Pavement hogs

16 Aug

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.

In summary:

  • 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?


Update 2

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.


11 Responses to “Pavement hogs”

  1. carltonreid August 16, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    The cracks on the flagstones outside the PC shop show that footway parking is endemic here. Pedestrians don’t crack flagstones. Pavement parking isn’t just illegal and anti-social, it’s costly to repair.

    • Peter Miller August 16, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      Good point. I had noticed that as well, and took a photo of the area outside the shop when it was clear of cars yesterday. I will update the post. Congratulations of getting the BBC to do a piece on ‘car tax’. I wonder if we could get them to do a serious piece on this subject at some point.

      • carltonreid August 16, 2013 at 11:15 am #

        I’ll email Roger Harrabin, who did the report. Footway parking is a crime that society deems not to be one anymore. I couldn’t even get it mentioned in the Get Britain Cycling report despite providing tons of information to MPs and the report author.

      • Andrea elcombe March 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

        I agree that parking on pavement is illegal but there no common sense in enforcement officer. Will not do my job don’t care attitude . They have the power put won’t use it. I am disabled they say they can get by it not obstruction go another way in my case over half mile. Now that a Hate crime in my book, can you get legal help No. Andrea.

  2. Calum Smith August 16, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Steps being taken to tackle this in Scotland

    • Graham Martin-Royle August 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Calum, the article linked to is from 2012. Is there any update to how this is progressing?

  3. Graham Martin-Royle August 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    This is the problem, neither the police (who are there to enforce the law) nor politicians (national or local) are willing to stand against the motoring lobby.

  4. solihullcyclist August 20, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    While cycling on the pavement is illegal. The legislation that implemented fixed penalty fines for it was accompanied by guidance that stated that the law should be enforced only when cyclists are considered to be cycling inconsiderately/dangerously.

    “The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”

    • John Hampden September 6, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      I am a walker who feels that cyclists try to intimidate me – and, more importantly, the old, the infirm, and pregnant women. Who’s on my (and their) side?

      As things stand, cyclists are in a protected position, without obligation to be insured, yet free to use the roads, and knowing that a motorist is presumed guilty in terms of civil liability. Police simply do not enforce their exclusion from pedestrian areas, any more than they keep cars from blocking pavements and driveways.

      I look forward to a time when pavement etc sharing has full legal status – and the cyclist carries presumption of full civil liability if in collision with a pedestrian, and thus must be insured against that liability.

      One law for all, and all free to take responsibility – that’s democracy.

  5. Amanda September 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Hi Im not in Ipswich but have just found this blog whilst looking for information on pavement parking. Have been visiting family in the Medway Towns in Kent and have a disabled sister who uses crutches. Last night she had difficulty using the pavements on her way home because of large vans blocking the path. She says that this happens all the time and you have to walk in the road at times. I just sent a picture of a van blocking the path to the local council. Shall wait and see if they do anything. Im a pedestrian myself and get fed up with the total disregard that officials have for our safety. Im not disabled but dont like walking into the road around badly parked cars. What about children those with pushchairs the disabled and elderly.

  6. Andrea Elcombe June 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    Hi just been looking at you photo they are in good shape if you have a look around where I live would welcome them that not to say that sometime should not be done to repair them. I have given our council Notice that I will not be using the footpath around my area until they repair them and that means going on main roads in my wheelchair, As it’s to painful to use paths and can not get round all the parked car. I will expect that they wont care and do what they always do. We all know what that is. But we can live in hope (no Hope). How many emails does it take I tried over 100 now and counting. We got to give them something to do .Just keep sending you emails don’t give up and don’t beg them tell them what you want .Let them know your will not going to go away . send emails every day and get your friends to do so. This have not got the money is old hat remember it cost them money to read and file your emails someone has to go through them to see if there is something that they have to act on. Andrea.

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