Saturday, 6 June 2009

Disabled vs Bicycles

Here's an interesting question.

Does having a disabled parking permit, as WK52UWH has, give you the right to block bike lanes?

Technically, yes. You can park on double yellow lines for a number of hours, access to bike paths and lanes is controlled by yellow lines, therefore you can park over them. Furthermore as this is Kingsdown on a weekday, there is nowhere else to park. Without driving all the way round to Dove Street and then up Nine-Tree-Hill, this is the only place anyone with a disabled parking permit -usually due to an inability to walk any distance- can park.

Now, morally? Again, yes. The driver would have to do a ten minute detour to get to the other side of the bike-only-barrier (best route: Horfield Road, past the BRI, then Jamaica Street), and that's a lot of effort. Whereas if you do park your vehicle here and stick the clock up on the dashboard, then only three-hours worth of cycling traffic will have to get off their bike, go over the pavement and then down the hill. Assuming 70% of the cyclists have mountain bikes, then if they have the ability to get their bike over the kerb, then they barely need to slow down. No moral dilemma at all.

Incidentally, from the cycling campaign there is a new handout for vehicles blocking bike lanes. This one says these facilities are best enjoyed on foot or bicycle, and asks the owner of the vehicle so tagged to come back and enjoy it properly on foot or bike. We fear the people in the cycling campaign are missing the point: bike lanes make an excellent place to park and can be enjoyed by cars, with or without a disabled parking sticker. We shall look out for these leaflets on vehicles in future, and try and come up with an experiment to assess their effectiveness -probably one involving Stokes Croft.

1 comment:

Chris Hutt said...

Technically no. The car is obstructing the highway which is an offence, irrespective of the disabled parking permit.

But as far as I know there is no clear definition of what constitutes obstructing the highway, but I think if a person or vehicle cannot pass in the normal manner (e.g. riding a bicycle or driving a car) then an obstruction is surely caused. It is hardly reasonable to expect cyclists to dismount to cross kerbs.