PARKING on pavements is making parts of the region “no-go” areas for blind people, a leading charity warned last night.
A study by YouGov for Guide Dogs showed that 63 per cent of drivers in the North-East admitted to parking on pavements.
Guide Dogs said the “thoughtless behaviour” was excluding the blind and partially sighted from town centres and suburbs and was undermining the life-changing freedom offered by owning a Guide Dog.
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The charity is calling on councils in England to use their powers to ban pavement parking and make the streets safer for everyone.
Linda Oliver, Guide Dogs engagement officer for the North-East, said: “Cars parked on pavements are an everyday nightmare for blind and partially-sighted people as well as other vulnerable pedestrians.
“Imagine how terrifying it is to step into a road when you can’t see oncoming traffic. Too often people with sight loss are forced out into busy roads because an inconsiderate motorist has blocked the pavement. It’s an unwanted barrier to the freedom and independence a guide dog brings.
Val Hyde, of Stockton, who is blind and uses a guide dog, said: “One of the worst things I have to encounter many times a week is obstructive parking very often coupled with overhanging hedges that make it impossible to keep to the pavement.
“Leaving the safety of the pavement very often onto busy roads with noisy fast traffic creates a danger in itself.
“My guide dog is trained to a very high standard. It is a shame that some drivers make it difficult for her to do her job properly.”
Across the UK most drivers – over 54 per cent – park on the pavement, the study showed. But 48 per cent said they hadn’t thought about the possible problems it could cause to blind people, or the elderly and adults with prams.