Northern Ireland

PSNI to issue notices to cars obstructing pavements

Holywood Image copyright Guide Dogs NI
Image caption Guide Dogs NI have issued this picture as an example of the problems encountered by blind and partially sighted people in Holywood

Badly parked cars and vans are forcing pedestrians off the pavement and into danger on busy roads, charities and the PSNI have said.

A campaign has been launched to urge drivers to consider the needs of those with disabilities.

The PSNI will be issuing notices to badly parked cars.

The notices warn that if they repeatedly offend, drivers risk a fixed penalty notice for obstructing the pavement.

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Media captionGuide dog owner Diane Marks warns of pavement parking dangers

Guide Dogs NI has released You Gov research showing almost three quarters (72%) of people polled have been affected by vehicles parked on the pavement.

More than half (55%) said cars parked on pavements made it harder for them to walk along pavements and 45% said they have been forced into the road.

The back of a flyer police are distributing to badly parked cars

People living with sight loss, older people or those using wheelchairs are at greater risk.

Ninety-one per cent of respondents living with sight loss who responded to a previous Guide Dogs survey said they were regularly obstructed by cares parked on the pavement.

'Terrifying experience'

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Reoffending drivers risk a fixed penalty notice for obstructing the pavement

Andrew Murdock from Guide Dogs NI, said: "Imagine how scary it is for people without sight to have to walk in the middle of the road because the pavement is blocked?"

Guide dog owner Diane Marks, from Belfast, struggles on a daily basis with the number of cars that park on the pavement.

Diane said: "Going out into the road is something that I have just had to get used to, but it can be a terrifying experience, I've had so many near misses with cars and I rely so heavily on being able to walk down the street safely.

Stephen Mathews, CEO of The Cedar Foundation said: "We hope that it will raise awareness among drivers across Northern Ireland to consider the impact that careless parking can have on people with mobility difficulties and others."

The PSNI's Insp Rosie Leech, PSNI said: "Think about how a blind person might feel when confronted by a situation where their guide dog cannot negotiate past a parked car and is forced to detour onto the carriageway where live traffic is running.

"This danger is further exacerbated as they have no way of knowing whether this car is the only impediment ahead."