Ruth Maguire MSP pledges to back a law to end unsafe pavement parking

The MSP for Cunninghame South helps raise awareness of the dangers of pavement parking

Ruth Maguire MSP spoke with the charity Guide Dogs Scotland at the SNP 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.

The MSP for Cunninghame South 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 Ruth 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 which need a legitimate exemption. Ruth Maguire MSP is supporting this Bill and Guide Dogs’ campaign to make pavement parking an offence. This would give local authorities real power to properly tackle this problem.

Ruth Maguire MSP said: “I’m grateful to Guide Dogs Scotland for drawing attention to the issue of irresponsible parking on pavements and the dangers it presents to blind and partially sighted people. I’m supportive of measures to tackle the problem, whilst allowing for legitimate exemptions. Proper control will also make life easier and safer for other pavements users such as people in wheelchairs and folk with buggies and prams.”

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 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.”

Further information:

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association provides independence and freedom to thousands of blind and partially sighted people across the UK through the provision of guide dogs, mobility and other rehabilitation services. It campaigns for the rights of those with visual impairments. Guide Dogs is working towards a society in which blind and partially sighted people enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else.

For more information about Guide Dogs Scotland and its Pavement Parking campaign, contact Engagement Manager Niall Foley on 0118 983 6131 or niall.foley@guidedogs.org.uk