Ruth Smeeth MP was given a star on Guide Dogs’ pavement parking Walk of Fame for supporting the charity’s campaign to stop cars parking on pavements.
The MP for Stoke-on-Trent North & Kidsgrove attended Guide Dogs’ event at the Houses of Parliament on the 10th of June in support of their campaign. The charity wants people living with sight loss to feel confident and independent when they are out and about, and believes that vehicles parked on pavements put people living with sight loss in danger.
The event, hosted by Lord Holmes of Richmond, highlighted the problems faced daily by guide dog owners who are being forced to walk into the road to avoid cars blocking their path. MPs heard from one guide dog owner who had even considered giving up his guide dog because of the constant obstructions he faced when out and about.
Pavement parking is already an offence in London, but the rules in the rest of the country are complex and patchy, leaving drivers uncertain of where they can and cannot park. Guide Dogs is calling for the introduction of comprehensive laws across the UK, which will outlaw pavement parking, but allow local councils to grant an exemption in areas where pavement parking is unavoidable.
Ruth said: “It was great to hear from Guide Dogs about the great work that they do here and across the country. A guide dog can be a lifeline for their owners but all too many are struggling to get out and about thanks to pavement obstructions. It’s easy to forget just what an impact this can have on vulnerable people”.
James White, Campaigns Manager for Guide Dogs, said: "Cars parked on pavements blight the lives of people living with sight loss and other vulnerable road users including wheelchair users and parents with buggies or prams.
"Imagine how frightening it must be to step out into a busy road when you can't see on-coming traffic, or you have your young child with you. We want to stop people from being forced into the road and we call on all parties to support a new law on pavement parking."