Archive | October, 2010

Has parking in shared use footways been illegal since 1988?

15 Oct

When I was recently reading the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as one does), I noticed this interesting clause that makes it illegal to park on ‘cycle track’s, which incidentally includes shared use pavements. To quote:  “any person who, without lawful authority, drives or parks a motor vehicle wholly or partly on a cycle track is guilty of an offence” S:21). Their definition of a cycle track is any track that allows cycling and also a shared pedestrian/cycle route, but not one that allows any motorised vehicles.

I have marked the key elements in bold because for normal footways it if only illegal to ‘drive’ on them, not to be parked on one. The above appears to make it much easier to give someone a ticket for parking on a shared-use path for parking on a normal footway. At least one doesn’t have to worry about bicycles and parked cars!

This appears to mean that the police already have the powers to fine drivers for parking on share-use paths. I am a little cautious about my interpretation because no one seems to have picked up on this yet. My friendly local policeman was certainly unaware of the ruling, Living Streets don’t mention it in their guidance on combating pavement parking and nor to the cycle campaign groups. but is going to check and get back to me. If I am right then the following drivers are already committing an offense:

Car parked on a shared-use footway

Car parked on a shared-use footway

Update…

I have just been reading a useful post which defines the legal terms used for parts of the highway. It includes definitions of Cycle Track, Cycle Lane, Footpath and Footway and gives me more confidence that I am right.

They say that a Cycle track is ‘a route other than within the carriageway (e.g. on a footway adjacent to a carriageway, adjacent to a carriageway but separate from it and the footway, or a route completely separate from a highway – and which could be “permissive” or be a “right of way”). They quote the legal definition as being “a way constituting or comprised in a highway, being a way over which the public have the following, but no other, rights of way, that is to say, a right of way on pedal cycles (other than pedal cycles which are motor vehicles within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1972) with or without a right of way on foot [Section 329(1) Highways Act 1980]. The words in brackets were inserted by section 1 of the Cycle Tracks Act 1984.

And.. I have also noticed that the Highway Code – Rule 240 confirms it. It says you MUST NOT stop or park on … a cycle track.

A forum run for police specials seems to agree and suggests that the appropriate fine would be £30-£80.

Another update:

There seems to be some difference of opinion within the cycling world as to whether a Cycle Track can be along a pavement or whether they really more like footpaths and bridleways (ie routes not beside the highway). I have queries out with various organisations as to their interpretations of the law. I will keep you posted.

Nope, that’s not an obstruction!

15 Oct

The picture below shows a car parked almost completely across the pavement. This would not currently classed as obstruction by our council or the local police because no one is actually being obstructed at this very moment and would use the fact that the woman seen walking away from us with her shopping was able to get past (just) as evidence for the lack of obstruction.

The fact that an elderly person who uses a wheelchair lives a few doors down is considered irrelevant because he is not trying to pass at this moment. The fact that the person may not even bother trying to get down the pavement any more because they knows that it is impossible is not considered relevant. To add insult to injury, if someone passing the vehicle accidentally scratched the vehicle with a bag, buggy or wheelchair then they would have caused an offense against the owner of the car!

Not an obstruction

The only reason that it might be classed as obstruction in this case is because the person may have had to have ‘trespass’ onto private property to get past. A police officer I have just been talking to about this thought that this would indeed be evidence of obstruction.

New rules protect dropped kerbs

15 Oct

The Traffic Management Act 2004 (section 86) introduced to protect dropped kerbs from parked cars. It also covers places where the carriageway has been raised to meet the level of the footway for the same purpose.

To quote my local authority ‘ If an enforcement officer observes a vehicle parked fully or partly on a dropped footway provided for ease of access to cross a road or at a pedestrian crossing the motorist will receive an automatic penalty charge notice.’ This change means that it will finally be an offense for which a vehicle owner can be given a penalty notice to do this:

A Prius parked across a dropped Kerb is now always an offence

Again, this is now an offense (ie parking across a dropped kerb)

Car parked on dropped kerb

Conveniently for motorists the same regulatory change appears to allow home-owners to ‘claim’ the highway outside their house for their own private us! Our authority explains ‘If you find an inconsiderate motorist blocking the dropped kerb access to your home you can get in touch with Ipswich Borough Council’s Parking Service and action will be taken’.

Notice that it is only the owner of the property who can complain in this instance. This of course means that anyone who replaces their front garden with a parking place and a dopped-kerb now gets two protected spaces for the price of one. The first being in their (ex) front garden, the second right outside their house on the highway. I have created a separate post about why the car on the pavement is not currently causing an obstruction. Which all means that we can probably expect a lot more of this:

Dropped kerb creating parking for 2 cars

Finally… this car is not covered by the 2004 Regulation because it is not on the carriageway and my authorities would probably consider that it was not current obstructing anyone!

Probably not an offense!

In the above photo notice, yet again, a roadways sign that is obstructing the pavement. See my post about obstruction warning signs that cause an obstruction!

Cycles parked on the pavement are a health and safety issue, Range Rovers are not!

15 Oct

When I arrived at the Melia White House Hotel in London recently I found that there was no convenient and secure place to lock up my bike. Feeling rather irritated about this and noticing the impressive range of cars parked up on the pavement around the entrance I choose to leave my bike on an unusable section of pavement close to the font-door where the porter could keep an eye on it.

Unfortunately, the porter told me that I couldn’t leave it there for ‘elf and safety’ reasons. I press him politely, I then pressed his boss and then that person’s boss as well. The conclusion was that if I left my bike there then it would get removed, but that I could carry it through the hotel up into my colleague’s room which was a bit weird. Unfortunately, by that time my colleague, who had been fascinated by the conversation, was ready to leave so I wasn’t able to test out their lifts with my very grubby bike.  We left, took a few photos and put my bike somewhere else. The staff were helpful, polite and very professional throughout, but were being constrained by some very stupid and indefensible hotel policies. Health and Safety being yet again wheeled out as the catch-all reason to enforce any daft prejudice.

My bike was a ‘health and safety’ risk, the BMW and plant container on the pavement next to it were not!

White House Hotel, London. Parking

These Range Rovers on the pavement outside the hotel clearly aren’t a health and safety problem

Obstruction signs obstruct the pavement!

15 Oct

I have started noticing how ‘road narrowing’ warning signs get left on the pavement where they obstruct pedestrians! This is yet another excellent example of how pedestrian realm is taken over for the benefit of the motorist. How does that fit with the Disability Discrimination Act apart from anything else?

Here are a few examples. Note that in none of the case is the road actually being narrowed and that in first two cases there is a pedestrian trying to use the pavement who will be!

I still can’t believe that someone would leave a sign here

This next ones were on the approach to a primary school in Newnham in Cambridge. There are a total of four signs on a short lenght of pavement. Notice that the road-works are not actually even protruding beyond the parked cars.

Obstruction signs in Cambridge on the pavement as well

I say ‘were’ because they are now placed in more useful locations.

Should ‘road narrows’ signs actually be placed by parked cars?

Excess signage has been placed in ‘storage’ by the road-works themselves.

Excess signs

Excess signs have been moved into ‘storage’ by the road works themselves

Back in my home town I came across this one. There is no good reason for this sign not to be in the road which is where it now is!

Sign for motorists obstructs the pavement

Sign for motorists obstructs the pavement

Of course when one combines these cunning signs on the pavement with cars parked on the pavement then one can create complete chaos for pedestrians let alone anyone who is blind! This one is also in Ipswich.

Yet another ‘road narrows’ sign, this time there is also a car to complete the picture