The government has just introduced £100 fines for people who “needlessly hog the middle or outside lane” of a motorway or dual-carriageway.
I find this curious, because the rule 264 of the Highway code reads: “You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past. Slow-moving or speed-restricted vehicles should always remain in the left-hand lane of the carriageway unless overtaking. You MUST NOT drive on the hard shoulder except in an emergency or if directed to do so by the police, HA traffic officers in uniform or by signs.”
The word ‘should‘ in the Highway Code is code for ‘this is antisocial but not illegal’. ‘MUST NOT‘ means that it is illegal. Conclusion — lane hogging is not illegal, but is antisocial.
Curiously Rule 244 of the highway code says: “You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.” Forget London (unless you live there). For most of the rest of use this would read: “You should not park partially or wholly on the pavement unless signs permit it.” Conclusion — pavement parking parking is antisocial, but not illegal (unless you live in London).
However, in addition Rule 145 of the Highway Code says “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.” Conclusion —- in order to park on a pavement a driver has to break this law twice, once to drives onto the pavement, and again to get off.
- Pavement hogging involving breaking the law at least twice (but is largely ignored by the police and politicians).
- Lane hogging appear not to be illegal, but the politicians have determined that the police should fine people £100 for doing so.
To add insult to injury, Rule 145 (which is ignored for motorists), is vigorously enforced when people cycle on the pavement!
So.. the big question is what are we going to have to do to get the politicians to wake up to this issue.
The problem is that every year there are more cars, every year more people discover that they can park on pavement without getting into trouble, and park more audaciously. Every year more people get more confident of their ‘right’ to park on pavements. Every year it gets tougher for pedestrians.
To illustrate the point, here are a few incidents I have noticed locally over the past few weeks. Driver appear to be totally confident that the police won’t do anything even if they block the entire pavement.
The good news is that the politicians have demonstrated that they can act even if they want to. Now we just have to make them want to!
Carlton Reid has just commented that the paving outside the shop in the first two photos is very cracked. He also noted that pedestrians do not crack paving slabs when they walk across them, but that vehicles often do! Here is a photo of the same area taken when it was free of cars. Needless to say, in this case motorists are breaking loads of additional laws, including parking on the pavement next to a double yellow line, parking in a ‘no loading’ place and parking within 10 meters of a junction. Any more? Anyone care to estimate how much this paving would cost to fix?
I have just found another really classy bit of parking outside the side the same shop. Notice all the road-signs and bins on the pavement the other side of the vehicle.