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Cracking down on mindless minority

PUBLISHED: 09:31 09 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:40 09 April 2018

Parking vehicles on pavements could become an offence under new laws being considered by the Department for Transport. Picture: Antony Kelly

Parking vehicles on pavements could become an offence under new laws being considered by the Department for Transport. Picture: Antony Kelly

Antony Kelly

I’ve reached that age at which it’s good to be grumpy but action on two of my pet-hate motoring issues cheered me up this week – middle-lane hoggers and pavement-parkers.

A Tweet from West Midlands Police traffic unit on Twitter stated: “We have just stopped a motorist at Corley Services after having observed them join the M6 at Junction 4. They then continued all the way south to Corley, for around 4 miles, in lane 2, with nothing in lane 1! Driver reported for careless drive #MiddleLaneHogger”

Yes! I hope they and a few more such drivers reading this will learn from that.

The inside, left-hand lane is not just for lorries and slow-moving vehicles as rule 264 of the Highway Code explains: “You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past.”

So why do so many people think it is both sensible and safe to hog the middle lane with traffic passing them on both sides? They’re like mobile roundabouts.

I make a point, and I’m not alone, having past them, to indicate left to move into their lane and then indicate left again to move into the inside most lane to encourage them to do likewise but few seem to get the message. The police aren’t so lenient so be warned.

My other moment of joy was learning drivers could soon be fined £70 for parking on pavements under new laws being considered by the Department for Transport. Parking on pavements has been banned for more than four decades in London so this would bring the rest of the country into line. It amazes me it has taken so long to consider following suit.

Currently, in most of the country, apart from London, drivers are permitted to partially park vehicles on the pavement as long as it does not cause an obstruction.

Rule 244 of the Highway Code states: “You must not park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.”

I know it’s a chore if you live in a narrow street, designed when cars where considerably narrower than they are now, but parking on the pavement is also dangerous if it obstructs pedestrians, mums with prams and wheelchair users and means they have to go on to the road to get past. It can also causes tailbacks of traffic trying to get past.

And there’s certainly no excuse for those selfish drivers who not only pull up on the pavement, ignore yellow lines, leaving their vehicle’s hazard lights on, to pop into a shop or run a quick errand rather than find somewhere safe to park. Perhaps councils could respond with 20 minutes free parking on designated sites.

It’s only a mindless minority who ignore common sense parking but, unfortunately, sometimes you have to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

What do you think? Email motoring@archant.co.uk

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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