Published: 15/06/2018 07:00 - Updated: 14/06/2018 14:16

Pavement parkers making life "a nightmare" for disabled pedestrians

Written byNicole Webber

 

David Sansum
David Sansum is campaigning about cars parked on pavements or next to dropped kerbs putting people at risk.

SELFISH drivers are making life a nightmare for wheelchair users, people with guide dogs and parents with prams through their inconsiderate parking.

Warmer weather and summer events bringing more people into Inverness has seen an upsurge in the numbers of cars parking on pavements and blocking drop-kerbs it has been claimed.

While pavement parking looks set to be banned across Scotland under legislation introduced at Holyrood this week the situation at present is placing lives in danger according to city residents.

Wheelchair user David Sansum (39), from Kinmylies, branded the current situation "a nightmare".

"I’ve had several close calls when I was forced to go onto the road and there were cars coming – particularly at night," he said.

Blocking drop-kerbs, he added, makes it almost impossible for wheelchair users to cross many roads.

"I get frustrated when this happens, as you would expect, and if you speak to a traffic warden or police they say there is nothing they can do – no law against it," he said.

Dalneigh resident Olive Thomson said her adult son Frankie, who is deaf and blind, has also experienced problems while visiting the Highland capital with his guide dog Flynn.

He says it is less of an issue in Edinburgh, where he now lives, but Mrs Thomson said the situation in Inverness is "downright dangerous".

Speaking about a recent visit by her son when they went out for a walk together she said: "We didn’t realise that there was an event on down at the Bught, but when we went to the Botanic Gardens there were cars parked all over the pavements and we were forced to walk along the road.

"Obviously I am supporting guide dog owners but this also affects wheelchair users, prams, and buggies."

She was delighted to hear of the Scottish Government’s proposals as part of a new Transport (Scotland) Bill to ban parking on footpaths and hopes the legislation will be passed quickly.

"There needs to be strict regulations and high fines brought in to do away with the problem for good," she said.

On Facebook the Park Like a K*** Highlands and Islands group works to highlight inconsiderate and dangerous parking.

A spokesperson said the new legislation is "probably the best thing to happen" to tackle the problem.

An administrator for the Inverness Parking Facebook group, which takes a similar stance, also agreed that something needs to be done.

"I went around Culloden and Smithton, Scorguie and Kinmylies one day and snapped over 90 incidences of cars parked on pavements where they could have easily parked on the road," they said. "This was all within three hours.

"If these were penalty-attracting offences and Highland Council were the recipients of the fines, a warden could have realised £8100 in one afternoon for the council, at £90 a fine."

And they added: "It’s blatantly obvious that much of the parking on pavements is not as a result of too narrow roads, but just ignorance, selfish attitude and a lack of awareness of the results of their actions."

Highland Council said it looked forward to receiving the necessary powers to tackle selfish driving practices.

A spokeswoman said: "If the bill empowers us to tackle obstructive pavement parking we will do so.

"Until then Highland Council will continue to work with Police Scotland, the current enforcing authority, to dissuade drivers from blocking pavements with inconsiderate parking."

A police spokesman said: "Police Scotland continues to have responsibility for parking which is dangerous or causing an obstruction, including vehicles parked on footpaths.

"We are working closely with our partners in the local authority to encourage drivers to park responsibly and to carry out enforcement where required.

"It is important that all road users show due care and consideration for other road users and do not allow their vehicle to obstruct the road or a footpath."

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