Parking on pavements is a problem for walkers By bilanol AdobeStock_232699185

#nine90 campaign launched as part of National Walking Month

Vehicles parked on pavements can inhibit the independence of many vulnerable members of the public. Especially older or disabled people with visual or mobility impairments, so says Living Streets, a charity that promotes everyday walking.

In some cases, a vehicle parked on the pavement can force families with pushchairs and mobility equipment users into the road and into oncoming traffic.

The charity has released a YouGov survey which found that obstructions on pavements (including pavement parking) was preventing people aged 65+ from walking more or at all.

The survey was released as part of National Walking Month and is also part of Living Streets’ #nine90 campaign. This aims to highlight the need for streets to be designed with nine-year olds and 90-year olds in mind, as then they become accessible to everyone.

Joe Irvin, chief executive, Living Streets said:

“If we all viewed our streets through the lens of an older adult – or a child, a wheelchair user or someone living with sight loss – we would soon begin to understand how unfit for purpose a lot of them are.

“We want local authorities to be reassessing their streets and seeing how they could be made better for people aged nine and 90 – and therefore better for everyone.”

Pavement parking is banned in London

Section 72 of the Highways Act 1835 is used as part of the current Highway Code. Rule 145 states:

“You MUST NOT drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency.”

In London, the Greater London (General Purposes) Act 1974 bans pavement parking throughout the 32 boroughs and the City of London. The Highway Code states; “You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London.”

All the London councils should enforce this law by issuing parking tickets to any vehicles parked on pavements (unless there is a sign there that specifically permits it).

So why isn’t pavement parking banned in Bedfordshire? A spokesperson for Central Bedfordshire Council said:

“London has different laws and powers compared to the rest of the country. We have powers over HGVs who drive on or over a pavement, but we are unable to enforce other vehicles that park on pavements unless there are road restrictions or signage in place.”

A Bedford Borough Council spokesperson said that the Council has a Borough-wide Traffic Regulation Order in place. This enables it to prohibit verge or footway parking when enacted. The Council enact this Order and installs the appropriate signage when requested to and with the support of the local community. They added:

“There are many roads in both the urban and rural areas where we prohibit parking on the footways and on grassed verges, and the Council carries out regular parking enforcement activities across the Borough.”

Police may attend if there is an obstruction

Both councils said that the police are able to assist if a parked car is causing an obstruction. A Bedfordshire Police spokesperson advised that the relevant council should be contacted in the first instance. They added:

“We would encourage motorists to park safely and considerately, bearing in mind dangerous obstructions to the road, other people’s property and pedestrian pavements.

“Parking can become a police issue when a vehicle is causing an obstruction or has been parked in such a way that it is causing a hazard to other road users or pedestrians.”

If you wish to report an obstruction, the police can be contacted on 101 or via the online reporting service.

For Living Streets’ National Walking Month the charity is urging people to take two minutes to complete an online action urging local councillors to improve and prioritise pavement maintenance. Find out more at