Take action

There are many many ways of making a difference and not everyone will feel comfortable about doing all of them but do please do something. We have listed a number of sensible ideas below and also some pretty stupid ideas and will leave you to determine which are which!

We do not advocate anyone breaking the law. All actions should be aimed at building a mass of allies representing the ‘middle ground’ of opinion and we must not alienate these people. Remember that we will never get anywhere with hardened petrol-heads who we should leave to be dealt with by the police.

Ensure that existing laws are respected

Learn about what laws are available in your area and how they are enforced. There is lots of detail about the current regulations and how to encourage compliance  in ‘The Law‘ section of this blog.

Be vocal

If you see someone parking on the pavement particularly badly then politely ask them to move it or not do it again. Do be ready for a wide range of excuses and remember that there is a chance that the message will sink in over time even if the driver initially appears unimpressed. Do remember to walk away if the person digs their heals in!

Distribute leaflets

Print out some of these leaflets and place them prominently on badly parked cars – you will get three leaflets from each A4 sheet with additional information on the back. Remember that the leaflet is as much for the benefit of passing pedestrians as it is for the motorist. If you choose really badly parked vehicles where lots of people pass you quickly be able to spread the word very widely. Guidelines:

  • Only leaflet the worst cars in an area
  • Choose cars where a lot of pedestrians will see the leaflet
  • Don’t repeatedly target the same car
  • Only put leaflets on cars with no one in them!

Organise locally

Find other local people who are also frustrated about the current situation and organise together. Talk to your local police who are also probably concerned about the situation. Talk to your local councilors and raise the matter with your local MP. Tell the local newspaper what you are doing. Create a facebook group associated with a local school or street and start finding out what works.

Build alliances

This problem affected everyone, but in particular parents with young children, older people, those with disabilities, poor sight or who are blind. There are some great organisations that you can make contact listed to the right hand side of this blog many of which will have local groups of their own.

Get involved

If you tweet then reference @pedestrianlib; you can also use our facebook group to say what you are doing or add photos to our Flickr pool.

Say thank you to parking wardens

If you see a parking warden then please thank them for doing an important job.

20 mph

There is a big move towards 20mph speed limits at the moment. The last time that the normal speed limit in towns was 20 mph was 1929 before they were removed completely in 1930!

Car clubs

It will be very much easier to make a big difference when there are car clubs everywhere. Agitate for one.

Car Walking?

Well possibly not. This guy in Munich started walking over the roofs of cars in 1988. However… before you dismiss it, I do know a retired chaplain with character who did exactly that when someone blocked his lane – and… he had his bicycle with him! Incidently Munich is now highlighted as a pedestrian friendly city and there is little sign of pavement parking on Google Streetview.

Jay Walking?

Again – possibly not, but I know someone who lives in a 20 mph zone and if they feel someone is driving to fast they will cross the road diagonally and flag them down until they  feel their speed is more appropriate and then give them a thumbs up. The guy who started Car Walking in Munich graduated to Jay Walking in an extreme fashion!


Either these concrete ones as used in Switzerland or  real living ones as used in one Dutch town. Live sheep are good because they are not that bright and drivers need to keep alert in case they walk into the road! They do however have some less useful characteristics in an urban environment which is why they this idea may not have caught on more widely.

Road murals?

In Portland, Oregon the council allows residents to paint murals on the carriageway at certain junctions in residential areas which they call ‘Intersection repair‘. The mere presence of a mural on the road makes people to slow down because of the detail and strangeness of it. They then notice the benches and gardens that people have created on the verges to create a ‘square’, a ‘meeting point’ where before there was just a junction.


I have spoken to a lot of people about what they have done. A surprising number of upstanding citizens say that they have at one time or another caused damage to a car getting past with  buggy when the road was really busy. We don’t recommend that but it is strange that drivers seem to think their cars are safer on the pavement than on the highway. Another lady, again an upstanding citizen, told me that she kept a tub of Vaseline in her pocket and ‘waxed’ the sides or side windows of cars that really annoyed her. Clearly that is getting a bit spiky – very surprising to have heard it from the person I did. The another group known as ‘Urban Repair Squad‘ paint cycle lanes and zebra crossing where they feel they should be – they are big in South America I believe.

Whatever you do, do something but please don’t damage anything or threaten to damage anything. We will get a lot further using joy, humour and occasionally being a bit mischievous than with anger!

21 Responses to “Take action”

  1. Harold Z Dalton November 27, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    http://www.pavementliberationcollective.org/ doesn’t seem to resolve for me — looks like the domain is unregistered and currently available to buy.

