All Highway Code references are for the UK Highway Code.

PARKING on the PAVEMENT

Highway Code rule 244 states amongst other things that you should not park on the pavement.

You may feel that you… (Click Here Read More)

are being helpful in keeping the street clear for traffic, but what about people in wheel chairs trying to get through that narrow gap. They will have to move from the pavement into the road, possibly trying to bump down and then up a four-inch kerb. Perhaps you should park somewhere else.

What you may not realise, is that where yellow line parking restrictions are in force, parking on the pavement does not exempt you from a penalty. The restrictions are for the whole width of the road including the pavement.

Blocking the Pavement

I know a lady who is confined to getting around in a wheelchair. It is almost impossible to get her up and down the kerb when some thoughtless person has blocked the pavement.

A few years ago I found an elderly disabled gentleman who had wrecked the front wheels of his electric wheelchair trying to get back onto the pavement, after being forced to go out into the road, because of a thoughtlessly parked car. A very high kerb (6 inches/150mm) may lead to a wheelchair tipping over as it goes up or down a kerb.

What about the young mum with a baby in a pram and one or two kids on foot, have you left room for them? Will they have to go out into a busy road to get past your car?

Have you considered people with visual disabilities? I know two ladies, sisters; both registered blind and they have horrendous problems negotiating their way past thoughtlessly parked cars on the pavement.

Parking across a Dropped Footway.

These have been put there so pedestrians can cross the road. It is dangerous and causes serious difficulties for anyone with mobility problems. My mother is 83 and very frail and needs a dropped kerb to be able to cross any road. Anyone in any sort of wheelchair or pushing a pram faces difficulties. Any one with sticks or a walking aid will have a problem. They are designed for people who can no longer manage steps. Please leave them clear:

· Pedestrians must be able to get to the crossing facility.

· It is essential for those using wheelchairs and pushing buggies.

· It permits a better line of sight for pedestrians and drivers using or approaching any dropped footway.

Blocking the Road.

One of the things I tell pupils on their first driving lesson is that you:

· Do not park across or block anyone’s access to their property.

· Do not park opposite a car on the other side of the road, where it will make it difficult for buses, trucks and emergency vehicles to get through. That fire engine may be on its way to your house.

· You should not park opposite to or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction.

· Never on a bus stop.

· and obviously look for any parking restrictions.

Causing Damage to the Pavements

When people park on pavements, they will be damaging:

· The services, gas, electric and water, which often run under the pavement.

· The paving surface, paving stones or tarmac.

· Over time the surface will subside and collapse, it was designed for people – kilogram’s – not cars and trucks – tonnes.

· The local authorities can pursue you for any damage caused.

· Many local authorities are now prosecuting people for parking on the grass verges. They soon turn to an unsightly muddy mess.

Mounting the pavement could also damage your tyres and vehicle chassis.

Dangerously Parked Vehicles

Highway Code Rule 239, amongst other things advises against parking on the side of the road facing into oncoming traffic. Can you see round the large panel van parked in front of you? You will have to pull out into oncoming traffic without being able to see what is coming.

People who park on the apex of a blind bend may be forcing cars to go out into oncoming traffic.

Sometimes I see cars parked so far from the kerb that it is almost a taxi ride to the pavement. This forces car to go much further out than is necessary.

Do not park where a large vehicle cannot get through. That fire engine may be on its way to your house.

Something almost everyone is ignorant of is Rule 248 which states:

You MUST NOT park on a road at night facing against the direction of the traffic flow unless in a recognised parking space. Cars approaching may be confused by the colour of your reflectors.

After dark, if you have pulled over at the side of the road, whichever side you are on, you should turn your headlights off. If you are on the ‘wrong’ side then your lights will confuse and possibly dazzle approaching cars.

And Rule 249:

All vehicles MUST display parking lights when parked on a road or a lay-by on a road with a speed limit greater than 30 mph (48 km/h).

Before you step out of the car just have a quick look and think ‘am I in anybody’s way parked here?’

‘Am I safe, legal and convenient, or dangerous, illegal and inconsiderate?

Sometimes people who have a parking exemption (Blue Badge holders in the UK) for their disabilities are equally guilty of these mistakes.

Oh yes, one other thing. Putting your four way hazard lights on does not exempt you from parking restrictions, even if ‘it is only for a minute’

Have another look at the

Highway Code. Have you even looked at one since you passed your test so many years ago?

The Highway Code and other literature is available from this website for UK drivers.

http://www.tsoshop.co.uk/bookstore.asp?FO=1207776&DI=582744

The link below leads to the Highway Code section on parking.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_069860?CID=TAT&PLA=url_mon&CRE=highwaycode_parking

For driving lessons in the Milton Keynes area please call me on 01908 569973

If you struggle with parking I give lessons on how to get it right.

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