Blanket ban on pavement parking could leave thousands without a parking space.

A blanket ban on pavement parking could lead to a need for thousands of new car parking spaces that towns and cities are simply not equipped to provide, warns IAM RoadSmart.

The warning has come after the House of Commons Transport Committee launched an enquiry into pavement parking and invited comments from interested parties in April, to which IAM RoadSmart has delivered its conclusions. All submissions have now been released for public viewing.

One suggestion that has emerged from the enquiry is a blanket ban on all vehicles parking on any part of a pavement – but IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, said this could cause a major parking headache for drivers across the country.

In its submission to the committee, IAM RoadSmart said: “Where data has been collated, the problems appear to be localised.

“Where pedestrians are being put in danger or denied access by inconsiderate pavement parking, or if costly long-term damage is being done, then we have no problem with local solutions being implemented for local problems.

“Local councils should be encouraged to use their existing powers to sign, define, review and enforce local bans as required.”

IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research Neil Greig noted that, with increasing numbers of cars on the road, local councils do not have the funding or the road capacity to provide the extra spaces people need to park. Nor do hard pressed local councils have the resources required to effectively implement a blanket ban.

“New traffic orders, new signposting, new road markings and new enforcement administration will all be required at extra cost if a blanket ban is introduced. Councils are already struggling to implement low emission zones, cycling and walking policies, active travel policies, 20mph zones and a host for other transport measures against a background of budget cuts and dwindling resources.”

IAM RoadSmart added that a blanket ban risked creating conflict between residents as they attempt to find a place to park, often in areas where there has never been a road safety problem.

In addition, while many would like to see stricter penalties for pavement parking, IAM RoadSmart said enforcement must always be seen to be fair and well targeted. Penalties should only be used to encourage behaviour change and the take-up of alternatives if they can be provided.

“If enforcement is going to be applied rigorously then councils should be forced to provide safe and secure alternative parking arrangements in those areas where pavement parking has been banned but worked perfectly well before. 

“If a blanket ban is to go ahead, despite our and other organisations’ recommendations, the income from fines should be ringfenced to improve parking facilities in the worst affected areas.”

IAM RoadSmart want to see much more research and pilot schemes before a decision is made to ban all pavement parking. In many urban areas, pavement parking is actively encouraged and the road marked up to allow it. IAM RoadSmart does not support a blanket ban that effectively removes this option at a stroke.

Get caravanning: tips from IAM RoadSmart

With another bank holiday on the horizon, there will be more people dusting off their caravan and packing for the long weekends. IAM RoadSmart has partnered up with the Caravan and Motorhome Club to offer some advice for a successful holiday trip.

Going away with the whole family and the caravan, trailer tent or camping trailer is a great experience. By ensuring that you load the caravan or trailer correctly, and deal appropriately with other traffic, you can help ease the stress levels, especially if you lack towing experience.

With the south west of England being a very popular place to visit, it is not surprising that they have some of the highest incident rates for caravans. Between January 2017 and May 2018 there have been 850 caravan or trailer incidents on main roads in the South West region, with 460 of those occurring in the summer months of May to September – a sure way to put a sudden end to a lovely holiday. With the majority of caravans only being used over the summer months, this figure needs to be reduced.  

Most incidents happen around the weekend. Nearly a third of all incidents occur on Saturdays and Sundays, with Mondays and Fridays not too far behind.

Caravan and trailer road-worthiness is just as important as your car’s, and particular care is needed for that first summer outing, as many are parked up and unused over the winter.

  • We recommend that before you start your trip you make sure you have checked both your car and caravan or trailer. Especially check your tyres as they should be inflated to the correct pressure, have a good amount of tread (no lower than 1.6mm) and be free from damage
  • The caravan breakaway cable (or safety chain on smaller unbraked trailers) should be in good condition and connected correctly. If you have a caravan or a large box-shaped trailer you will almost always need to fit extension mirrors – these will help make sure you have a good view behind you and comply with the law
  • Remember when loading your caravan or trailer to make sure it is not overloaded as this can put you at additional risk of instability, and mean you’re breaking the law. Ensure your heavy items are positioned correctly over the axle, low to the floor with lighter items higher up
  • A quick refresher of the Highway Code will remind you that travelling in the right-hand lane of a motorway with three or more lanes is not allowed and your speed limit when towing is 60 mph on dual carriageways and motorways and 50 mph on single carriageways, unless a lower overall limit is applies
  • Be extra vigilant on downhill stretches as your speed can easily creep up and get too high – this is a common contributory factor to your caravan/trailer losing stability. Remember, you will need more room to stop when towing and you should always have a big enough gap to be able to slow down and stop in an emergency
  • Towing in high winds needs additional care and perhaps a change of route should be considered. However it’s not just windy days you need to be mindful of. Overtaking large vehicles can place you in their “bow wave” and this can cause instability of caravans which are badly loaded and/or being towed too fast

