Pavement Parking Pitfalls

By A.C.

The problem described in this article and survey from the BBC has been a problem for decades, as everyone who uses the  pavements knows.

The problem for most enforcement agencies, which used to be the Police & Traffic Wardens, and nowadays has moved to Enforcement Officers and ultimately the Police, is the will to actually take action against someone parking on the pavement.

The damage that a vehicle causes to the pavement surface, affects all pedestrians, and those who use wheelchairs, mobility scooters, or have sight mobility problems.  The weight of the vehicle causes cracks in the paving flags, letting in water, and causing subsidence or upheaval and ruts. In winter the surface can become dangerous because of frozen pools of water. The surface becomes uneven and for the elderly, frail or those who cannot see, having an uneven surface under ones feet can lead to falls and lengthy hospitalisation.

Then there is the obstruction of the pavement.  The enforcement agencies have had power to move these vehicles for decades and penalise the owner or driver. The reason for not doing so is down to whoever is taking the time to move the vehicle, or issue a penalty. There are roads where the pavement is specially reinforced and enough space is left to allow pedestrians to walk past, and the removal of the vehicle from the road allows free flow of traffic. Those pavements, though, are few and far between.

Quite apart from forcing the blind, pedestrians, children and all pavement users out into a flow of traffic, pavement parkers cause massive damage to the underground services to homes. They weight of a large lorry is more than a car, but all will clearly damage essential utilities like gas, electricity    water, sewer and communications conduits. That means someone has to pay for the damage caused. You and I pay through hidden bills as the cost of repair is recouped in Council tax, Utility costs, disruption to business, and daily life as roads and pavements are ripped up to repair the leaks, burst water mains, and damage to underground conduits.  All that disruption, because a selfish driver feels it is perfectly alright to park on a pavement, and because there is no will from enforcement agencies to issues penalties, then they will probably get away with it.

However there is a lethal cost lurking in this habit of parking on pavements. Every time a driver bumps his car onto a pavement over the kerb, the tyre wall is squeezed and the cordage in the tyres is weakened.  Doing this on a frequent basis, knocks out the alignment of the steering, and causes rapid tyre wear, thus making the tyre both illegal and dangerous. It can also result in a high speed blow–out of the tyre as the weakened cords in the tyre, which have been regularly squeezed and flattened in bumping onto the kerb, finally explode.   

Don’t park on pavements. You are preserving not only your own life, saving money on the repair of your car, the hidden bills for repair of the pavement, and underground services,  preventing accidents to pedestrians and actually being considerate to others might just  rub off in other areas of your life.


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