Vine panelist says there is a 'gap in the law' for cyclists
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A cycling group has urged officials to take more action over an “epidemic” of motorists who block cycle lanes and pavements across Manchester. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said that they have received “a lot of complaints” about the frequent occurrences.
A number of drivers have already been fined for blocking cycle paths.
Trafford council claimed that they are investigating the problem, but they are unable to restrict parking on the road as there are no traffic regulation orders (TRO) in place.
Council bosses added they have been “pushing” police to take action for some time and will be conducting a review into harsher enforcement in the area.
However, Claire Stocks, of the Walk Ride campaign group in Manchester, said that the problem is only increasing across Manchester and further afield due to a huge increase in cars using the roads and fewer traffic management strategies in built up cities.
She told Manchester Evening News: “Increasingly, drivers are seeming to park in very anti-social ways, and we are seeing it up and down the country.
“We want the Government to introduce a pavement parking ban, but we also believe local councils can do more to introduce bans in specific areas.
“We have a problem because there are so many more cars on the roads. There are probably four times as many cars on the road now as when I was young.
“When people get behind a wheel, they often see a space and just think they can leave it there if there is no sign telling them not to do so.
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“It is often because people are trying to avoid high parking costs, especially in cities, and we know built-up cities are not able to deal with so much heavy traffic and there isn’t the space to park.
“Many people don’t realise the impact they are having blocking a pavement or cycle lane and I think it is often not deliberate but it is ignorant.
“We see it with delivery drivers too, who are in a rush and park up willy-nilly wherever they can.
“It’s impacting those who are trying to get around without a car.
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“Cities like Manchester are pushing for a better travel network, whether that be on public transport, cycle lanes or pedestrianising areas.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced in June 2020 that local authorities in England will be able to use CCTV to fine drivers who park up or load illegally in mandatory cycle lanes.
Ms Stocks added: “As Walk Ride Greater Manchester, we call on more councils to enact these powers more forcefully and take action to keep bike lanes clear.
“In the meantime, we urge councils to take up local powers to ban pavement parking in areas where it is getting out of hand.
“This now includes hundreds and hundreds of street corners and stretches where drivers are happy to drive onto the pavement and park for free and take space from pedestrians wheelchair users and buggies.”
A spokesperson for Trafford Council said: “We have been made aware of this issue, however, there are currently no traffic regulation orders (TRO) in place that restrict the parking of vehicles on that road.
“While we therefore can’t enforce it, local councillors have been pushing the police to take action for some time and we welcome action taken by GMP using their powers.
“We would remind drivers that they should not park where they would cause an obstruction, particularly on cycle paths.
“Cycling is a great way to travel – it is cheaper, healthier and more environmentally friendly – so we take a strong view against cycle paths being blocked.”
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