Martin Spencer, technical manager at the Caravan and Motorhome Club says: “Towing a caravan or other trailer can be unfamiliar, but doesn’t need to be intimidating. By getting the basic set-up right, then following straightforward advice over issues such as speed and safety around other vehicles, towing can be relaxed, easy and comfortable. Above all, it will be safe.

“In almost all cases, serious incidents only occur because inexperienced drivers have not taken the right advice, or experienced ones have become complacent. The Club has 15 training centres across the country so anyone just starting out, or those needing some refresher training can receive the best possible guidance.”

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart says: “The advanced driving skills of observation, anticipation and planning are key to good towing. They will keep you a safe distance from the vehicle in front and help you predict problems ahead and around you. If you prepare yourself, your family and your vehicles for the road ahead your trip will be as relaxing as possible.”

More than 11,000 drivers hold licences legally despite having 12 penalty points or more

IAM RoadSmart has expressed its frustration that six years after calling for action, more than 11,000 drivers a year are still being legally allowed on the roads with 12 or more points on their licences.

The issue was brought back into the spotlight this month when Justin Madders, MP of Ellesmere Port and Neston, asked Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling how many holders of UK licences with 12 points or more have been allowed to continue driving.

The DVLA replied that as of 9 April 2019, the number of people with 12 penalty points or more who have an entitlement to drive is 11,105.

IAM RoadSmart first revealed the scale of the issue back in 2013 following a Freedom of Information request and subsequently met with the DVLA to discuss solutions.

Although six years ago there were 12,470 drivers with more than 12 points on their licences on the roads legally, IAM RoadSmart is still highly concerned that these numbers still run into five figures.

Despite proposing several ways to fix the issue of such an unacceptably high number of drivers holding licences legally after committing multiple driving offences, little obvious action appears to have been taken in the past six years.

Six years ago, IAM RoadSmart discussed a series of measures to tackle the issue with the DVLA:

  • Where ‘exceptional hardship’ has been used as an excuse for not losing a licence, that the reason for this plea is recorded. Then the driver cannot use the same excuse twice
  • The DVLA was due to introduce a new computer system which would allow courts to see past offences and reasons given
  • The courts with the poorest records of not banning drivers who have over 12 points should be named and shamed
  • Better training for magistrates and better sharing of information with DVLA.


Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said that while there is now better sharing of information between courts and the DVLA, many decisions on whether drivers should be banned are made by the courts without enough information from the DVLA – a process that needs to change urgently.

He said: “The DVLA told us they would sort this issue out years ago, and judging by the current numbers, it simply has not happened effectively enough. Licences need to be removed and drivers who have committed repeat offences encouraged to take remedial courses to bring home the impact of their behaviour and promote safer, more responsible driving behaviour in future.

“IAM RoadSmart calls on the DVLA to quickly extract all such cases manually and ask courts why there has been a non-disqualification on 12 or more points, so appropriate action can be taken to get irresponsible and dangerous drivers off our roads.”

Neil added: “Quite simply these are drivers who should be banned. Allowing them to continue to drive in all but exceptional circumstances not only undermines public trust in the well understood ‘four strikes and you’re out’ totting up method of driving punishments, it also put these motorists and other road users across the UK at greater risk.”

Graham Ranshaw wins the Fred Welch Rose Bowl

On Saturday 27th April, GAM Chairman, Graham Ranshaw, was awarded the prestigious Fred Welch Rose Bowl in recognition for all his work for IAM RoadSmart.

The trophy is awarded nationally to the car member who, in the opinion of the panel of judges, has contributed most to promoting the aims and objectives of IAM RoadSmart .

