Henry Smith MP reiterated his support for Guide Dogs at an event hosted by the charity in the House of Commons backing the campaign to end problem pavement parking.
“No one should be forced to brave traffic by cars parked on the pavement. This is a major issue for blind and partially sighted people who should be able to walk the streets without fear.
“I’m pleased to continue working with Guide Dogs, it’s always a pleasure to meet their staff and supporters both in Crawley and in Westminster.”
At the event, parliamentarians heard from guide dog owners how parked cars blocking the pavement force them to walk in the road, into the path of traffic they cannot see. They heard that some guide dog owners face these dangerous situations on a daily basis, risking their safety every time they go shopping or make the school run.
The Crawley MP has previously taken part in events that Guide Dogs have organised locally, where he put on a blindfold to experience what it is like to be visually impaired and travel by bus, he was also sighted guided around County Mall and Three Bridges with a cane, and experienced a walk with a guide dog.
Research by YouGov for Guide Dogs shows that 54 per cent of UK drivers admit to parking on the pavement, with more than a quarter (29 per cent) of those doing so a few times a month or more. More than half (55 per cent) of these drivers do think about the impact on people with sight loss, but park on the pavement anyway.
Pavement parking particularly affects people with visual impairments, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people. According to a Guide Dogs survey, 97 per cent of blind and partially sighted people have encountered obstacles on the pavement, and nine out of 10 have had problems with pavement parked cars.
Guide Dogs is campaigning to make pavement parking an offence, except in areas where local authorities grant specific exemptions. This is already the case in London, but elsewhere across the country, councils struggle to tackle unsafe pavement parking because they can only restrict it street by street.