When drivers park illegally – even for just a minute – it has a knock-on effect on other road users. Pavements may become impassable for wheelchair users, pedestrians may find it difficult or dangerous to cross and, in the case of cycle lanes, cyclists may be forced into traffic.
Inspired by the excuse ‘I’ll just be a minute‘ that’s often trotted out by drivers to traffic wardens, a group of cycle campaigners have turned the tables on motorists. When a driver parks in a cycle lane, they block the road for other cars so that bicycles can safely negotiate the obstruction.
Perhaps cycle lanes should be protected by the Catclaw – a concept we developed to highlight the inconvenience and danger caused by pavement parking.
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 its 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. It could just as well be used to highlight parking in cycle lanes.
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 ethical choice
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance, breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.
The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.