HIGHWAY CODE: YOUR VIEWS NEEDED TO IMPROVE SAFETY
This week (31 August) a consultation has been launched seeking your views on proposed changes to the Highway Code.
The review is being held by the Department for Transport, to improve safety on pavements for:
• wheelchair users
• people with visual impairments
• prams or buggies
The main changes being proposed are to:
• extend the London-style ban on pavement parking
• make it easier for councils to pass laws to prevent pavement parking
• give councils the power to fine offenders
You can read and respond to the consultation online, complete a form or send an email to share your views.
Although the ‘pavement’ is defined as the ‘footway’ in legislation, the more commonly used term ‘pavement’ is used in this document to mean the part of a highway which shares its border with the carriageway (‘road’) on which there is a public right of way on foot. This is distinct from a ‘footpath’, which does not border a road.
Many towns and cities were not designed to accommodate today’s high traffic levels; and at some locations, especially in residential areas with narrow roads and no driveways, the pavement is the only place to park without obstructing the carriageway. However, irrespective of whether pavement parking is deemed necessary, there are inherent dangers for all pedestrians; being forced onto the carriageway and into the flow of traffic. This is particularly difficult for people with sight or mobility impairments, and those with prams or buggies. While resulting damage to the pavement and verges is, uppermost, a trip hazard, maintenance and personal injury claims are also a cost to local authorities.
Since 1974, parking on pavements, with certain exceptions, has been prohibited in Greater London by the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974. Exemptions at specific locations can be permitted through an administrative resolution and indicated by traffic signs. A national prohibition was enacted in Scotland in November 2019 but has yet to come into force. The reverse applies elsewhere in England, where parking on pavements and verges is permitted unless specifically prohibited by a local authority (either street-by-street or zonally); the prohibition requiring a formal Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). The DfT is currently running a project looking at how the TRO legislative framework can be improved, to make TROs easier to implement, including for pavement parking.