The Greenock and Inverclyde MSP helped raise awareness of the dangers of pavement parking at Guide Dogs’ (un)fairground
Stuart McMillan MSP spoke with the charity, Guide Dogs Scotland, at the SNP Autumn 2018 conference about the challenges pavement parked cars create for blind and partially sighted people, who may have to risk their safety by walking into the road just to get by.
A survey by Guide Dogs showed that 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions, and 90% of those had experienced trouble with a pavement parked car.
Mr McMillan, who is convenor of the Cross Party Group (CPG) on Visual Impairment, heard of the difficulties that councils face in trying to tackle the issue with their current powers, and why Guide Dogs is calling for a clear law on pavement parking.
To illustrate the problem, the charity asked Stuart to clear the streets of pavement parked cars against the clock on a specially-themed whack-a-mole game.
Guide Dogs Scotland is supporting proposals in the Transport (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament that would prohibit pavement parking, except in areas requiring a legitimate exemption. Mr McMillan is supporting this Bill and Guide Dogs’ campaign to make pavement parking an offence – this would give local authorities real power to address this problem.
Commenting, Mr McMillan said:
“There’s a wide misconception that parking on pavements is harmless, but in reality it puts people in danger if they’re forced to walk on the road – especially if that person is blind or partially sighted – and is an issue that has been raised at the CPG on Visual Impairment that I convene.
“I understand that in many of our towns and villages the roads are not wide enough to accommodate parking on both sides, which is why people often end up pavement parking, but I’d strongly encourage people to reconsider their actions and park more conscientiously.
“I support the proposals in the Transport (Scotland) Bill that address pavement parking, and I hope that local authorities will be given the powers to crack down on irresponsible parking that ultimately puts pedestrians at risk.”
Niall Foley, Engagement Manager at Guide Dogs Scotland, commented:
“Cars blocking pavements are a nuisance for everyone, but can be a real danger for people with sight loss, potentially forcing them out into the roads to get by. The powers that councils and police have at the moment aren’t sufficient to tackle the problem, and that’s why we are supporting the Scottish Government’s proposals in the Transport (Scotland) Bill for a clear law where drivers cannot park on the pavement unless they’re in a specifically designated area.”