Nationwide ban on pavement parking

pavement parking

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.

catclaw pavement parking protector

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.

cat claw pavement burst tyre

Is this the only way drivers will understand that driving on pavements is dangerous not to mention illegal?

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 insurancecycle insurancetravel 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.

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  1. edmund white


    loved the Catclaw, seems the only thing that will make drivers obey the law and not park on pavements. Wardens an fines they fig to get away with it. They would not do it twice. Pity it is this way but that is the way it is.

  2. Helen


    Go ETA! My son was very almost run over last week by a person reversing out of their drive way and over the pavement to get onto the road. The driver had the gall to tell me that I shouldn’t allow my child to scoot on the pavement! Where I live everyone seems to have turned their front garden into a parking space so there is a constant danger as you walk along the pavement that a car might reverse out – and because cars are so absurdly big these days, they can’t see children walking/running/scooting/cycling passed. It is truly terrifying yet it seems that the desire to park your car off road trumps the desire to keep our children safe.

    • Vincent Edwards


      I sympathise with Helen and have seen examples of the sort of incident which she describes. However I would like to see a lot more motorists parking off the road and in their gardens – just taking care when they do so.

      Too many motorists who have parking spaces in their front gardens do not use them – instead they park on the pavement, often across the ramp which leads from the kerb to their empty parking space. Plenty more motorists could create a parking space in their front garden if they chose to do so – but why bother when there’s free pavement parking up for grabs? Many motorists have became appallingly lazy and careless in their approach to parking.

      If you want to see examples go to any of the housing estates built in towns and cities across the country in the 1950s. There are numerous other examples of motorists parking on the pavement just out of habit. Last week I watched in despair as a driving school car mounted the pavement ahead of me.

      The routine excuse given by motorists for parking on the pavement is that if they didn’t they would block the road. The Blair government swallowed this when they considered the issue in 2001 and decided to do nothing. Had they acted then, this year’s 17 year olds would not have grown up in a country where pavement parking is widely regarded as essential.

      The proposal put forward by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is that pavement parking should be banned except where specifically permitted by the local authority. The default would be prohibition, with exemptions where it would cause genuine difficulty. I hope such exemptions would be granted sparingly.

      On the other extreme, an organisation which claims to speak for drivers proposes that provided motorists leave one metre (just over three feet!) of room, that should suffice for pedestrian needs. This raises the awful spectacle of pavement parking being legalised and institutionalised everywhere.

      I suspect this government wants to copy the Blair government and do nothing. And when the pavements are full and the number of cars keeps increasing, where will they park then?

      • Douglas Milsom


        Vincent – I am convinced that many motorists park on the road outside their houses, even though they have an off-road parking space, in order to prevent others from parking there!

        Regarding pavement parking, there are even places (Edgware in NW London for example), where some streets have half-on, half-off parking marked on the road and pavement. When this was brought in, they actually fined people for parking wholly on the road…..

  3. Rick


    The pavements around my area are uneven and broken due to pavement parking. As people drive bigger and heavier cars now than 20 years ago the pavements, which were never designed to carry two tonnes, are bound to deteriorate.

    Ban pavement parking across the country and do it now please, and yes, I am a driver (25k miles a year).

  4. David Colin McArthur


    I read that in a recent survey most people are against a nationwide ban on pavement parking. Duh! there are 35 million private registered cars in the UK, it follows that most people are against a ban on pavement parking.
    Me? I would ban pavement parking nationwide, but there needs to be enforcement and suitable penalties to make it work – like whole life sentences for anybody parking on pavements. My first thought was hanging but the liberal in me thought that a little too harsh.

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