Updated: May 31
Pavements are for people
Parking a vehicle on the pavement, either wholly or partially happens all around the UK every day and has become a daily habit for millions of drivers. This often thoughtless and unnecessary act can cause all sorts of problems for pedestrians, especially those with pushchairs, wheelchair users, mobility scooter users and of course blind pedestrians.
During your driving lessons you are taught to choose a safe, convenient and legal place - along with all the other rules around parking, this doesn't generally include using the pavement.
What does the Highway Code say?
Rule 244 of the Highway Code states: “You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.”
Despite a number of efforts to implement a blanket ban on pavement parking over many decades, none has ever been implemented so we currently have no national ban on pavement parking. The reason for this is probably down to the cost of additional resources the police and local authorities would need to tackle the problem. However, following a report into the problem in 2019 and further consultation in 2020, there may well be a ban in store within the near future.
Apparently it is difficult to bring a prosecution for simply parking on the pavement and so the police often turn a blind-eye. This said, there are circumstances in which the police will take action, especially if a vehicle is parked
on zig-zag lines at a pedestrian crossing
within 10 metres or opposite a junction
over a dropped kerb or obstructing a driveway
blocking a road or pavement which causes pedestrians to enter the road
preventing an emergency vehicle from accessing an area
The offence of unnecessary obstruction of the highway, which includes the road as well as the pavement, already exists and can be prosecuted under criminal law.
You may well be tempted to pull up on the pavement because "everyone does it".
If you were to park on a pavement during the driving test, unless signs permit this, a serious fault will be recorded and you will fail your test.
This is because although there is no blanket ban and there's a very slim chance of being prosecuted, you are breaking a law in the act of driving on the pavement and an examiner does not have the discretion to turn a blind-eye to this.
The law in question is in the Highways Act 1835 Section 72
Highway Code Rule 145 states "You MUST NOT drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency"
Since January 1999 a fixed penalty notice (FPN) can be issued for this offence. This can include penalty points and a fine for the offender.
For a new driver, under "The New Drivers Act" these points could prove disastrous and eventually lead to losing their licence, should they tot up six points within the first two years of holding a full licence.
Can you imagine how you'd feel losing your hard earned licence for this easily avoidable reason?
The key to making any driving decision and avoiding danger or prosecution is answering yes to these three questions
Is it necessary?
Is it legal?
Is it safe?
Apply this to your driving and you are unlikely to get into trouble.