Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon is urging drivers who choose to park on pavements to “Think Before You Park”.
Minister Mallon made her appeal today as she launched a new public information campaign alerting drivers to the consequences of pavement parking and the impact it has on other road and pavement users.
The campaign will raise awareness of an important and little understood road safety issue to show drivers how parking on the pavement can endanger all pavement users forcing them into oncoming traffic, including people with disabilities, older people, children and people pushing prams.
Minister Mallon said: “Parking on pavements puts everyone using the pavements at risk. Drivers often mistakenly think they are doing the right thing by keeping the road clear but fail to realise the consequences of their vehicle blocking the way for people using the footpath.
“The reality is that a seemingly harmless act of parking on pavements, even for a short time, puts people in danger, making them feel vulnerable and at risk. When there is not enough room to get past, a person is forced to step out onto the road into oncoming traffic. The risk is heightened in particular for people who are visually or hearing impaired, people with mobility issues using wheelchairs and mobility scooters, those pushing prams, children, older people and those who have dementia and autism.
“For this campaign we sought advice from our partners the Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (Imtac) and key stakeholder groups to ensure that the issues encountered by all of us as pavement users were identified.
“Parking on the pavement at a junction also blocks the view for drivers emerging from a side road, by causing an obstruction, making them unable to see oncoming vehicles, including cyclists and motorcyclists or perhaps even pedestrians.”
Bert Bailie, Chairperson of Imtac, welcomed the “Think Before You Park” campaign saying: “Together with many other organisations Imtac has requested action to address the problem of obstructions on pavements caused by illegally or inconsiderately parked vehicles. We have numerous first-hand accounts from older people, disabled people and others about the impact that thoughtless pavement parking has on their lives. It is important for wider society to understand this impact and I encourage everyone to think twice about how and where they park.”
Minister Mallon continued: “The campaign encourages drivers to be mindful of the consequences of parking your vehicle on a pavement and to think about the needs of others.
“No one would ever intentionally block anyone’s path if they needed to use the pavement, however, some drivers are unknowingly doing just that.
“I am asking drivers to be considerate and remember: ‘Think Before You Park’.”
The campaign launches today on radio, bus rear advertising and on social media and carries the hashtag #ThinkBeforeYouPark.