Can you park on the pavement? Parking rules explained.

The pavement parking ban is set to be extended across the whole of the UK, under a new law set by the government to catch thousands of motorists parking illegally.

Parking on the pavements is only illegal if you live in London, where you’ll be fined £70 which will be dropped to £35 if paid within 14 days. 

In September, the UK Government began making proposals for the legislation to change, proposing three options to make it easier for councils to ban pavement parking, providing extra power to fine drivers who park on paths around local areas.

Why is the government reviewing the pavement parking legislation?

A third of visually impaired individuals and almost half of all wheelchair users say they are less willing to go outside because of the difficulties pavement parking causes.  

It makes it dangerous for pushchair users too, making them walk around the cars and on to the road, discouraging any pedestrian to make their journey by foot.

Our pavements need to be accessible for everyone, and while the pandemic has encouraged more people to take up walking and cycling, legislations like this are necessary.

So, where can and can’t you park?

The first and most obvious place we think about when it comes to parking our vehicle is a car park or a designated parking bay at the side of a road.

Parking outside of a car park is sometimes the only option, so here are some parking rules to take into consideration.

1.     Parking on double yellow lines

Double yellow lines on the road with blips

You must not park or wait on double yellow lines at any time unless stated otherwise.

Sometimes, seasonal restrictions may be in place, clearly indicated on road signs nearby.

Parking is permitted on double yellow lines when loading and unloading heavy items, as long as you can be seen doing so continuously. If you are spotted on double yellow lines by a traffic warden and you are not loading or unloading, you may be at risk of getting a ticket.

If you are going to be loading and unloading, watch out for specific restrictions indicated by small yellow lines or dashes at a right-angle to the kerb, known as ‘blips’. Two sets of blips indicate no loading at any time and single blips indicate loading can only happen at certain times, usually shown on a sign nearby.  

A double yellow line parking fine is £70, which is reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days. However, this may vary and will depend on the local authority.

2.     Parking on single yellow lines

Single yellow line

A single yellow line indicates that you must not park, wait, load, or unload at the times shown on the signpost nearby.

There are no specific rules about when single yellow line restrictions operate, and time limits can vary from street to street as well as between towns and cities. Restrictions usually apply on weekdays or at peak hours, lifting on evenings and weekends.

If a sign only indicates a set time and not specific days, this will mean that the restrictions are in operation at the same time every day of the week.

Similar to double yellow lines, loading and unloading heavy items is allowed but double- check for the single or double ‘blips’.

3.     Parking on red lines

Double red line bus route with london bus

In some cases, red lines are used instead of yellow lines, often found on bus routes and public transport, commonly used on ‘red routes’ in cities such as London, Edinburgh and Birmingham.

A double red line means you must not park, wait, drop off or pick up passengers or load and unload heavy items from your vehicle.

A single red line means that you must not park, wait, drop off or pick up passengers or load and unload heavy items from your vehicle between the times that are indicated on nearby signs – usually, 7am to 7pm.

On some red routes, there may be specific spaces marked for parking or loading but you should always check the road sign restrictions first.

4.     Parking in front of a dropped kerb

Car parked on a dropped kerb

Parking across a dropped kerb, whether partially or fully is a parking offence enforced by the police or the local council.

A dropped kerb is a section of the pavement lowered to make it easier for wheelchair users, visually impaired, and people with pushchairs get across the road. They can also be found outside of homes to help vehicles access their driveways.

5.     Parking in loading bays

Loading only sign

Loading bays should only be used by commercial vehicles and for loading or unloading heavy items. Usually, a maximum of 20 minutes is given to load or unload, unless stated otherwise.

The loading bay will be surrounded by a dotted white line with the words “Loading Only” painted next to the box on the road.

Remember to always check the signs around the loading bay for restrictions and the times of operation before parking your vehicle.

6.     Parking by the roadside

Cars parked by the roadside

Where possible, you must use off-street parking areas or bays marked out with white lines on the road as parking places.

If stopping by the roadside is unavoidable, you must abide by the following rules:

  • Do not park facing against the traffic flow
  • Stop as close as you can to the side
  • Do not stop too close to a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge
  • Switch off the engine, headlights and fog lights
  • Apply the handbrake before leaving the vehicle
  • Check for cyclists or other traffic to ensure you don’t hit anyone when opening the car door
  • Lock your vehicle, making sure it’s secure

Now you’re all clued up on the pavement parking ban and other parking laws, why not refresh your knowledge on the UK’s speed limits and fines and discover everything you need to know about the different speed limits and the penalties you could face if you break the law.