Hard to fathom mentality of drivers who park like this – Alastair Dalton

There's good and bad in the behaviour of people driving, cycling and walking on and across Scotland's roads, but the breathtaking arrogance, selfishness and thoughtlessness of some of those behind the wheel takes the biscuit.

Everyone needs to respect others but not everyone is equal and there is, rightly, a hierarchy of road users ranging from the most vulnerable to those who could cause the greatest harm. Pedestrians stepping out in front of vehicles on busy main roads and cyclists riding through red lights is one thing, but you can cause far more damage in a one-tonne block of steel, whether it's how you drive it or where you leave it.

Ignorant parking particularly has left me open-mouthed in recent weeks. I'm still trying to fathom the thought process involved in the driver of an articulated lorry deciding it was OK to entirely block a pavement outside the shop to which he was delivering by parking across it. Apart from putting walkers at risk by forcing them onto the road to get past, this is also likely to have weakened if not damaged the pavement, which could cause cracks that an older person could trip on, potentially permanently affecting their mobility, which can lead to premature death. That is not my supposition, but the view of a former NHS public health director in Fife.

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I also keep seeing vehicles blocking cycle cut-throughs, on the zig-zag lines approaching pedestrian crossings, and on the edge of junctions, hampering safe travel or obscuring views for people to be able to cross the road safely – and exercise their right under key Highway Code changes last year to have priority over vehicles turning into side roads. These miscreants who can’t be bothered to walk a little further by finding somewhere to park legally and safely come in addition to those for whom, unbelievably, a segregated cycle lane complete with double yellow line and solid white line to protect it appears to be insufficient indication that this is utterly the wrong place to stop.

A lorry parked across a pavement in Crow Road in the Partick area of Glasgow in March (Picture: The Scotsman)A lorry parked across a pavement in Crow Road in the Partick area of Glasgow in March (Picture: The Scotsman)
A lorry parked across a pavement in Crow Road in the Partick area of Glasgow in March (Picture: The Scotsman)

The depressing thing is that however politely this is pointed out to the drivers involved, few will accept they are in the wrong and move their vehicle, like a taxi driver who had stopped to pick up a passenger. Too often, not only do motorists refuse to accept their liability but rail against being challenged.

The long-awaited pavement parking ban in Scotland is finally approaching, with Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland telling me that local authorities will have the “necessary tools” to enforce it from late this year following the passage of secondary legislation. But that will still leave the wide problem of drivers, in deciding where to park, thinking that they need to find somewhere that doesn’t block other vehicles on the road rather than concern themselves with the wheelchairs, pushchairs, cycles and pedestrians they often block, hamper or put in danger as a result.

Many TV shows feature traffic police educating motorists about poor driving. Someone needs to educate them about poor parking too.



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