If parking on the pavement is made illegal everywhere, the move will affect many of the people who hire our cars and vans. So we’d like to make a plea for a balanced approach.
We know pavement parking is a problem across much of the country. When a car or van parks inconsiderately it can leave too little space on the pavement for prams, wheelchairs and mobility scooters, can present a hazard to pedestrians who may be forced to step into the road, and can damage the pavement itself over time. So we completely understand why the issue of pavement parking is up for reappraisal by the Transport Select Committee.
Pavement parking is already illegal in London (and has been since 1974). The Highway Code says that elsewhere, pavement parking should only take place where “signs permit it”. In reality of course, a blind eye has been turned to motorists straddling the pavement and road, and often with good reason.
For many of the tradespeople and organisations who hire our vans, trucks and minibuses, it’s simply not possible to park on narrow residential streets and a) stay off the pavement whilst b) enabling other road users – and especially emergency vehicles – to get by.
You could, of course, force drivers to find somewhere else to park, but this may simply mean moving the problem elsewhere. In addition, it hardly seems practical to ask one of our rental van drivers to park 5 minutes away from their delivery destination or workplace and ferry goods, tools and more back and forth.
It seems equally impractical to launch a national street sign erection campaign to identify all those areas where pavement parking is permissible.
What’s needed is a balanced approach that takes into account the location, the vehicle and the available space. Our careless driving laws prohibit tailgating, middle lane hogging etc, but there’s a degree of latitude in defining what constitutes an offence depending on the circumstances.
We would argue that this sort of ‘know it when you see it’ approach is the one best suited to pavement parking, so the extreme and inconsiderate is penalised, but situations where there is no real alternative are not.
We’re hoping the Transport Select Committee reaches a solution that works for everyone, including our car and van rental customers.