The MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse helped raise awareness of the dangers of pavement parking at Guide Dogs’ (un)fairground

Christina McKelvie MSP spoke with the charity Guide Dogs Scotland at the SNP Conference recently 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 Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse 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 Christina 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. Christina McKelvie 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.  

Christina McKelvie MSP said: “I think people with limited or no sight face more than enough restrictions on their movement already. To park in ways that present a danger to those who are visibly impaired is something we cannot accept. We need to respect everyone on the footpaths and roads – other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, motor cyclists, wheel chairs and motorised vehicles as well as small children. Those with limited sight deserve that same attention.”

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.