them after informing another member of the admin team of being threatened. We also received an influx of requests to join the group (with familial surnames and neighbours) but we process requests en masse usually on a Thursday/Friday once we have had the opportunity to try and establish the links to the town and group. We do not allow advertising it is a community group, sharing community issues not for some to be threatening or bullying and we try to block these people as soon as possible.

I did some digging around this whole is it legal etc especially as much of the responsibility for enforcement has been handed over to local authority. I did however in the House of Commons Library find BRIEFING PAPER  Number SN01170, 10 February 2016 in which it states  it is an offence to drive onto the pavement , whether with intention to park or not. Because this is a criminal offence, as opposed to the vast majority of civil parking offences, it is enforceable by the police  even though it does admit that it is poorly enforced. The paper asks is on-street and pavement parking legal to which the reply is The general principle is that it is legal to park at the side of the road (onstreet parking) everywhere except where there are local authority restrictions in place. Driving onto the pavement to park is illegal (see section 1.3, below), but there is an issue about how widely this is enforced as it is a criminal offence (i.e. enforced by the police. Section 1.3  in relation to pavement parking reads; driving actually onto the pavement or footway (to park or otherwise) is an offence under section 72 of the Highways Act

So there’s the legal side sorted, it is illegal and I hope the commons committee currently looking at it make some clear regulations to ban this sort of thing and make it an easy rule to enforce – unfortunately since police resources are stretched it is not high on their priority list, I wonder if it would be if an obstruction caused a visually impaired person to fall into the road and be injured in some way.

Whenever I see posts or parking like this I wish as part of the punishment dealt out Police or Local Authorities could make people go on awareness courses where they try to negotiate obstacles blindfolded, and in wheelchairs etc. Maybe this would be a more effective way of making people think? You really cannot teach what it is like to be disabled from a book you need to experience it first hand, I considered myself well versed and sympathetic, then I became disabled and I realised just how little I really knew about ho eveyday life was going to change for me.

*although this image below is not the image, imagine 3 cars parked in a row like this completely blocking the pavement with no way past the cars like there is just about on the right hand side of this one.12651285_970363696388037_7097547459559901107_n

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