As Scottish city bans pavement parking, is it time to retire the Catclaw?

pavement parking

Edinburgh will be the first city in Scotland to completely ban pavement parking. 

In a change to the law seen as long overdue by anybody who has had to negotiate a blocked footpath while pushing a buggy, steering a mobility scooter or travelling by wheelchair, drivers who mount the kerb will from next month be fined £100.

Double parking and parking at dropped kerbs will also be banned.

Director of Living Streets Scotland, Stuart Hay told the BBC: “Edinburgh is taking the right approach to the enforcement of pavement parking, recognising that footways are for people, not parking spaces for cars.”

What is the Catclaw?

Pavement parking is a dangerous and anti-social persistent issue that plagues many. Parking on the pavement is currently illegal only in London, although police are permeated to intervene if a driver is causing an obstruction.

It’s highly unusual for the subject of road danger to be covered objectively by the mainstream media, which is odd given the alarming frequency at which it claims lives. When a four-year-old girl on a pavement in Liverpool was crushed to death in front of her mother by a driver who didn’t want to hold up traffic, the story was covered by local newspapers but failed to reach the national news agenda. At best, coverage of road danger is highly selective and almost always divisive.

The issue of motorists driving and parking on footpaths prompted us to dream up the Catclaw – a retractable spike that punctures the tyres of cars being driven on footpaths.

catclaw pavement parking protector

Catclaw is the size of half a small orange and is 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 prototype above is fitted with a dummy spring for demonstration purposes.

Given the Catclaw isn’t practicable, or even legal, what (other than its sharpened spike) is its point?

The project highlights the 40+ people killed each year on pavements in Britain by drivers and the many thousands of pedestrians every day who have their path blocked.

The Catclaw is a Trojan horse that’s allowed us to talk in the media about the need to radically alter the way we tackle road danger. For example, the Catclaw gave us a voice in a televised discussion about road danger as well as coverage in 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 195,000 YouTube views.

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 placing people’s needs ahead of cars. It involves small steps like the banning of pavement parking. Well done, Scotland!

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  1. linda warman


    Has this tempting idea ever been put into practice?

  2. Vincent Edwards


    One lucky parent at my local school has found a very convenient parking spot for her Chelsea Tractor while she waits for her offspring. Reverse up the dropped pavement and park directly outside the school gate – far better than the two-minute walk to safe, non-obstructive parking. And since the law in most of the country is so ambiguous, neither Police nor local authority take any interest in dealing with it. A row of cat claws seems like a sensible way to deal with this situation.

    Incidentally, in the second sentence of this article I think you mean “permitted”, not “permeated”.

  3. HappyDays


    > drivers who mount the kerb will from next month be fined £100.

    Only if anyone enforces it.

  4. Chris Johnson


    We used to live in a village which had a very busy A road running through it. There was a pavement, also busy with villagers getting to/from local shops & services, and some walking to/from car parks. Pavement parking was often a problem. One day a neighbour encountered a car parked on the pavement close to a garden wall. The only way to pass was along the busy road, with her pushchair. Just at that moment, a policeman appeared. He offered to lift the pushchair over the car, and then took great care to firmly grind the pushchair’s gritty wheels into the car’s paintwork.

  5. David


    I think the cat claw is a good idea. It may be a hammer to crack a nut initially, but problem parkers would soon get the message.

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