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Is It Illegal to Park on the Pavement?

Is it illegal to park on the pavement? This is a source of great controversy, and many drivers and pedestrians seem confused about the issue.

So we thought we’d take a look at what the law has to say, so you can find out where you stand once and for all.

Is It Illegal to Park on the Pavement – What Do the Police Have to Say?

It depends on many things. There’s no blanket ban on parking on the pavement. But police may issue a fine if you cause an obstruction, or if you park on single or double lines.

Is it illegal to park in pavements in London?

In London, things are different. According to Rule 244 of the Highway Code: “You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments, and people with prams or pushchairs.”

This law is enforced under the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974. Parking on the pavement has been illegal in London for some time now.

What about outside of London?

Outside of London, the laws are a lot less clear and they seem to vary depending on the local council and the specific circumstances. In England and Wales, if local councils want to ban parking on a pavement, they can make a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).

But this does not ban all parking on pavements. Instead, the council has to display signs and markings to demonstrate where exactly pavement parking is prohibited. And where there are no signs or markings, you can safely assume that it’s fine to park.

Want to find out what the TRO situation’s like in your local area? You can contact your local councillor for more information using the government’s online directory.

What Sort of Fines Can I Get for Parking on the Pavement?

In London, where the law’s strict and universal about parking on pavements, parking where you shouldn’t can land you with a fixed penalty notice, which could be a fine of up to £1,000.

Outside of London, again it depends on the local council. The signs indicating the parking restrictions may provide more information about the sort of fine you can expect should you park in a restricted area.

Is a ban on pavement parking being reviewed?

Yes. There have indeed been some discussions in parliament regarding the whole parking on the pavement issue. Before long, the laws that apply to London could apply to the whole UK.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman MP recently commissioned a report on pavement parking, after which he gathered evidence on the effectiveness of current regulations. Evidently, he found them lacking:

“Councils already have the powers to ban drivers from parking on pavements and we are considering whether more can be done to make it easier for them to tackle problem areas. It is important to get this right for all pavement users.”

A spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA) said that enforcing stricter rules for pavement parking outside of London could create an additional revenue stream for local councils, which they could use to repair and maintain roads, kerbs and verges. So apart from creating fewer inconveniences for pedestrians, rolling out the London law to the rest of the UK could make roads better for everyone.

But AA president Edmund King is less enthused about the idea of making all pavement parking illegal. He thinks a total ban would be impractical: “There are some streets that are so narrow that if cars park on both sides it wouldn’t allow emergency vehicles or bin lorries to get through.

“We would be concerned if there was a blanket ban because it is clearly possible in some areas to park on the pavement while still allowing room for pushchairs or people in wheelchairs to pass.”

So Is It Illegal to Park on the Pavement?

In London, yes it is. Outside of London, it depends on the council and the local regulations. But that could change soon. We’ll be sure to update you as soon as the law changes.

One thing that will always be illegal, though? Driving without insurance. That’s one UK road law that we can safely say will never change.