Dear Sir,
There have recently been complaints in the Newton News about what one reader called an ‘epidemic’ of cars driving over grassed areas and footpaths, and references to the damage which is done, such as in School Aycliffe some months ago. Apart from the ruts in greens and verges being an eyesore in a residential area, and the hazards to pedestrians, it doesn’t seem to be realised that the drivers are often committing an offence. This occurs if the vehicle has been driven across a footpath to reach the grass, which is usually the case. The Highway Code is quite clear on this, it states “You must not drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency”. Parking on grassed areas isn’t lawful access to property, or an emergency. Drivers of commercial vehicles seem to be particular offenders, and as these vehicles are usually heavier than cars, they can do even more damage. The above photograph shows another example of parking on greens and something that’s too common, using the pavement for parking, which breaches the law against driving on, and obstructing, footpaths; you can also see the careless way the verge has been churned up in the picture.
I have been in touch with the police about these issues, and it seems that they will be running an initiative for a week during May, prioritising road safety and vehicle crime around Aycliffe, so it would be worthwhile to let them have opinions and information.
Yours sincerely,
Alan Atkinson
Stephenson Way