Launch of 'Pavements are for People' campaign aims to encourage more thoughtful behaviour from drivers in Batley and Spen
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Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater officially launched the campaign during a visit to Fairfield School on White Lee Road in Batley, where staff and students outlined their own experiences around dangerous and irresponsible pavement parking.
Also present were Lindsey Moore, who is visually impaired, and Jo Holmes, whose daughter Lucy uses a wheelchair. Both women said they experience parking problems on a daily basis that force them into the road.
Ms Leadbeater embraced the campaign after receiving hundreds of messages from constituents highlighting dangerous, selfish and inconsiderate parking, which affects pedestrians, users of wheelchairs, mobility scooters, pushchairs and prams, and visually impaired people including those with guide dogs.
At a meeting with members of Fairfield’s School Council, she spoke to students about her role as an MP and took questions.
She also asked how students, parents and teachers were impacted by bad pavement parking and showed a clip of herself speaking in the House of Commons about the issue.
Describing Lindsey and Jo as “the stars of my campaign”, Ms Leadbeater said: “As a local resident myself I know we need safer roads and safer pavements, too.
“And while I know that there are serious challenges in getting those who get behind the wheel of a vehicle and show little or no respect for their fellow citizens to behave responsibly, I firmly believe that road users have a duty to drive and park with consideration for others.
“I hope anyone reading this leaflet will take a moment to think about how they park – and how a thoughtless act can lead to potentially dangerous implications for people more vulnerable than they are.”
Speaking after the launch, Lindsey and her husband Craig said people were “often oblivious” to how pavement parking can affect others.
They said: “It’s about laziness, not stupidity, but by parking on a pavement or on double yellow lines you might unthinkingly drive someone into the road because they simply cannot get past any other way.
“We have to be conscious of it every time we go out.
"Our message is: think about how you drive and park. Treat us with dignity.”
Jo said: “Some people just don’t realise what they’re doing. Others couldn’t care less. They are the ones that prioritise the safety of their car over the people on the pavement, and they upset me.
“My message is: think ‘access’. On top of everything else I do as a parent/carer I shouldn’t be forced off the pavement into the road by bad parking. It just feels like an insult.”
Andy Cullen, post 16 teacher at Fairfield School, said: “If people are parked on the pavement, or there are other obstacles or obstructions, it can be quite difficult.
“White Lee Road is a busy road and drivers can drive too fast, so it’s challenging.
"If there are cars on the pavement and we have to go between them onto the road, then it makes the situation even more difficult and dangerous. And when people are in a hurry they just don’t think.”
For more information about the campaign, visit www.kim4batleyandspen.com