Any parent who uses a pushchair knows the frustration of a blocked footpath, but one angry mum couldn’t resist letting a van driver know they had cut off her route – by scribbling a lipstick note on their window.
The message “please leave free for pushchairs” was scrawled in pink lipstick on the carelessly parked van in Littleborough, Rochdale.
Mum Lucy Greenwood noticed the anonymous message as she walked past the vehicle. She stopped to take a photo and then shared it in a Facebook group with the caption “Someone got a bit lipstick-y this morning”.
The 28-year-old commented: “Fair play to the lady that whipped her lippy out. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to step onto a main road with a pram or a wheelchair because of idiots that have no consideration for others.
“Luckily I wasn’t with a pushchair at this particular time, but I do have a four-month-old son and have struggled in the past with idiots like this.”
For pram, wheelchair and mobility aid users, a blocked footpath is a serious safety hazard.
Last year police officers in East Hertfordshire took to the streets armed with pushchairs to catch out drivers who are parking illegally.
At the time of the initiative, Sergeant Paul Lenarcic, from GMP’s Traffic Unit, said: “When we receive reports of an obstruction a traffic PCSO is assigned to make an assessment of the road.
“If it is deemed obstructive a fixed penalty will be issued. Should it be causing issues such as excess traffic, then action will be taken to remove the vehicle if required. This will incur further costs for the vehicle owner.”
According to current legislation, parking on the pavement is only a crime if you drive a lorry, but blocking pedestrian paths is also against the law.
Many are calling for a nationwide ban on the practice, arguing that a similar rule is already in force in London. In the capital you cannot park partially or wholly on the pavement, and must not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.
Others have been quick to point out that narrow streets mean that drivers are frequently forced to park partially on the pavement to avoid blocking the road, which may need to be accesses by emergency service vehicles and bin lorries.
Speaking about the incident in Rochdale, a council spokesman commented: “If this happens in an area where there is a parking restriction already in place – such as a single yellow line – the council can enforce, but if there are no parking restrictions and the pavement is being blocked, people are advised to call the police non-emergency no, 101, as this could constitute an obstruction of the highway.”