Pavement parking – is it illegal and can ‘offenders’ be hit with a fine?

Whether it’s as a pedestrian who’s been forced onto the road or as a motorist who’s been left unable to pass, many of us have been on the wrong end of inconsiderate pavement parking – but is it illegal and could ‘offenders’ face a fine?

What’s the law surrounding pavement parking?

It’s only in London that the rules are clear with regard to pavement parking – the rest of the UK wallows in a grey area of uncertainty.

Rule 244 of the Highway Code states: “You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London” – clearly laying out the rules for motorists in the capital.

However, when it comes to pavement parking outside of London, Rule 244 of the Highway Code continues by telling us we: “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.’’

The main reason for confusion is the use of the term ‘should not’, indicating a more discretionary tone in areas outside the capital.

So, London aside, it’s not illegal to park on the pavement and those who choose to do so aren’t necessarily committing a punishable offence.

Is it illegal to drive on the pavement?

Confusingly, it’s been illegal to drive on the pavement since 1883, with rule 145 of the Highway Code stating: ‘You MUST NOT drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency.’

Although motorists clearly must drive on the pavement to park on it, it’s unlikely a fine would be enforced.


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What can you be fined for when parking on the pavement?

It’s unlikely that you’d be fined for pavement parking outside of London, unless signposted otherwise, but there are a few pavement parking related offences that could see you hit with a penalty.

You could be issued with a ticket for driving on a pavement if witnessed by the police – it is illegal to drive on the pavement, after all.

Parking across a drop kerb could also see you hit with a fine. The Highway Code, rule 243 states: “Except when forced to do so by stationary traffic, DO NOT stop or park: where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles, or where it would obstruct cyclists in front of an entrance to a property”.

You could also be given a fine of up to £1,000 for causing an obstruction.

How can I report pavement parking?

If you want to report pavement parking in your area, contact your local council – each council has a different way of collecting reports of pavement parking. They will use the information to aid long-term planning around parking on pavements.

Find your local council’s website here. 

However, if someone is causing a wilful obstruction, you can contact the police on the non-emergency number, 101.


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1 comment for “Pavement parking – is it illegal and can ‘offenders’ be hit with a fine?

  1. Watchmanager
    November 26, 2017 at 8:41 am

    The highway code has three phrases that clarify the situation.
    1. Should and should not! = advisory only.
    2. Do not! = Not mandatory but if you do a ‘do not’ you could be prosecuted if you caused an accident by doing so. i.e Do not park on the brow of a hill. Do not park on a bend etc.
    3. MUST not! = Illegal and more than likely you would be prosecuted. i.e. You must not stop or park alongside double white lines in the middle of the road even if one of the lines is broken!
    A typical place this gets ignored is on the approach to a level crossing.

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