Size of bays relative to SUVs, why Greenpeace condemns enlargement and the cost to insurers of parking mishaps.
National Car Parks strives for "balance"
National Car Parks plans to enlarge bays "wherever possible" to better fit the large, sports-utility, vehicles that are increasingly popular and minimise the risk of collisions. The operator has already enlarged spaces in London, Manchester and Bournemouth. It says, however, there is a "fine balance" between the requirement for larger spaces and the requirement for quantity.
The National Car Parks spokesperson explained: "We are moving towards making the bays wider as we recognise that vehicles are growing in size, especially SUVs. Going forward, it is our intention to provide bigger parking bays wherever possible to do so."
Parking bay size relative to vehicles
A standard space is 4.8 metres long by 2.4 metres. However, the 2016 Land Rover Discovery is 4.97 metres long, the BMW X5 is 4.88 metres, the Audi Q7 is 5.05 metres and the Mercedes GLS-Class is 5.13 metres. Such models are also wide relative to the typical bay.
Jato is a motor industry analyst and explained that nearly 1 in 3 new vehicles sold in the United Kingdom is a sports-utility vehicle. Demand for such machinery has increased more than 40% in the year to February 2016 compared to the previous year, it stated.
Cost to insurance industry
Accident Exchange provides courtesy cars and suggested parking mishaps – some of which are caused by the small size of spaces relative to larger vehicles - cost the UK insurance industry £1.4 billion per-annum. Such incidents account for more than 30% of all impacts, it said. There are 675,000 per-annum which is 2,000 a day.
Director of Operations, Scott Hamilton-Cooper, said motorists have to squeeze increasingly large cars into spaces that, generally, "haven't got any larger for a very long time". He added that manufacturers follow the market and cars are outgrowing the spaces.
Mr Hamilton-Cooper explained: "The undoubted success of the SUV segment will have played its part. Perhaps the roads aren't quite ready for them. Some drivers feel certain car parks are no-go areas due the sheer length and width of their cars", he suggested.
Greenpeace condemn sports-utility vehicles
Not everyone is in favour of increasing the size of parking bays to better suit large vehicles, however. Greenpeace Chief Scientist, Doug Parr, argued: "Making more space for large gas guzzlers at the expense of other cars is the opposite of what we should be doing."
Mr Parr concluded: "We need to rethink our transport infrastructure so that those who make the right choice for our health and the environment are rewarded, not penalised."
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