Can we help Tesco help themselves?

24 Mar

Tesco appear to need help, and I am not talking about their ‘ shock profits warning‘ last week after which their UK boss quit; I am referring to a phone conversation I had with them yesterday following a complaint I had made in which they assured me that Tesco require all drivers to abide by all laws, including all motoring laws at all times. Now this is very interesting because  rule 145 in the Highway Code which reads “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” with a penalty of £500 for each offense (Highways Act 1835 section 72). They assured me that they never allow their staff to break this law!

HA1835 S72 has of course been almost completely ignored. A FOI request I made on the Suffolk police last year showed that they had only prosecuted 6 people county wide for this offense during 2009, which included prosecuting kids for riding motorbikes on heaths and bridleways etc. They were not able to identify the circumstances of each incident and I suspect that none related to people parking vehicles on pavements. What I have did notice while researching this post was an article in the Daily Mail which claimed that ‘only’ seventeen cyclists were prosecuted for cycling on the pavement in London in 2008 (which the DM thought though was way too low of course).

The police tell me that it is impossible to prosecute pavement parkers using HA1835 S27 because they would need to wait and gather evidence as to who was actually doing the driving. Technical advances have of course come to the rescue, and suddenly most of us carry the necessary evidence gathering equipment with us all the time; phone/cameras proved crucial following the London riots, and also resulted in the conviction of a police officer for the unlawful killing of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 riots. I see no reason why we can’t use them for our purposes now.

I think we need a test case; a quick internet search shows that many people are upset about Tesco driving (and parking) on pavements and also littering pavements generally; and that is without even getting into the wider issues relating to their size and business practices. Are they a suitable target for our purposes? I use the word ‘target’ deliberately, because I think we need to focus on a single large public company that disregards the law every day all across the country and make an example of them that they, and others, cannot ignore. We could of course choose any of the delivery companies (DHL, TNT etc) who are equally bad, however I think Tesco are the best one for us, especially given their assurances that they always obey all laws! Please let me know what you think in the comments section? Will you be able to help by gathering video of local examples? Fyi, we have been offered the support of a powerful environmental law company with this campaign and they should be able to help out along the way with this particular project.

Finally, here are some photos. The first two are from the Daily Mail who campaign vigorously when it comes to riding bicycles on the pavements, as in this example where they even quote the highway code rule ‘You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement’ in virtually the first sentence! However.. they don’t even mention that both of these Tesco vans have broken the highway code in a similar manner and that the first has completely blocked the pavement!

Daily Mail don't even comment on breaking highway code

Daily Mail again, and again no comment regarding driving on pavement

Tesco illegally driven on pavement in Cambridge

Tesco van illegally driven along pavement in Ipswich

Obstructing pavements in Westminster

Remarkable amounts of rubbish in Kennington!

Illegal pavement advertising by Tesco in Bournmouth?

About these ads

7 Responses to “Can we help Tesco help themselves?”

  1. Graham Martin-Royle March 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    I wonder if the driver of the lorry in the 3rd photo with PCL on the side of the trailer realises that by having any part of the vehicle covering the pedestrian zigzag lines he opens himself up to, not only a fine but 3 points on his license. The company may pay the fine but the points are his. So many drivers don’t realise what the penalties are for ped. xing offences.

    • Peter Miller March 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

      For sure, and video evidence showing the offence together with the context and a clear view of driver is sufficient for a court case. I know this because I have a case going through the courts at present in relation to a TNT driver doing exactly that. I spotted the driver on the pavement on the zig-zags, he wasn’t interested in moving so I videoed the scene and him. He as so unconcerned that he said I could do what I liked with the video I was taking so I took it to the police who accepted it, the courts have accepted it and I have recently signed the relevant witness statements and am waiting to see what happens!

      • Roger Hodgson March 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

        Good luck with this – congratulations for standing up for pedestrians. So much braver and more constructive than taking shoulder to wing mirror! Please let us know what happens – if any technicalities get in your way we can learn for next time.

  2. Mike Chalkley - Chair Bournemouth Cycling Forum March 26, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Hi Peter, slightly off topic but I couldn’t see any other obvious way of letting you know, I thought you’d be interested in a story in the Bournemouth area paper… http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/9611105.Builders__vans_put_Parkstone_children_in_danger/
    What struck me was the statement that parking wardens couldn’t ticket drivers on the pavement next to pedestrian crossing zig-zags as the yellow lines didn’t apply there!

    • Peter Miller March 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, and the example you give is clearly very annoying for everyone, except the builders who get to do whatever they like! Again, these people are not considering using HA1835 S27 which focuses on driving on the pavement, and are only considering obstruction which is not effective as written. HA1835 S27 seems to be potentially much more useful now we have camera phones. I will take legal advice and report back.

    • Peter Miller March 26, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

      Apologies, I didn’t read your comment above properly before answering the first time. I guess it is indeed true that the yellow line regs don’t apply if there aren’t any, however the zig-zag regulations do. It was certainly my understanding that the zig-zag regs apply to the pavement as well as to the carriageway however I can’t now find that written clearer in the regulations. Also.. I am not clear if parking wardens can enforce the zebra zig-zags or if it is only the police who can do that. Are these regulations designed to be a mess I wonder!

      What I do know is written in ‘the law’ section of this blog
      http://pedestrianliberation.org/the-law-2/

      • Graham Martin-Royle March 27, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

        Pedestrian crossing zigzag’s can only be addressed by someone with police powers, i.e. a police officer, a police traffic warden (not a parking attendant) or PCSO.

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