Parking laws

Parking laws explained

Millions of parking tickets are issued by traffic wardens around the country, every year, raking in hundreds of millions of pounds. Many of these tickets are issued to drivers who think they should be the exception to the rule – while many are oblivious to the rules. Here’s what you need to know….

Where can I park?

It doesn’t help that in the UK there’s a bewildering range of signage that dictates where we can and can’t park. Here’s how to work out whether or not you’re safe.

Where you can’t park

Parking laws explained 1.jpg

Double yellow line

No parking at any time of day

Parking laws explained 2.jpg

Single yellow line

Restricted parking during certain times of day: check the accompanying sign.

Parking laws explained 3.jpg

Yellow lines with double kerb ‘blip’

In addition to parking restriction, loading isn’t permitted.

Parking laws explained 4.jpg

Yellow lines with single kerb ‘blip’

In addition to any parking restrictions, loading isn’t permitted between times indicated by sign.

Parking laws explained 5.jpg

Double white line

No parking at any time, except to drop off passengers.

Parking laws explained 6.jpg

Double red lines

No parking, loading or boarding at any time.

Parking laws explained 7.jpg

Single red lines

No parking, loading or boarding during times indicated by sign.

Parking laws explained 8.jpg


No parking in the clearway zone between the times indicated.

Parking laws explained 9.jpg

Cycle lane

No parking at any time.

Parking laws explained 10.jpg

Motorway hard shoulder

Emergency parking only.

Parking laws explained 11.jpg


No parking during period of operation.

Parking laws explained 12.jpg

Pedestrian crossings or zig-zags on the approach

No parking at any time.

Parking laws explained 13.jpg

Blue Badge bays

No parking without a valid Blue Badge.

Parking laws explained 14.jpg

Access routes for emergency vehicles and yellow zigzags at school entrances

No parking at any time.

Parking laws explained 15.jpg

Dropped kerbs, across pavements or on verges

No parking at any time (though the illegality of any of these may depend on the local authority).

Parking laws explained 16.jpg

Privately owned land without signage

Assume that it’s not legal to park.



Parking on the pavement

Parking on the pavement – even if you’ve got just two wheels on there – contravenes the Highway Code. Section 244 specifically prohibits pavement parking in London, but essentially suggests a blanket ban ‘unless signs permit it’.

Enforcement of this section of the code varies from council to council; the Highway Code is a guide rather than a road traffic law reference.

So use your common sense and be considerate; parking on pavements in areas with high pedestrian traffic is especially problematic as you’re then forcing pedestrians onto busy roads.

Parking in front of a driveway

Similar to the above, the Highway Code describes parking in front of a dropped kerb used for a driveway as a violation.

Legally, the Highway Code doesn’t necessarily carry any weight, but under The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, section 103, you may be towed or fined for causing an obstruction.

Blue Badges

In the UK, the Blue Badge scheme allows people with disabilities to park more freely in usually restricted zones.

To find out more about the Blue Badge scheme, check out the official website (http://www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge). In the meantime, Blue Badge holders can park:

    • On single and double yellow lines for up to three hours
    • For free at council-owned pay and display car parks
    • Indefinitely on a dotted yellow line
    • In Blue Badge bays

Because the Blue Badge applies to the holder rather than their vehicle, the badge must be displayed at all times, but it can’t be used by carers if the holder isn’t present.


Parking zones and permits

Many local authorities have created controlled parking zones (CPZs), which require residents, visitors and local businesses to apply for permits.

These permits allow parking in bays within the applicable zone; anyone who hasn’t coughed up for a pass will be fined if they’re caught out.

* This article was brought to you in association with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts.