After requests from several constituents to attend, I popped into the Guide Dogs’ event at the Houses of Parliament to support 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 highlighted the problems faced daily by guide dog owners who are being forced to walk into the road to avoid cars blocking their path. We 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.
I met with trainee guide dogs Naomi and Casper and their trainers, with whom I discussed the challenges facing many people with sight loss in navigating pavements. And of course, it’s not just guide dogs that face the challenge of cluttered pavements, it’s also people with buggies, mobility scooters, wheelchairs and young children.
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.