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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Illegally or Inconsiderately Parked?

Parked on 31st July 2014

Was the blue car, on the right, parked illegally or inconsiderately – or is it a combination of both these options - or neither? What do you think?

The vehicle has often been parked on this spot, which is within a staggered junction of three roads (one a thoroughfare and two residential cul-de-sacs). Its two nearside wheels are on the pavement and the two rear wheels on a traffic speed restriction hump. The location is in Lincolnshire.

The car was parked directly opposite the B of Burghley Square

Illegally parked?

Rule 244 of the Highway Code states:
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 (Law GL(GP)A sect 15)'.

In the Highway Code where it states 'MUST NOT' the instruction given is subject, covered by a Law, which is referred to in the parenthesis. Note that this relates only to the London area; it does not apply to on-street-parking in other counties within the United Kingdom.

The move towards Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) allows the responsibility for enforcing parking contraventions to be transferred from the police to local councils. The Road Traffic Act 1991 and Traffic Management Act 2004 authorised the option of councils to assume the responsibility and powers needed for parking enforcement within their areas. One of the aims of DPE, or CPE (Civil Parking Enforcement) as it's also referred to, was to change the majority of parking offences from a criminal offence – whereby a driver obtained a criminal record and points on a licence – to a civil matter dealt with by the issue of a financial penalty via a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) – no points and no criminal record.

Lincolnshire County Council assumed the powers of CPE in December 2012.

I wrote to the Parking Services department of the council asking for clarification of the policy, within Lincolnshire, with regards to vehicles being parked, with one or more wheels, on the pavement in areas that are not subject to regulations of yellow lines, parking bays etc.

I received the following reply:
'Unfortunately for any vehicle parked on the street where there are no parking restrictions, we would not be able to issue a penalty charge notice. Under the legislation set down by government, there is no contravention for cars (though there is for HGV's) parking on the pavement, outside of Greater London. Therefore any vehicle would be free to park in this area or on the pavement/verge next to the street. If there are vehicles in question that are wilfully causing obstruction to traffic or pedestrians this would be a police matter, as there is no contravention for obstruction under civil parking enforcement.'

Parked on 3rd August 2014

This couldn't be clearer: the parking of a vehicle with its wheels on the pavement in areas not subject to parking restriction regulations is not in it self an illegal act.

But, is that the end of the matter – perhaps not.

Three of the points within Rule 243 of the Highway Code state:
DO NOT stop or park;
  • opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space
  • opposite a traffic island or (if this would cause an obstruction) another parked vehicle
  • where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles'.

These points are not covered by an Act of Law and therefore are not in themselves illegal.

However, Rule 242 of the Highway code states:
'You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road (Laws RTA 1988, sect 22 & CUR reg 103)

Is it not feasible that failing to observe the recommendations of Rule 243 could result in a contravention within Rule 242. Within the letter from the LCC is the comment:'If there are vehicles in question that are wilfully causing obstruction to traffic or pedestrians this would be a police matter'.

The car was parked 'opposite …. of a junction' which is to the right; and 'within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction' which is to the rear of the car. So, could this mean that parking it at that location was an illegal act, irrespective of the position of the wheels on the highway or the pavement?

Inconsiderately Parked?

An inconsiderate action can be defined as one that is thoughtless, heedless in consideration for others.

Was the driver of the blue car mindful as to any difficulty caused to drivers of vehicles exiting the residential square, to the south of the main road, because of the limitation of a reduced turning circle. Was any sympathy considered to the problems of reduce sight of oncoming traffic from the left (east) for traffic leaving the residential road to the north? Did the position of the parked car cause an increase in the potential danger to other road users, travelling on the thoroughfare, of vehicles exiting either of the two minor roads within the junction?

Was the driver considerate of the possible inconvenience or danger to pedestrians (with or without pushchair), wheel chair users or powered mobility vehicle users because of the restricted access to the pavement, or the drop-down-kerb incorporated in the traffic-hump?

Did the driver need to consider any consequences that his parking might have on other people?


The Lincolnshire County Council has stated that the parking of the vehicle on the pavement does not contravene any county regulations. Could the Lincolnshire Police consider an illegal act has occurred in accordance with Rule 242 of the Highway Code if they deem the vehicle to have been parked 'in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road'.

The question of whether the driver has acted in an inconsiderate manner is not in either of the authorities remit of responsibility. Who cares? Is it only in the thoughts of other road and pavement users for a brief moment as they pass the parked car?

What do you think of the driver's action? Should there be some sort of redress against drivers who park anywhere they want? Did the driver do anything wrong?

© Elliot Sampford 2014

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