Official, nearly no-one drives on the pavement!

7 Mar

A month ago I made a Freedom of Information request to Suffolk Constabulary asking how many drivers had been prosecuted for  driving on the footway (pavement) and separately how many drivers had been prosecuted for ostructing the pavement.

The police came back initially saying they that they were not able to disagregate driving on the footway (pavements) from driving on footpaths/bridleways etc, they also couldn’t disaggregated prosecutions for driving a motorbike on the footway/footpaths from driving 4 wheel vehicles. In relation to obstruction, they said that they could not disaggregated obstructing the pavement from obstructing the carriageway. This is unfortunate as is disguises the underlying issue I was wanting to look at.

Anyway… what were the results. In 2009 there were a total of six prosecutions for ‘driving/riding a vehicle on the footway’ and in 2010 this had risen were eight for the county.  Given that we do have some problems locally with kids taking motorbike and mopeds onto the heaths and common land I would suggest that few if any of these prosecutions are in relation to driving a car onto the pavement for the purpose of parking it there. Probably none?

Prosecutions for obstructing the footway/carriageway were about 800 each year. Given that this is for the whole of Suffolk and covers obstruction of the carriageway as well it doesn’t really tell me very much although 800 isn’t very many across a year and a county is it? That is two a day for a population of 660,000.

In passing I will note that in the case of prosecution for speeding, the police are allowed to demand that the keeper of a vehicle identifies who was driving it at any time. A couple of speeders took the UK Government to the European Court of Human Rights’ saying that it was a breach of their rights to have to incriminate themselves. They lost, but not before the industry created forward looking speed cameras that could capture an image of the driver.

I can’t see why they ruling couldn’t be used in the case of people parking on the pavement requesting the keeper of the vehicle by post to identify who drove it onto the pavement. Not knowing who was using your vehicle is itself an offense. The only problem of course is that the it would kick off a huge stick about ‘cash cows‘, victimisation of drivers etc etc. The reality is that the existing regulations are barely enforced such as blocking a dropped kerb as shown below. As such it will continue to be our job to draw attention to the issue and keep up the pressure!

Blocking a dropped kerb


10 Responses to “Official, nearly no-one drives on the pavement!”

  1. Graham Martin-Royle March 7, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    I have to admit that I didn’t expect anything more from the police, they are just not that interested in obstruction of pavements or driving on pavements.

    As for the twat in the photo, not only has he made it impossible for anyone in a wheelchair to go along the pavement, he’s also made it just about impossible to get off the pavement for wheelchair users.

  2. OldGreyBeard March 7, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Really, no one drives onthe pavement?
    What about the person I saw this morning on the walk to school? They drove on the pavement, which is only 1.5M wide, to get past a bin lorry. The bin lorries are there every Monday morning so why do peope just go another way instead of using the rat run?

    Then there were the people I saw who drove on the pavement to get past an obstruction despite the fact there were pedestrians there.

    In both cases, waiting a short moment would have allowed the obstruction to clear.

    Beyond belief

  3. ian... March 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    It’s not that the problem doesn’t exist, it’s that if they acknowledged it properly, they would be compulsed to do something about it.

    And they need to because it isn’t getting any better…

  4. David Hembrow March 7, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    OldGreyBeard refers to problems when driver rat-run. One of the problems of course is that it is possible to rat-run. As I’ve discussed before, in the Netherlands it is very rare that it is possible for drivers to take a short-cut through roads which they’re not supposed to be on.

    As a result, you don’t get rat-running drivers making a nuisance of themselves, and putting people in danger, and this works to the advantage of cyclists, pedestrians, the elderly and disabled.

    On one of the study tours we organised there was an amusing moment when a British campaigner asked one of the local planners what was done to prevent parking on the pavement. The answer was simply “you’re not allowed to park on the pavement”, and of course this lead to a question about “how do you stop it” etc. It went on for a few iterations. However, this is a rare problem here for several reasons, including that drivers expect to get a ticket if they do it, and that there will be somewhere more sensible for them to park and that there is some amount of shame about doing something so obnoxious.

    Residential areas in NL, including new-build, have plenty of car parking. This works to the advantage of pedestrians and cyclists.

  5. OldGreyBeard March 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Today I saw a Police car driving on the pavement! No blue lights or anything, just aviding a temporary holdup. What hope is there for decent driving when the plod drive like that

    • Graham Martin-Royle March 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

      That really is a big problem. The police are the ones who enforce the law, what hope is there of them enforcing laws that they break themselves. I hope you took details and sent in a complaint, it is the only way to get them to obey the law.

      Where I live the police, like everyone else, had a kneejerk habit of automatically parking on the pavement, even when there was no need, operational or otherwise, to do so. I made a complete nuisance of myself (and made myself unpopular with former colleagues) by continually complaining about this habit.

      It has worked to a degree, the local police are now very rarely to be found on the pavement and they know that if the do park like this, there is every likelyhood of them being reported and haveing to make out a report as to why.

      They are also now setting a good example to members of the public who are also less likely to park in such a fashion when they see how the police park. This is something that the police should take into consideration with their behaviour.

      As I pointed out, so many times in my complaints, what moral authority do they have to tell others how they should behave when they can’t even behave themselves?

      • OldGreyBeard March 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

        I was parallel parking at the time – the cause of the holdup! – so I didn’t get the details.

  6. Graham Smith March 8, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    There is a specific offence of parking/obstructing a dropped kerb(or raised crossover, or where cycle lanes join the carriageway) under S86 of the 2004 Traffic Act. No double or single yellow lines are needed. There is no offence if the vehicle is temporarily stopped but I don’t think loading is allowed. I am sure the Police don’t want to know this!
    Also in the Highway Code (online today)
    Rule 243
    DO NOT stop or park
    ….where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles
    in front of an entrance to a property
    …where you would obstruct cyclists’ use of cycle facilities
    except when forced to do so by stationary traffic.
    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.
    [Law GL(GP)A sect 15]

    • Graham Martin-Royle March 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

      The last paragraph needs amending. It should be the law everywhere, not just in London.

  7. Bryan Staub March 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    Why is it that pedestrians always loose in the battle against cars? Cars already have the advatage of size and weight and are not what gets hurt or seriously injured in the conflict.

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