PARKING can often be a stressful moment for motorists.
Lack of space and endless rules can be a major concern, which is why it’s important to know how you feel about parking rules and fines.
Is it illegal to park on the sidewalk?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no law outside of London prohibiting pavement parking.
Rule 244 of the Highway Code states: “You must not park in London, in whole or in part, and you should not park anywhere else unless the signs permit.”
“Sidewalk parking can be a disabling and serious nuisance to pedestrians, those in wheelchairs or those with visual impairments, and those with strollers or strollers.”
Outside the capital, you are allowed to partially park your motorcycle on the pavement, but it must not constitute an obstruction.
As a general rule of thumb, if you park on the sidewalk, make sure there is enough space for people to drive past your car.
READ MORE ABOUT PARKING RULES
Rule 242 of the Highway Code states: “You MUST NOT park your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous place or in a place where the roadway is unnecessarily obstructed.”
While local councils across the country are trying to get areas to follow London’s lead on parking, this is not a realistic proposition given the capital’s far greater number of road users relative to the space available.
Many areas are pushing for far stricter sidewalk parking rules.
Here is a breakdown of the current situation in different parts of the country:
- England has been examining how to tackle curb parking but has yet to make any concrete decisions on what action it will take to tackle it. It’s only banned in London
- Scotland is the first country in the UK to ban pavement parking. In 2019, the Transport (Scotland) Bill was passed, with a nationwide ban expected to come into full force in 2023
- In Wales, the Welsh Government has given local government the green light to crack down on pavement parking and now has the power to fine motorists for doing so.
- There is currently no blanket ban on pavement parking in Northern Ireland, but fines can be issued for breaking the Road Traffic Regulations, parking on yellow lines or where parking is prohibited.
Parking and loading bays?
Parking can be more confusing when delivery drivers use specific parking spaces to unload or unload goods.
This is called the loading dock and is usually marked with yellow or white dotted lines that say “Loading Only”.
Parking at loading docks is only permitted if there is a sign stating the parking option and the desired time.
If the loading dock has a “Loading Only” sign posted, you risk a hefty fine if you park your car there.
In London this fine could be £130 but if paid on time (two weeks) it can be reduced.
What is the fine for sidewalk parking?
Anyone caught parking on the pavement in London faces a hefty fine of £70.
If you pay within 14 days, you may receive a 50 percent discount on the parking fee.
If a fine has been issued by the local government, you must make the payment unless you have reason to appeal. If you pay within 14 days, you usually get half the price discount.
A fine means you broke the law. However, if you have a compelling or very compelling reason to appeal, the Council may, at its discretion, decide whether to overturn the decision.
Outside London, police can fine you if they think your parking is dangerous or obstructs the road in any way.
This can result in a fine and, in some cases, points on your driver’s license. Generally the fine is around the £70 you might expect in the capital.
Are the rules different in London?
Parking on sidewalks has been banned in London since the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974.
The law prohibits drivers from parking on city streets in the capital while their car’s wheels are on sidewalks, green verges or spaces between lanes.
There are exceptions to this rule in some areas.
These are clearly marked with special blue parking signs indicating a one-wheeled car at the curb.
In other cases, parking bays are marked with white lines that extend to the footpaths to indicate that parking is permitted there.
In areas where this is not permitted, the law provides protection for certain circumstances, such as drivers unloading goods, putting out a fire or saving someone’s life.
Anyone who breaks the rules faces a fine.