Careless parking poses risk to disabled access

campaign needed to educate drivers
campaign needed to educate drivers

Suresh Rajan said the issue was getting worse in some of Perth’s suburbs and it was only a matter of time before someone was hit by a passing car while attempting to move along the street.

Mr Rajan, an ambassador for the State Government’s Count Me In disability strategy, said more needed to be done at a local government level in order to raise awareness of the issue.

‘If they can’t use the footpath, you’re now asking a blind person to walk onto the street; (it’s) immensely dangerous,’ Mr Rajan said.

‘I go walking around (Joondanna) most weekends and my sense is that it is getting worse.

‘One weekend during December, I walked for a couple of hours that morning and I came across 14 instances where cars were parked across the footpath.’

Mr Rajan said it was not only people with disabilities that were affected.

‘It is an issue primarily for people with disabilities but you also have people who are pushing prams and all of a sudden it becomes a huge issue,’ he said.

Mr Rajan, also the chief executive of the Epilepsy Foundation, said a simple awareness campaign and signage could solve the problem if local governments enforced the law.

‘I don’t think any of these people are doing it maliciously or with ill-intent,’ he said.

‘It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any awareness campaigns run about this issue, and I suspect its probably just people who don’t realise they’re putting someone in danger.’

City of Stirling chief executive Stuart Jardine said the City recognised it was not a localised issue and would welcome a State-based campaign to educate the public on the issues arising from blocking footpaths.

‘The City understands this is not just a City of Stirling issue but a Statewide issue and ideally a Statewide education or public awareness campaign to address this aspect of road safety would be welcomed,’ Mr Jardine said.

Mr Jardine said the City had promoted a similar message to educate motorists and builders on the impact blocking footpaths could have on ‘those who are the most vulnerable in our community’.

‘It is just inconsiderate and dangerous for the footpath users,’ he said.

‘We also ask that residents and businesses report any obstructions that they identify on their local street to the City immediately on 9205 8555.’