As the government promises yet another consultation into pavement parking, we’re left wondering whether this anti-social and dangerous behaviour will ever be dealt with.
As well as being a menace for the disabled, elderly and vulnerable, pavement parking is a downright nuisance for everyone. On top of that, it damages footways and is a visual eyesore.
With the exception of London – where a ban already exists – only lorries are currently prevented from parking on pavements. The solution to pavement parking isn’t endless consultations, public information campaigns or silly gimmicks, it’s a simple change to the law to allow local authorities to enforce the obvious: Pavements are for people.
The reluctance of government to deal with pavement parking may be due in part to lobbying by the motoring lobby. The AA described talk of nationwide ban on pavement parking as ‘a step too far’ and a recipe for parking chaos. However, campaign groups are determined to see a change in the law.
To help keep the topic on the news agenda, we devised a fictional device designed to be installed along kerbs that quickly punctures tyres.
Catclaw is the size of half a small orange and was designed to be installed in its thousands along kerbs and pavements. When a car or lorry drives over a CatClaw, its weight exposes a sharp steel tube that quickly punctures the tyre. However, it poses no threat to pedestrians – a person standing on top of the device would not be heavy enough to activate it.
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 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.
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. The project has appeared on television and in The Daily Mail, The Express, The Mirror, Metro, The Manchester Evening News and been viewed over 120,000 times on YouTube.
The systematic approach to road danger reduction Britain so badly needs will not involve Catclaw or anything remotely as outlandish. As has happened in countries such as Sweden, it involves placing needs of people ahead of cars. The benefits 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. Please watch the film we made about road danger and share.
The work of The ETA ranges from awareness-raising projects like the Catclaw and the film above, to community roadshows promoting sustainable transport and helping schools mount protests to demand safer road crossings. Supporting these projects 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 30 years and are rated as Britain’s most ethical choice by The Good Shopping Guide.