DRIVERS parking across sealed footpaths are not just being selfish, they are breaking the rules, according to Bob Triming.
The Bathurst Regional Access Committee chairman/secretary, who uses a wheelchair, says the problem settled down for a while but has got to “a bad stage yet again” in the city and is reminding motorists to do the right thing.
He has supplied a number of photos to the Advocate from the past couple of years to show the extent of the problem.
“We [the access committee] understand council has a limited budget and [engineering department director] Darren [Sturgiss] is really supportive every time we ask for a sealed footpath to be put in,” he said.
“But as soon as they go in, people think it's their own personal concreted parkway.”
It was seen when the sealed footpath was installed in Mitre Street, he said.
“At the time, some people were even parked parallel across it - lengthways,” he said.
The footpaths are important not only for people in wheelchairs or who have mobility problems, Mr Triming said, but for parents pushing prams.
And when a section of a footpath can’t be used, the only options are to take to the grass or take to the road, he said – which is no small undertaking if you are in a wheelchair.
“I have had instances where I’ve had cars blocking the footpath in Stewart Street [on the highway],” he said. “So what do you do?”
Mr Triming said he suspected there was a mentality among some drivers that because they owned the house and the driveway, they could use it as they liked.
“Some don't bother opening the garage door, they just park in front of it, so half the car is blocking the footpath.”
But he said drivers should know that it is an offence to park and obstruct pedestrians, and park so that a path or passageway is obstructed.
The fine for the latter is $263 – and more if the offence is committed in a school zone.
Mr Triming said motorists parking too close to a corner is also a concern for those who have mobility problems.
“It habitually happens at the corner of Russell and Mitre streets and Hope and Keppel streets, near the high school,” he said.
He said motorists who stop (park) within 10 metres of an intersection with no traffic lights face two demerit points and a $337 fine – and more if it happens in a school zone.