Chichester MP Gillian Keegan paves way for safer parking to help guide dog owners

Gillian Keegan

Gillian Keegan is leading the call for motorists to show more consideration for guide dog owners who are put in danger by careless pavement parking

The Chichester MP attended a Guide Dogs event at the House of Commons to show support for the campaign to address the issue.

She heard from guide dog owners how parked cars blocking the pavement force them to walk in the road, into the path of traffic they cannot see.

Conservative Mrs Keegan said: “No one should be forced to brave traffic by cars parked on the pavement. I’m calling on the Government to end problem pavement parking across the country. Blind and partially sighted people should be able to walk the streets without fear.”

The visit came after 54 per cent of drivers admitted to parking on the pavement, with 29 per cent of those doing so a few times a month or more.

Pavement parking particularly affects people with visual impairments, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people. According to a Guide Dogs survey, 97 per cent of blind and partially sighted people have encountered obstacles on the pavement, and 9 out of 10 have had problems with pavement parked cars.

Guide Dogs is campaigning for to make pavement parking an offence, except in areas where local authorities grant specific exemptions. This is already the case in London, but elsewhere across the country, councils struggle to tackle unsafe pavement parking because they can only restrict it street by street.

Guide Dogs spokesman James White believes pavement parked cars can turn the walk to work or trip to the shops into a dangerous obstacle course, adding: “It’s a nuisance for anyone, but if you have a visual impairment or a toddler in tow, stepping out into the road with moving traffic is just too big a risk.”

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Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son. And he is a life-long Arsenal fan.