More than 40 people were killed last year by vehicles mounting pavements
The device is triggered when a car driver over it but a pedestrian, bicycle or mobility scooter is not heavy enough It’s a problem that affects people living in Gloucestershire as much as it does anywhere else in the country.
Pavements in urban areas throughout the county are littered with cars parked on them.
There are some streets in Gloucester and Cheltenham where motorists, perhaps with nowhere else to park, mount the kerb and turn off the engine leaving their vehicle obstructing the pavement.
But one inventor has been inspired by a worrying statistic to come up with a device that will put an end to people risking their lives walking on the pavement.
Yannick Read, 47, has created the Catclaw, a product which is effectively a metal spike installed in pavements and punctures tyres when it is driven over.
It is hoped there would be thousands of these devices installed along the edge of pavements and helping to save lives.
“We’re addressing road danger – there’s a real problem with drivers parking on the pavement or driving on the pavement because they can’t be bothered to wait,” he said.
“Last year 43 people were killed by cars as they walked on pavements,” he added.
“In one terrible incident a four-year-old girl using a scooter and a delivery driver crushed her to death in front of her mother – it’s an extreme example but it happens far more than it should.
“When you think you’re safe on the pavement you aren’t safe.”
Yannick also said the device has a potential second use – to stop terror attacks like the one on London Bridge last year, where a terrorist drove down a pavement, mowing down pedestrians.
If Catclaws had been installed, the tyres would have blown meaning the vehicle could not have been driven as fast, he explained.
“You can’t reach high speed with tyres which are all blown out,” he added.
The more common problem of pavement parking is growing, Yannick said.
“The rise of internet shopping means we hear complaints from many people about delivery drivers – couriers and supermarket delivery vans – who would rather pull up onto the pavement to make deliveries than risk the anger of drivers stuck behind them.
“It’s a new explosion that has brought with it a whole new range of problems.”
The CatClaw deploys a metal spike when driven over, puncturing the tyres of any motorist who tried to mount the kerb
But it’s not just delivery drivers, our impatient society is also at fault, explains Yannick. “Driving on pavements has become socially acceptable – people don’t think anything of it,” he said.
Yannick says the response to his prototype has been generally positive and he challenges any nay-sayers.
“We’ve shown the principle works,” he said. “It wouldn’t be appropriate to put them everywhere. I’d be interested to hear their objections.
“It’s illegal to drive on the pavement, there’s no excuse to do it. So if you’re not breaking the law your tyres are safe.
“Like I said, 43 people were killed last year and wheelchair users, people with push chairs and those who use mobility scooters will tell you, it’s an anti-social crime as well as a potentially fatal one.”