Ipswich man urges drivers: ‘Stop parking across pathways before someone is killed’

Simon O'Brien-Ellington with his wife, Claire.

Simon O'Brien-Ellington with his wife, Claire. - Credit: Archant

Paths are for people, not for cars. That is the driving force behind a campaign started by Ipswich man Simon O’Brien-Ellington who says badly parked cars block access for wheelchair users, parents with pushchairs and blind people.

Mr O’Brien-Ellington, of Blackfriars Court, said he fears someone “could be killed” if something is not done.

The 47-year-old added: “Drivers often think people can get by but don’t think about wheelchairs. What about someone with visual impairment who has to step out into the road into the path of traffic, a bus, who knows what, to get round?

“Will it take an accident, until someone dies, to do something about it?”

Mr O’Brien-Ellington is a full-time carer for his wife, Claire, 39, who has been using a wheelchair for around 15 years, and the pair both run The Charioteers Wheelchair Football Club and Charity.

The problem is worse on Sundays, Mr O’Brien-Ellington said, as many parking restrictions do not apply so motorists will park on kerbs.

Mr O’Brien-Ellington has launched a Facebook page and is encouraging people to post pictures of inconsiderate parking from across the town.

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He said: “The aim is to try and get people to realise how much of an issue there is and get something done about it because the authorities don’t seem to care.

“I went to police and they said it’s not high priority. The council’s attitude is ‘we do patrol and if we see them we ticket them’, but I have seen them walk straight past them.

“I’m not interested in ticketing people but if that’s what is needed to get the message across then so be it, but it’s more an awareness campaign.”

An IBC spokesman said the council encouraged safe parking.

He added: “This is an issue we take very seriously. It’s not just about enforcement it’s also about advise and education and that careless driving can be dangerous.

“We would urge all motorists to park responsibly and we would be happy to talk to Mr O’Brien-Ellington about any particular concerns he has in specific areas of the town.”

The Facebook page can be found at: Facebook.com/pathsareforpeoplenotcars

Have you seen drivers parked across pathways? Send your views and pictures to gemma.mitchell@archant.co.uk