Dealing with vulnerable road users: tips from IAM RoadSmart

As we make the same commute every day to work and back, we can get used to seeing pedestrians on the streets, motorcyclists on the road and even a few cyclists appearing now that the season is changing. But this can sometimes mean we get a little too used to the things around us and may unintentionally stop paying attention to our surroundings. Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, provides a set of tips to remind you how to manage vulnerable road users.

Note: If you have friends and family who drive, please share these tips with them to help them stay safe on the road.

  • Check to see the type of pedestrians around you. Do you see an elderly person crossing the road? They may be walking slowly, so ensure they feel safe by reducing your speed. Children can be easily distracted and are unpredictable too, especially when crossing the road, so do all you can to help them out. Drive with care and be vigilant as a few extra seconds added to your day may make all the difference.
  • A cycling club will often cycle as a group rather than in single file. This makes it safer for all of us; a simple overtake on a short group is often easier and safer to achieve than 30 overtakes on separate cyclists. Before you overtake them, make sure you have given them enough room as they could adjust their road positioning unexpectedly for a pothole or drain. A few seconds delay is better than a lifetime of regret. It’s always good to remember that a young, fit individual on a bike is likely to be more stable than an older person doing their shopping run.
  • Take note that there are two types of mobility scooters. Class 2 scooters are only allowed on pavements and have a top speed of 4mph. Class 3 mobility scooters should be registered and are driven on the road with a top speed of 8mph. Bear in mind that this group of road users may have restricted movement, vision or hearing so give them plenty of space and time.
  • Have you thought about taking a more scenic route now that the days are getting lighter for longer? You may come across a horse and its rider walking along the side of the road. To avoid scaring the horse, turn the radio down and keep the engine revs low. Slow down and take your time when passing a horse. Keep your car well away from them and proceed with caution. The British Horse Society campaign encourages ‘Wide and Slow’ which reiterates driving no more than 15mph and leaving at least a car’s width gap. 
  • Who has heard of SMIDSY (“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”)? This is a regular acronym in a motorcyclist’s dictionary and often our strategy when looking for a culprit! The science behind this is called Saccadic Masking. The simple explanation is that people don’t see clearly when their head or eyes are moving, and they don’t pick up objects travelling towards them very well. So make sure you have a good look, not just a quick glance. A good tip is that if you’re specifically looking for motorcyclists or cyclists, then you are more likely to see them.

Richard said: “The importance of sharing the road space and understanding the needs of other road users cannot be stressed enough. If we are aware of vulnerable road users, we can make provisions to keep us all safe. Remember to treat others how you would like to be treated.”

Do you want to find out more ways to stay safe on the road? Try our Advanced Driving Course and get the best out of yourself and your car.

Congratulations again

Last Sunday we were delighted to welcome back three of our newest and youngest members, Lizzy Olisa, Jess Harridge and Katie Stacey to the Sunday runs, who all recently passed their Advanced Driving test, aged 21, 19 and 18 respectively.

I really enjoyed the course; I learnt lots of new ways to improve my driving, but also ways to enhance the skills I already had. The GAM observers ran each session in a way that felt like I was a friend or colleague, rather than an instructor.

Lizzy Olisa

It is wonderful to know that GAM exists.  The volunteer Observers have enabled our daughter to develop her driving beyond the basic skills required to pass her driving test.  Thank you GAM – I can now relax in the passenger seat when she is driving as aged 19 she is a mature, aware and conscientious driver.

Niki Harridge

Blood runners needed

SERV S&SL are looking to recruit local car drivers for our fixed supply run each evening for our fellow SERV regions, Kent and Sussex. This is so that SERV SSL can release other resources to continue the reliable and regular service to our own hospitals. This is an ideal opportunity for those who may have considered joining us in the past but who could not commit to being on duty all through the night. The nightly exchange run will entail the following:

  • Collection of products from NHS Blood & Transplant, Tooting – this may be multiple boxes of blood, platelets and plasma.
  • Exchange at our handover point with representatives from Kent and/or Sussex.
  • Possible exchange of Medical Samples to return to NHS Blood & Transplant, Tooting (if no return run then you will head home from the handover point).

Once trained, you will be assigned (with your agreement) one night a fortnight to cover this duty (more if you wish). There is an expectation of commitment and, if you cannot make your rostered duty for any reason, as much advance notice as possible is required, together with effort to swap the shift with another volunteer.

On your duty night you will call in and be assigned tasks for the night by the duty controller. Some nights, we may not have received any requests from Kent or Sussex and you may be stood down. Other nights, you’ll take products to our handover point and then take samples back to Tooting. That’s the luck of the draw!

