A Wigan man who was left permanently disabled in a cycling accident has called for action against selfish drivers blocking disabled access across the borough.
The Whitley resident, who lost the use of his legs after falling from his bike on Gidlow Lane, says he is struggling to navigate the roads around his house because so many people park their cars on the pavements.
The 61-year-old suffered a spinal cord injury in the accident and has spent four months in hospital - it is only now that he is learning how to adjust to life in a wheelchair.
“I always noticed it before but now it’s affecting me personally,” he said.
“So many people park on the pavements round here, not partially but fully on the pavements and no one seems to care enough to do anything about it.
“It’s a problem near my house and across Wigan but I have noticed that Wigan Lane is particularly bad for it, especially on the right hand side as you are leaving the town.
“It’s quite common for me to find cars parked completely on the pavement blocking all access and I have to navigate onto the road, which obviously is quite dangerous but I have no choice.
“I could go into someone’s house and ask them to move their car but I imagine that would just result in a mouthful of abuse.”
In the past few weeks since returning home, the frustrated man has made complaints to the police and to the council, but has had a “disappointing” response.
“It’s difficult to get through to the police, they never seem to answer the non-emergency number,” he said. “And if you do get through you get treated like a criminal or a time waster.
“They will want photographic proof and a full report before doing anything about it. I can’t get to the police station because it’s miles away and the door is closed when you get there.
“I have reported it to the council numerous times.
“It is the same with cycle lanes, people park in them and there seems to be nothing the council can do about it because they are just advisory.
“People can’t be stopped from parking there.
“It is frustrating, I was thwarted as a cyclist and pedestrian and now I’m being thwarted as a wheelchair user.”
The man, who has been retired for several years, says that as long as people continue to get away with it, they will keep doing it.
He added: “That’s human nature unfortunately. It is selfish behaviour.
“But if they keep getting away with it they will keep doing it.”
There are a number of rules regarding enforcement of pavement parking in the borough.
A council spokeswoman said that if a car is left on the pavement in an area where waiting restrictions apply, this is dealt with by the local authority.
However, if a car is left on the pavement and is causing an obstruction where there are no waiting restrictions, it is a matter for Greater Manchester Police.