When the law is optional….

5 Apr

I promised to post a photo showing how carefully these socially-minded fitters from Express Glass had created a safe route for pedestrians around their vehicle when while they fitted a heavy plate-glass window to this shop in central Ipswich. They seemed surprised when I said that I found this level of consideration and awareness of the law and the Highway Code unusual.


Many other businesses who should know better seem to see what they can get away with… 24 hours earlier I had spotted fitters from another glass company, who were installing a window in our local MP’s office, and who didn’t seem to have gone to any great effort to accommodate the needs of pedestrians. Possibly the staff in Ben Gummer’s office could have said something?


And this was not a one-off, here are another set of workmen with a large vehicle up on the pavement outside his office.


Needless to say, it is MPs who create the laws, and people who break the laws may end up being taken to court in one of these vans. It does seem a bit ironic then that Serco park up on the pavement outside the back of Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on double-yellows in a no-loading zone. They do this regularly, and the receptionist explained that traffic warden has given them permission to do it. Doesn’t exactly send a good message to wrong-doers does it!


And of course yellow Lines don’t just appear by magic, they need to be painted onto the road by people who drive heavy lorries like this ones. Seems ironic then that they have chosen to park it up on the pavement across a cycle lane on a section of double yellows in a no-loading zone. Possibly they shouldn’t bother painting them at all?


Speaking of double yellow lines, privatized of the Royal Mail by our MPs has regrettably not stopped their staff from blocking pavements on a regular basis. In this picture we have not one, but two Royal Mail vans blocking the same pavement which takes some skill! When I ask them to not do this, they typically point to the royal crest and say that they are on queen’s business. Needless to say, they no longer serve the queen, and unfortunately I can’t see anything much that is ‘royal’ about them any more.


Privatisation of mail delivery was of course designed to create competition which is good and drives down prices and gives choice. One unfortunate expression of this competitions seems to be for these companies to attempt to deliver fastest with fewer drivers in larger vehicles (where did postman Pat and his bike go?) and explore which laws can be ignored in pursuit of profit. Here is a very large TN lorry up on the pavement on yellow lines in a busy city-centre street.


And it’s not just TNT – here are UPS delivering to an address in the same street, one which happens be a major pedestrian route between the town centre and the waterfront. Notice the muddle of people trying to pass each other on the bit of remaining pavement. This particular driver appears however to take pleasure in ignoring all requests to be more considerate, and has reassured me that ‘he has never got a ticket’.


Needless to say, police forces are not always that keen on enforcing the law, as in this famous case where the police in Bristol apparently deemed that this car, parked fully across the pavement on a bend was not causing an obstruction!

Police in Bristol said that this car was not causing an obstruction

What really worries me however, is when I saw this milkman parking up on pavements on double yellows just as kids are on their way to school. He evidently choose to avoid the hassle of driving all the way into the free car park visible in the left of the picture because it was more convenient for him to simply dump his vehicle on the pavement.


All of the above seems to confirm that authority has no great interest in pedestrians and their needs. The people who make the laws don’t seem to be too worried about them, nor are the people paid to implement the related regulations, nor are those employed to deal with people who break the other law interested in obeying them. Creating a competitive market for deliveries in these conditions only increases the chaos, where competing companies are incentivised, indeed almost compelled, to see which laws are optional in pursuit of greater profits!


To be continued….


11 Responses to “When the law is optional….”

  1. Neil April 5, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    Just put your hazards on and it overrides the Highway Code simple! 😉

  2. Graham Martin-RoyleG April 5, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    Peter, just about nobody cares about the law and the rights of pedestrians any more. I have photos of an articulated lorry fully up on the pavement, completely obstructing the footpath with my local (Bexhill-on-Sea) police station in the background not 50 metres away. This is a regular occurrence, it’s very visible to the police, yet they do absolutely nothing about it. If they won’t even take action against something as blatent as that, what hope is there?

