Local guide dog owner backs calls for law on pavement parking - The Leamington Observer

Local guide dog owner backs calls for law on pavement parking

Laura Kearns 17th Dec, 2020   0

A GUIDE dog owner from Warwick is backing calls for a new law on pavement parking.

Penny Hefferan has been partnered with her guide dog Questa since 2017.

And while Penny relies on her dog to help her get around safely, she says inconsiderate drivers blocking the path often mean she and her dog have to make the decision whether to walk in the road or wait for help.

She told the Observer: “Coming across a vehicle parked on a pavement isn’t just frustrating, if you can’t see, it can be incredibly dangerous. If the road is a busy one and there aren’t any other pedestrians around to help, you can find yourself having to either stand and wait for assistance, or take the risk of asking your guide dog to walk out into the road to get passed the parked car.

“I frequently come across vehicles parked across one particular pavement, and if I wait for assistance, I could easily be there for 20 minutes or more. If it’s rush hour, I have no choice but to wait because the alternative of going into the road to get around a car is simply too dangerous.

“What I find so hard to understand is why drivers don’t consider the impact parking on a pavement can have on pedestrians. So often they are unwilling to move the car if you ask, and some drivers actually stay in their vehicles watching you struggle rather than offering help.”

Penny is backing Guide Dogs calls for a new law on pavement parking.

It follows research by the charity which shows 70 per cent would support a change to the law.

The survey was carried out on the back of a government consultation asking about options to tackle pavement parking.

Guide Dogs believes a new law limiting pavement parking in England to areas set by local councils is the best option. This system has been in place in London since 1974, and previous Guide Dogs research shows far fewer people with sight loss in London face daily problems with pavement parking, compared with the rest of the UK.

The charity’s head of policy and campaigns Blanche Shackleton said: “Government have long promised to take action on the matter and is now presented with the perfect opportunity to make pavements safer for all pedestrians, and especially the millions of people with disabilities, and parents with children across England by introducing a clear law on pavement parking.

“Pavement parking has long been a physical barrier to some of the most vulnerable in society. We know that pavement parking makes blind and partially sighted people less willing to go out on their own and can make them feel more lonely or isolated. We eagerly await the outcome of the government consultation and action being taken to ensure the safety of all pedestrians in the future.”

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