Please note that no expenses are paid; like the rest of our volunteers, you donate your time and fuel to a good cause and the get the pleasure of knowing that you probably saved a life or two tonight.

The handover point is a comfortable 30 minute drive from Tooting using our tested route, so your duty should not take longer than 2 hours, including travelling time to and from home, on the worst night.

If you are still interested in joining us as a committed and dedicated car driving blood runner, or you have any further questions, please get in touch with our Recruitment Secretary on 07432 221981 or recruit@servssl.org.uk

A smooth drive into spring: tips from IAM RoadSmart

It’s time to get your car hale, hearty and ‘beach body ready’ in preparation for the spring. This week’s tips give advice on getting your car ready for the warmer weather, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Lose weight; clear out those coats, boots, scarves and bags that took up permanent residence during the winter months. They add weight as well as taking up space, and surplus weight means wasted fuel
  • Cut down on the salt; modern cars are much less prone to rust than their forbearers, but corrosion-causing salt from gritted roads can build up under the wheel arches and the suspension. Use a hose pipe to flush the wheel arches clean; if you have a pressure washer, even better. If not, try washing the arches after driving on wet roads – the mud and grit will have softened. The neighbours might think you’re peculiar but you’ll reduce the risk of expensive repairs
  • Test your vision; the demister puts a film of grime from traffic fumes on the inside of the windscreen which can spread bright sunshine into a blinding glare. Get the screen squeaky clean with water and detergent, dry with a microfibre cloth and crystal clear vision will be restored. Don’t forget the other windows; clean screens rarely mist up so you’ll need the heated rear window far less – another fuel saver
  • Keep hay fever at bay; most cars have pollen filters, but they need changing periodically to remain efficient. Look in your handbook to find out how to get to the filter and if it looks bad, change it now. Some very good after-market filters are available online, often with a charcoal layer to filter out pollutants as well as pollen
  • Don’t get hot and bothered; air conditioning is a boon as the temperature rises, but it contains a special gas which can slowly leak away. If it gets too low, the air-con will blow warm instead of cold. Test it by turning the heater control to minimum, the heater fan to maximum and make sure the air-con is turned on (i.e., not in “eco” mode). If you don’t feel an icy blast after a couple of minutes, the system may need “re-gassing”; a simple job which most garages have the equipment to do.

Richard said: “In conjunction with other spring cleaning treat your car, the efforts to wash and polish it will last a bit longer now the winter salt has gone. Now is a good time to spend a therapeutic Sunday morning tinkering.”

Do you want to find out more ways to stay safe on the road? Try our Advanced Driving Course and get the best out of yourself and your car.

Victor Olisa becomes President of Guildford Advanced Motorists.

Guildford Advanced Motorists (GAM) are delighted to announce that Dr Victor Olisa (QPM) has accepted the position of President of the group.

Victor joined Surrey Police in 1982 straight from university, where he studied Biochemistry. He joined the City of London Police in 1990 where he worked as an operational uniformed Inspector and the Fraud Squad investigating large scale corporate and financial fraud in the UK and abroad.

In 2003 he went to the Home Office to work on Stop and Search as part the Office for Criminal Justice Reform. In 2005 he was awarded a PhD in Criminology by the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He transferred to the Metropolitan Police in April 2006 in a variety of senior management roles. From 2009 to 2010 he led the work on one of the Commissioner’s strategic priorities to deliver safety and confidence to Londoners: Professionalism.

In April 2012 he was promoted to Chief Superintendent and posted to Bexley Borough as a Borough Commander. In 2013 he become Borough Commander of Haringey. He then became the Head of Inclusion and Diversity for the Met, between 2016 and 2017. In 2017, Dr Olisa was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished police service.
In October 2017 he retired from the Police Service and is currently carrying out research into police leadership as a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science and working as a Governor at Treloar’s and Director of Safeguarding at Surrey County Football Association.
Victor came to GAM earlier this year to do his Advanced Driving Test, passing with a F1RST. He is now training to become a Local Observer.

We look forward to working with Victor to improve our links with the emergency services and driving safety groups locally and nationally.

We thank the outgoing President Alan Bone for his help and guidance over the last three years.

Graham Ranshaw
Chairman, GAM
December 2018.