Is it allowed to park on the sidewalk?
May 13, 2021

Is it allowed to park on the sidewalk?

Sidewalk parking is not usually prohibited outside of London. But this doesn’t mean that you will be able to avoid a fine. In addition to the police, local governments also have the authority to issue fines for parking on the sidewalk, so it makes sense to know the parking rules, which we will discuss below.

In what cases is parking on the sidewalk prohibited?

Rule 244 of the Highway Code states: “It is PROHIBITED to park partially or entirely on the sidewalk in London and elsewhere, unless road signs prescribe otherwise.” This applies to all vehicles, including passenger cars, vans, and motorcycles.

But there is a big but. The statute of some London municipalities prescribes parking with either two front/rear/side wheels on the sidewalk, or entirely on the sidewalk with all four wheels. And these rules may vary from street to street, or even within the same street.

Pay attention to road signs and markings. Dotted white lines will tell you whether you can park entirely on the road or sidewalk, or only partially on the sidewalk.

The following may be prohibited:

  • to park on the sidewalk
  • not to park on the sidewalk
  • park partially on the sidewalk
  • not to park partially on the sidewalk

Heavy vehicles (more than 7.5 tons) are not allowed to park on the sidewalk, except when it is necessary for loading operations, when the vehicle can’t be left unattended.

Is it allowed to park on the sidewalk outside of London?

While there is currently no ban on parking on sidewalks outside London, drivers outside the capital don’t count. Local governments can impose the same restrictions on parking in London.

But according to particular rules of the Highway Code, the police can also issue a fine and tow the car to an impound lot.

For example:

  • Rule 242 of the Highway Code prohibits leaving a vehicle or trailer in a dangerous parking position and obstructing traffic on the roads of England and Wales
  • Since the Highways Act was passed in 1835, driving on the sidewalk has been prohibited and is now subject to Rule 145 of the Highway Code. Although, you need to be caught red-handed to get a fine
  • Rule 244 of the Highway Code enshrines a ban on parking on London sidewalks, stating that drivers who park their vehicles “mustn’t do that in other places, unless otherwise prescribed by road signs.”

At the same time, in the latter case, we are talking about a ban of a recommendatory nature, and, therefore, it is not within the competence of the police. This is done by local authorities – municipalities and inspectors.

What is the damage caused by parking on the sidewalk?

The problem of parking on the sidewalk is not limited only to the physical obstruction of the roadway, when a pedestrian has to enter the traffic area.

In addition, there are other unpleasant moments:

Social isolation

Transport Committee chairwoman Lilian Greenwood, MP, recently said: “People are at risk of social isolation if they feel they can’t safely leave their homes or are physically unable to do so.”

Damage to the road surface

Local authorities estimate that around £1 billion was spent on repairs to curbs, sidewalks and footpaths between 2006 and 2010. Uneven sidewalks can cause serious problems for visually impaired pedestrians.

Is there a complete ban on parking on London sidewalks?

Some drivers in London and in other locations believe that parking entirely on the sidewalk is a surefire way to avoid a parking fine if there are double yellow lines along the road. This is a myth.

Despite the current Rule 244, in some cases you can park partially or entirely on the sidewalk in London, if there is a permit sign. This may seem strange, given what the Highway Code says, but it makes perfect sense.

If everyone were to park on the road, fire or garbage trucks would simply not be able to drive up to buildings. In these cases, parking on the sidewalk is not only allowed, but also mandatory.

What is the penalty for parking on the sidewalk?

Fines issued by police and local government representatives vary, but if you find a yellow plastic envelope on the windshield of your car, the following is possible:

  • for violating the rules of parking on the sidewalk in London, you will receive a notice of a fixed penalty in the amount of 50 to 130 pounds.
  • fixed penalty notices are issued by police officers, local authorities, or the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
  • If you park on the sidewalk in violation of the local government parking restriction sign, you may be issued with a penalty notice in the amount of 50 to 130 pounds. They are issued by representatives of local governments or their agents.

Fixed fines and penalties can be paid online or at the post office within 28 days. Payment details are indicated on the back of the receipt. The discount on payment is valid if you pay the fine within 14 days, or 21 days if you received the receipt at the post office.

Payment can be made online or at the post office in accordance with the instructions on the back of the receipt.

Is parking on sidewalks prohibited in other regions of the UK?

Currently, parking partially or entirely on sidewalks is allowed in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, although in some cases the situation may be different.

Sidewalk parking regulations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

  • Scotland: A complete ban on parking on sidewalks will come into force in 2021 with the passage of the Transport Act.
  • However, trucks will be partially exempt from this ban and will be able to park on the sidewalk for up to 20 minutes at a time
  • Northern Ireland: Penalty notices are issued by traffic officers for parking on sidewalks in Northern Ireland in places with appropriate restriction signs
  • Police officers are responsible for punishing car owners who violate parking rules
  • Wales: The government has formed a working group to consider whether to introduce a complete ban on parking on sidewalks
  • A survey by the charity Living Streets Cymru found that more than a quarter of people over the age of 65 in Wales have trouble moving freely on the streets because of tightly parked cars

Can there be a complete ban on parking on sidewalks in England?

A widespread ban on parking on London’s sidewalks could extend to the rest of England if a report by the House of Commons Transport Committee on the issue is approved.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps launched a discussion on the issue in March 2020 and seems to be sympathetic to the committee’s core message. The official said: “Cars parked on the sidewalk can pose serious difficulties for pedestrians.”

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