For many motorists, parking on the pavement is second nature. For others, it’s turning into a complete nuisance. New research recently revealed that  the UK has a near perfect 50/50 split on this very issue. Half the country thinks that we ought to ban pavement parking, while the other half thinks we should allow it.

Research from YourParkingSpace shows that 1 in 10 drivers park daily on the pavement. That basically equates to about 3 million pavement dwellers a day, leading to the government potentially planning to act to create a nationwide ban on pavement parking.

Change in the law

Back in 1974, when the Road Traffic Act was first created, pavement parking was made illegal but was never enacted. This was mainly due to high contention from multiple organisations and the pressure from citizens. It was ultimately repealed in 1991.

Now over 40 years later, the Scottish Government has, under its new Transport Bill, allowed local authorities to fine drivers for pavement parking. Along with some areas in London, these are the only places one cannot park on the pavement.

However, new research from YourParkingSpace hints at a nationwide ban on pavement parking that could be enacted by the Government, something which divides the country fairly evenly.

Blocking pavement space

Pavement parking can often cause major issues for people who live with a disability, use a pram or are blind. The Guide Dogs for the Blind charity says that 90% of its members say, above everything else, pavement parking is the biggest physical obstacle they face in the street.

Arguing for more space in the road, organisations such as the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) has come forward to say that a blanket ban would not be successful. It suggests instead a middle ground where having a minimum pavement width with assigned parking spots on the pavement.

Drivers such as postal or delivery workers, meals on wheels and so many more could be easily affected by this. Their need for a quick spot to park – to drop an item and leave shortly after, is where a blanket ban could get confusing. Similarly, for emergency services, they need the closest spot possible to where the incident is. If a pavement ban is in place, this could make it is more complicated for the above.

The ABD released this statement about the topic, along with their suggestion “We suggest that all that is needed on most residential streets is a minimum one-metre walkway. That’s equivalent to a double buggy or a mobility scooter. We don’t object to councils dealing with those who seriously obstruct. Therefore we oppose default blanket bans, but should it come about, urge the “middle ground” solution outlined above – with a statutory requirement for councils to provide pavement parking provision on any road where it is requested and/or achievable while still allowing that minimum one-metre width for pedestrian passage.”

Nationwide split

Not unlike other topics (Don’t mention Brexit … please!), the UK is completely split on pavement parking. Half the country thinks it should be allowed and the other half finds it completely awful and thinks a harsh ban would be good for us all.

Harrison Woods, managing director at, said: “Parking splits opinion, none more so than the issue of parking on pavements. In many parts of the UK, it is still allowed, but this could soon change as the Government reviews the issue. The outcome could affect the parking habits of millions.”

He added: “Parking on a pavement can cause real inconvenience to pedestrians, but some motorists feel it can be their only option. Our advice, where pavement parking is currently allowed, is always to make sure there’s plenty of room for pedestrians to get past and to be aware of people with a pushchair, with a visual impairment or in a wheelchair.”

One in ten drivers parks on the pavement daily, with another one in twenty parking on the pavement weekly. On top of that one in five drivers have admitted to parking on the pavement at some point in their driving life, although most cannot recall when. With the country completely split, any move from the government either way could prove highly contentious, and so this must be balanced well in order to meet the needs of those who struggle to manoeuvre pavements and help reduce the impact this could have on congestion.

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