The Department for Transport is considering bringing the country in line with London by making pavement parking an offence and punishable by a fine of £70.
Driving on pavement is already illegal across Britain, and is responsible for over 40 deaths a year, but penalties are seldomly enforced. Furthermore, the Highway Code instructs motorists to not park on the pavement. However, no system of fines is in place outside London.
Outside London, councils can issue fixed penalty notices if vehicles contravene parking, waiting or loading restrictions. There is no specific ban, however, on pavement parking. The offence of obstruction can be dealt with by police.
For our part, we helped push the issue up the news agenda earlier this month by launching the Catclaw.
The Catclaw is an extreme idea that is unlikely to be practicable, or even legal. Other than the sharpened spike hidden within, what, you may well ask, is it’s point. The purpose of the project is to highlight the plight of the 43 people killed last year on pavements in Britain by drivers and the many thousands of pedestrians every day who have their path blocked. In other words, the Catclaw is a crafty way to discuss the need for road danger reduction with an extremely large audience. For example, it has prompted pieces on Channel 5 and the BBC.
The Catclaw served as a Trojan horse that allowed us to talk at some length about the need to radically alter the way we tackle road danger in all its forms. Earlier in the week, the Catclaw inspired, and gave us a voice in, a televised discussion about road danger that involved a serving member of Parliament. Elsewhere in the media, the project has generated coverage in numerous titles including The Daily Mail, The Express, The Mirror, Metro, The Manchester Evening News…not to mention the tens of thousands of Twitter users who engaged with the story and the 102,000 folk on YouTube who watched our film about it.
The systematic approach to road danger reduction Britain so badly needs will not involve Catclaw or anything remotely as outlandish. As as happened in countries such as Sweden, it involves people’s needs ahead of cars. The benefits of such an approach are numerous, but include safer roads, reduced healthcare costs, greater independence for children and increased quality of life for all. However, change of this kind can occur only once people – as opposed to politicians – consider it vital. And that process starts with getting it talked about.
The work of The ETA ranges from awareness-raising projects like the Catclaw, to community roadshows promoting sustainable transport, to helping schools mount protests to demand safer road crossings. Supporting these is easy. Simply buy your home insurance, cycle insurance, travel insurance and breakdown cover and you will be helping to fund these projects and many more besides. And you can rest assured that by choosing us you will not be compromising on quality or paying over the odds – we’ve been around for over 27 years and are rated as Britain’s most ethical insurance company by The Good Shopping Guide.