    I’ve had meetings with my local police (at C.I. level) and they’ve told me to my face that they won’t do anything. I’ve tried my local M.P. but he’s not interested, probably scared of losing votes. County councilors and district councilors like wise don’t want to know. I have thought of staging a one man protest, walking in the road next to these vehicles to advertise the fact that I can’t walk on the pavement but not only do I not want to risk my life, I reckon I would be the one that gets prosecuted for obstructing traffic and not the motorists for obstructing the pavements.

  3. Andrea Elcombe April 5, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    I noticed that the window fits but down the safe route for you pedestrians. Well done them but there is still work to be done. I noticed there is way for wheelchair users to get onto the road which is also very important . Wheelchair users are classed as pedestrians as well lets not forget that. As for photo of pedestrians on path at best they could get past the van a wheelchair could not. So please don’t forget the disabled we need that little bit more room and ramp to get off the pavement when it is blocked. Andrea.

    • Graham Martin-Royle April 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

      This is a very important point and thanks for bringing it up Andrea. Far too often the needs of the disabled are ignored causing them to have to backtrack a considerable distance at times to get into the road, where they are then endangered by traffic, before they have a chance to get past obstructions like this.

      When it’s realised that people in wheelchairs (motorised or otherwise) are already some of the most disadvantaged people in the country, treating them with such contempt is outrageous.

      • Andrea elcombe April 6, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

        I had meeting with our C.I .last Friday I think that I am get the massage over thank to these sites that and over 60 phone calls lost count after 25. The police are now going to get C P Os to put warning notices on cars that park on the path this is to start with. This may be because I did go to our M.P. who by the sounds of email is getting fed up with me then email to No: 10 Downing Street. I always say go to the boss man . Andrea.

  4. Andrea Elcombe April 6, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    P.S. Graham I have tried to get prosecuted for Obstructing traffic that did not work even waved down a police car. Asked them to do so not a change in hell they did not want me to have my say in court why I was in road. If our C.I as good as her word & local enforcement do there bit. Who knows ? In Sussex we may just be winning . You can only live in hope someone gets a brain. Andrea

    • Graham Martin-Royle April 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

      Andrea, where in Sussex are you? My local C.I. is not interested at all. I have sent so many e’mails to the C.C. that he has instructed the C.I. to meet with me (which she plainly did not want to do) because he was obviously getting fed up with my continuous bombardment of mail.

  5. Andrea Elcombe April 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    Graham, That a story in its self. I told builder he should not park over path he said sorry and would move van. Which he did as was not there on my return. Few days later the person this builder was working for came out said Don’t tell people not to park on pavement.If I did would punch my light out. As I am disable and in wheelchair this was recorded as hate crime. I was asked to go to meeting on hate crime where she was going to talk. So me being me went. I then asked her why she did not answer my request for meeting. There I am with Photos etc: Then agreed to meeting at my home. Alot to be said about doing things in public, she had no choice. I did not just use the law also standards size of footways. and that I was doing there job and becoming victim of hate crime. I think there shame won me the day. I did also let them know that I was not going away.

    • Graham Martin-Royle April 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

      Good for in embarrassing the police into action but it should not need that type of action to get them to do something. They should be taking action without being pushed by the public.

      I’m sorry the hear that you were subjected to threats by someone, how brave, threatening someone in a wheelchair. What response did the police make in regard to this? Was the person prosecuted?

      • Andrea Elcombe April 17, 2014 at 8:17 am #

        Was the person prosecuted in one word No. I think the police were more worried about his safety then mine. I suppose they have a point I could have used my handbag on him or even run him over with my wheelchair. I get the feeling the I would have to do this before police would take any action no prizes who they would take action against. The way the police think If you white and the other is not? It the same with pavement laws they don’t know or should I say don;t want to know the law on the subject. When you need help just to get down the road safely don;t want to know. Then if they need help on something they soon knock on your door.

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