A local politician is helping to raise awareness of the dangers of pavement parking.
Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North spoke with charity Guide Dogs Scotland about the challenges pavement parked cars create for blind and partially sighted people, who may have to risk their safety by walking into the road just to get by.
A survey by Guide Dogs showed that 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions, and 90% of those had experienced trouble with a pavement parked car.
The MP heard of the difficulties that councils face in trying to tackle the issue with their current powers, and why Guide Dogs is calling for a clear law on pavement parking.
To illustrate the problem, the charity asked Gavin to clear the streets of pavement parked cars against the clock on a specially-themed whack-a-mole game.
The MP has thrown his weight behind supporting the Guide Dogs’ campaign to make pavement parking an offence, except in areas where local authorities grant specific exemptions. This would give local authorities real power to properly tackle this problem.
Gavin Newlands MP, said: “Guide dogs play a vital and irreplaceable role in ensuring that blind people are able to live their lives with dignity and mobility.
“We need to always be looking for ways to build a more inclusive society. I was shocked to learn that almost all people who are blind or partially sighted have experienced difficulties with cars parked on pavements.
“Anything that would make life easier for the blind and partially sighted should be seriously considered.”
Niall Foley, Engagement Manager at Guide Dogs Scotland, commented: “Cars blocking pavements are a nuisance for everyone, but can be a real danger for people for people with sight loss, potentially forcing them out into the roads to get by.
“The powers that councils and police have at the moment aren’t sufficient to tackle the problem, and that’s why we are supporting the Scottish Government’s proposals in the Transport (Scotland) Bill for a clear law where drivers cannot park on the pavement unless they’re in a specifically designated area.”