    Should the stickers be updated? Alternatively, I’m more than happy to pay for the domain and point it at this blog.

    • Peter Miller November 29, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

      Thanks for pointing this out. I have updated the image and the link which is now to a pdf document which has printing for the back of the leaflet as well as having the correct url. Thanks for the offer of paying for a domain! I think we need an email group to move this forward and start building a team. I will do a post about that soon.

  2. Mike Coles March 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    Today I have received an e-mail from “TRANSCOM” accepting my evidence which I submitted for the forthcoming Transport Committee’s inquiry into effective road and traffic management.
    As you will probaly guess my evidence is very heavily loaded with the subject of pavement parking and contains a whole load of crap from Chief Constables,MP’S,Councillors on how to do nothing.
    Nevertheless it is a way to keep pounding the issue and continuing to be a pain in the ……..
    I forgot to mention one piece of succes.I finally got our PCSO’s to distribute a poster, which I designed,around our locallity on Sunday.We shall see.

  3. Mike Coles July 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Hi, for a long time residents local to me use the dropped kerb in front of my house to mount the pavement and then drive 10/15mtrs up the path to park. Having had enough of this I took vidios of the driving habits and sent them to our local PCSO’s.
    The first reply was they wished to seek a second opinion.
    The final reply was they were not prepared to deal with the matter formally as there was insuficient evidence!!!
    What a bunch of bloody parasites, how much evidence do they want?
    I wouldn’t mind but one of the viechles is a huge great jeep and this is what you get when the likes of Cameron want a bigger society

  4. captain nemo September 14, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    Hi, I thought you’d be interested in this short scetion of new shared-use cyclepath in Bristol for pedestrians and cyclists. As you can see, it’s also providing free illegal parking and is now a bridleway for horses to cr*p on:

    Apparently, it’s still private land so the council said that they couldn’t do anything!. I’m just waiting for the burger stall to show up, maybe a jet wash for the cars?

  5. Doug Webb November 18, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    bad and dangerous parking outside of schools in nuneaton nearly caused an accident today are the police/traffic wardens waiting for this to happen before they take any action ?

  6. Steve Barker June 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    What is the best method of dealing with the problem of Police parking on yellow lines/pavement at Bedford Police Station?

    I believe is sets a poor example.

    See link.

  7. Steve Barker June 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    For some reason it has linked to Facebook rather than the link I added:


    • Peter Miller June 27, 2012 at 11:11 am #

      Thanks for the link. All I can suggest is that you are vocal about it. Send a link to your local police. You may also want to talk to the local paper or your MP. Do check out the various articles I have written that relate to the police. At least your police are not fighting with each other over parking!

  8. Bywater blog February 14, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    I have just emailed the local paper in Leeds about a police car that was parked on the pavement, and the local police forces answer to my email. No appology in sight, because they seem to think it is not against the law.

  9. Blanko December 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    I want to report, someone… myself. I’ve been forced, much against my will to block the pavement with my wheelie bin.

    We have access to a shared garden, through a clause in our deeds that allows use of the “rear yard for all reasonable domestic purposes” The neighbour we share with feels, as the garden falls outside our boundary, he has the right to disallow our access, and has chosen to do this. The garden also falls outside his boundry (both homes are on the same plot)

    The only thing we used the garden for, was storing our wheelie bin. now it’s on the pavement. Most annoyingly it is constantly full of other peoples waste, even more irksomely large amounts of the stuff we bother to recycle. So we have a bin, but have to take our refuse to the council tip.

    Our neighbour, despite an long, drawn out argument still refuses to comply, on the rare occasions he’ll even engage. There is now quite clearly not enough room to pass along this pavement.

    We live in the Bristol area; emailing the council merely elicits a generated email telling you how to order replacement recycling boxes, phoning is even less help, and much more depressing. So I’m looking for ideas on how to proceed. Firstly, we simply don’t have the money to pursue this through the courts. Secondly, I believe there is no chance of him attending neighbour mediation.

    Any ideas very much appreciated

    • Dave May 30, 2015 at 7:24 am #

      Can’t help you resolve it, since you’ve ruled out legal steps (though a solicitor’s letter might get something moving and won’t cost nearly what full-blown action would, at least take some initial legal advice) but can sugest a method to mitigate your bin being used as a public litter bin. British bins (other suppliers too) do gravity operated bin locks, they don’t interfere with the truck emptying them, but do require a key to open when the bin is vertical.

