UNBLOCKING THE PAVED HIGHWAY

Unblocking the Pavement HIGHWAY

Last week, a bill went before parliament looking to outlaw vehicles parking on pavements. This piece of legislation would aim to ban the use of pavements for purposes that they simply were not designed to accommodate, but many people still successfully ignore. Why though should it have to come to legislation when common sense really should prevail on this matter? Well, the need to outlaw parking on pavements is a real and legitimate response to the lack of common sense and application of selfishness shown by many.

As a guide dog owner, I am all too aware about the need to keep safe and be careful when out and about. My dog is trained to avoid obstacles that are on the pavement by either finding a way past it whilst on the pavement or if all else fails to lead round it by going into the road (on my control) to perform an off kerb obstacle manoeuvre. The latter, of course, brings its dangers, because as soon as we bring roads into the equation, the level of danger and risk is heightened greatly (just to add, an off kerb obstacle manoeuvre means keeping as close to the kerb as is possible when going round an object). When coming across cars, vans and other vehicles parked up in our way when out and about, it is annoying to think that I have to be forced into the roadway which really should be occupied by cars, not people.

Yes, I know an argument will be that many roads are narrow and that drivers have to put their cars up on the pavement so that the highway isn’t blocked. Well, if that was meant to happen then councils and the highway agencies would have drawn parking by signs on the footways already. Additionally, just imagine the annoyance, if for example we started walking down the middle of roads and holding up are motorised friends from making their way along their legitimate routes.

Additionally, would any driver purposely choose to take a child out into the road on purpose because they felt it was easier to do so? Obstacles on pavements do not just affect us as guide dog owners or visually impaired people in general, but they have consequences for parents with buggies and push chairs, people with various mobility impairments and also the elderly. This is my mind gives even greater strength for the call for a ban on pavement parking.

Ideally, there shouldn’t be a need for a law to govern this, because the milk of human kindness should be enough to take away all pavement parking. However, in an age where common sense seems to have evaporated in many areas, it is all too understandable that someone somewhere should take the sensible decision and minimise the danger that is affecting so many people.

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