A Driving Instructor's Blog

This article is from 2011, but it has had a run of hits lately.


At the time of the original article (2011) I had noticed on one of the forums that someone was saying they’d heard that from next year (2012) it will be an offence to park too far from the kerb (or next to dropped kerbs), and you’ll be fined depending on how far away you are.Parking ticket on windscreen

That person was a little behind the times. As long ago as 2009 some councils were enforcing parking distances (and this is just one such story from the same year, where 50cm is the maximum allowed distance). But even this feeds off a story on the BBC from early 2008, The new laws came into force on 31st March 2008!

As an aside, in that first link a clown of a councillor (Alistair Thompson, Conservative) says:

It is utterly ludicrous to expect our traffic wardens to go around measuring how close people are parked to the kerb.

What about people with wheelchairs or Zimmer frames that need a space to get out of the car?

Yes Alistair, old chap. Including those people. Just because you are infirm doesn’t mean you can go around behaving in a way which is likely to cause inconvenience, and possibly injury or death in the right circumstances, to others. Parking in the middle of the road is stupid, ignorant, and dangerous – whether you have a Zimmer frame or not. 

The Traffic Management Act (2004) (TMA) is a detailed document, but the version here contains all amendments which have not yet been approved.

The thing is, even under existing laws (and that includes those that were existing before 31st March 2008), it has pretty much always been an offence to park “inconsiderately”, with the police having tow-away powers in order to deal with it. I have always told my pupils that parking more than 18 inches (or 45 centimetres) away from the kerb is too far, and since I read the stories several years ago about councils enforcing it I have added “you could get a parking ticket” to my explanation.

Let’s face facts here: 50cm is half a metre. It isn’t a parking position in any shape or form – it’s in the middle of the road where most people would be driving, and it is extremely inconsiderate to leave your car there, not to mention dangerous. I’m not sure if the TMA specifically mentions 50cm, or if that’s a limit set by the councils when applying the TMA to inconsiderate parking. To be honest, I don’t care – though I’m sure plenty of people out there will.

Can you get a fine for parking too far from the kerb?

Yes.

How far is too far?

I don’t know the exact figure, though 50cm keeps cropping up. A story from a few years ago (which I cannot find) reported wardens out with tape measures making sure no one was more than 18 inches (45 cm) away. If you “park” anywhere near that far away from the kerb – which amounts to not even moving closer to it when you stop – you really do deserve a fine!

Why do people park so badly?

They do it because they are bad drivers who can’t control the car properly. I can’t imagine that anyone would park like that on purpose. Can you?

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