  10. Paul Ferguson February 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    Hi – I have recently had a problem with a motorist who speeds up and down a single track lane (with no pavement) that leads to his house. He has nearly hit me while walking my dog on numerous occasions but when asked to slow down by myself I just got a volley of abuse from the motorist. I took the measure of walking down the lane in front of his car to slow him down – have I done anything illegal???

    • Peter Miller March 18, 2014 at 1:27 am #

      You may be risking your own safety. Another approach might be to film the driver and show your local police. They might well talk to someone who intimidates people as you describe.

  11. Alex September 25, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    Don’t assume imposing a 20mph limit will be of benefit. In fact, the opposite could turn out to be true…. have a little read into ‘Risk Compensation’, and particularly the Peltzman effect.

    • PeterEastern October 8, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

      Sure, but the compensation is normally less than the benefit of the reduction.

  12. David Kirkwood February 1, 2016 at 7:45 pm #

    The fundamental relationship between the public and the land we know as ‘public highway’ is the publics’ right to use that land. This right which is an easement encumbers the land and is made from common law, and custom; it is not a statutory right. Public authorities are made from statute and so have only legislation to empower them. Parliament has not passed legislation that usurps or otherwise displaces the publics right and so there is no statutory discretion available to Police or Highway Authorities, or any other authority, that is sufficient for them to alter, limit or place conditions upon the exercise by the public of their right to use this land, or with respect to the right itself. I have pursued this for some years and have some understanding and knowledge that I have been applying with gradual effect. I demonstrated the problem in 2009, ‘Archie walks to school’, and I have accumulated through extensive legal study in combination with other dimensions to this vexing problem, considerable experience of dealing with authorities. The distinction between statutory provisions like pavements and the publics’ right to use the land is of the greatest significance, because pavements have nothing whatsoever to do with the public’s right. Roadways like pavements are a statutory issue and do nothing to alter the relationship between the public and public highway land. Hence a driver cannot be banned from using public highway land, he can only be banned from using a vehicle on that land. To obstruct or endanger the exercise by the public of this right is a ‘public nuisance’, this is a crime concerned with rights to land. What currently occurs is that Police and Highway Authorities look to their statutory powers and not to public rights, they answer complaints through their powers whereas they should answer complaints through consideration to their duties/obligations to the public. Speed limits, the Highway Code, they have nothing to say about the publics’ right, they cannot, but that is another matter again, it is enough to say they have no bearing on the matter. This is demonstrated when considering ‘public nuisance’, which unusually is a crime made not from causes but from consequences. The distinction reveals the dysfunctional approach employed by State Authorities when addressing public complaints/concerns about highway safety, primarily, the risk of being collided with by a vehicle when using public highway by walking’. They look to see if drivers’ are complying with regulations, and that they have complied themselves with statutory duties, they do not look at the nuisance however, which can be made from activities that but for the consequential endangerment/obstruction would be lawful. The challenge is not to see the problem but to unpick the stands that have tangled together to create it, which to achieve requires patience and an ability to see many threads and identify their place in the overall fabric. There is much I think that can be done through observing this public right, and the fundamental liberty and freedom that it supports.

    • John February 6, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

      Hi David,

      Is it lawful for a pedestrian to put a bin back within the boundary of a property? I was just assaulted by a resident who called the police, I also called the police at the same time, and when they turned up they encouraged the resident to put his bins back out on the pavement, and ignored my complaint of assault, accusing me of antisocial behaviour.

  13. Carol August 26, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    There is also the issue of damage done by cars parking on pavements. If a pedestrian is injured on a pavement used for parking who is responsible? Not only do the council’s have the extra cost of repairing these pavements but also the cost of any injury claims. Maybe hitting their pockets will have more effect on curbing, no pun intended, this practice that seems to becoming more the norm.

  14. Clive Pearson September 3, 2016 at 6:59 am #

    I think that the problem is not the law itself but the police & local councils that will not enforce the laws.
    I have faxed & e-mailed people to complain but nothing changes.
    Both myself & my disabled wife have been hit on numerous occassions by cyclists using the footpath. If you say anything you just get a load of verbal abuse.

  15. Andrew May 28, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

    Just a quedtion, I seem to remember a documentry, I think it was, I good few yesrs ago, about the law & the fact, that as long as you do not Damage the Vehical, you can legaly Remove it from the Public Foit Path, is this Still the Law?, or what dose the Law say abiut removing a Vehical that is oarked on the Public Foot Path/Right if wsy.

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