Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Parking on Pavements.... Nothing Has Changed
Parking on pavements is one of my biggest bugbears, as it is for many other people. The worst offenders are those who park across the pavement in such a way that there isn't even enough room to walk around, let alone get a wheelchair or pushchair past.
An incident happened with my Mum just over 30yrs ago which I'd hoped would have gone some way in changing things.... Sadly, its not....
Having arthritis as a child meant I was at the hospital around 3 times a week for physio, hydro and gold injections. We didn't have a car so Mum would walk the couple of miles with me in my buggy. She was also 8 months pregnant with my youngest brother.
My appointments were at the Frimley Childrens Centre, Surrey. The journey was fairly straight forward, except for one part.... The very busy road that led into Frimley from Farnborough.
Now things have changed a lot since then but at the time (1980) you had the British Car Auctions, there was no bypass, just a very busy road and a huge roundabout outside. Crossing the road you took your life into your hands but there was at least a path to take you over the roundabout. Except when they ran out of parking at the car auctions, so people would park on the roundabout, including across the path.
This left only 2 ways to get across.... Try and squeeze your way through the maze of parked cars, or walk on the road around the roundabout with passing cars just inches away from you...
On this particular occasion my Mum decided to make her way through the maze of cars and being 8 months pregnant who would have blamed her. Unfortunately the cars were blocking the pavement so much that my buggy ended up knocking a wing mirror as we struggled to get past.
Mum was so upset that she'd had to struggle that she carried on. What she didn't realise was a colleague of the man who owned the car had seen what had happened. They got into a car and followed my Mum back to my Nans, calling the police en-route.
The next thing my Mum knew she was being arrested for criminal damage and taken to the police station where she was charged.
This was when it made local and national press. We had reporters coming round, interviewing my Mum, taking pictures of me in my buggy.
At the time we were also featured in a newsletter from the Pedestrians Association (now known as LivingStreets)
The case was thrown out but whenever I see a car parked on the pavement it reminds me of what happened with Mum.
Even now, cars are still parking on the pavements and the local area where I live now (Hinckley) has parking enforcement officers, yet often they will walk past and ignore cars parked in such a way.
What would happen if someone scraped a wheelchair or buggy down the side of the car in order to get past? Chances are that person will be charged with criminal damage. What would happen if someone walked in the road because they couldn't get past and ended up being knocked down by another car? Nothing would happen to the person of the car parked on the pavement, that's for sure and that needs to change.