Who is responsible for pedestrian safety in the UK?
A case study on the legality of footway parking


A survey letter was posted in February 2014 to 78 named individuals who (between them) appear to have responsibility for the safety of pedestrians in the author's locality. The list comprised:
  • The Prime Minister, seven other Ministers and the Leader of the Opposition
  • The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) National Lead for Roads Policing in England and Wales
  • Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary
  • The Chief Executive of the College of Policing
  • The Chair and 10 other members of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee
  • The Leader, the responsible Cabinet Member, the Chief Executive, and nine other officers of Wirral Council
  • The Chief Constable and four other officers of Merseyside Police
  • The Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner
  • The Chairperson and 11 other Members of the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel
  • The MP for West Wirral
  • The three Councillors for West Kirby and Thurstaston
  • The Chair of Wirral Council's Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee
  • The Chair and 17 other members of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority
  • The Chief Crown Prosecutor CPS Mersey-Cheshire
  • The Chair of Wirral Magistrates Bench
The full list is given in the Results section together with the responses received from each.

The full list is given on the responses page, together with the responses received from each.

The list was drawn up with the aim of being comprehensive, but it may well be incomplete due to the lack of any readily available guidance for the public on who is responsible for road safety.

The survey form contained just one question: "Is parking like this legal or illegal?", referring to two photographs of vehicles (a supermarket delivery van and a Merseyside Police car - see right) parked half way across footways. The mailing also contained explanatory notes as to why a clear answer is needed with photographs of some common problems , a covering letter, and a stamped addressed envelope for reply.

The question was phrased in non-technical language, which might be used by a driver when asking an official where to park, or which might be used by a pedestrian in making a complaint. The approach was designed to be eye-catching in view of many evasive responses and non-responses that have been sent in response to previous queries and complaints.
The response sheet (see right) contained three possible responses: "legal", "illegal", or "don't know"

In summary, the mailing consisted of
  • a covering letter
  • two photographs (see panel)
  • a page of text and photographs explaining why pedestrians need clarity
  • a response sheet (to be returned)
see here.

vehicles on pavements

response form