Parking Restrictions

Free Parking Guide – What restrictions are there

We understand that parking can be frustrating, especially in busy towns and cities and finding a free parking spot can also be fraught with tension. Understanding parking restrictions is important for all road users, but especially when looking for free parking.

Everyone is looking for that free parking spot to park their pride and joy, without worrying that they are going to end up with a parking ticket.

Finding a free parking spot is much easier than you might think, it’s all about knowing where to look. It’s to be expected that you will have to walk a reasonable distance to a place that offers free parking as most town and city parking is run by councils where hourly charges apply.

Is free parking legal?

Of course! As long as you abide by the road restrictions and be courteous to local residents. It’s important to understand what parking restrictions mean and how to spot a free parking area from a restricted zone.

Can you park on a single yellow line?

Single yellow lines might look off-putting, but they simply mean that there are parking restrictions, which are usually no parking between certain times of the day. Where there is a single yellow line painted on the road, there will be a parking restriction sign not far away. This will indicate whether you can park for free (outside of the restricted times) or not.

Single yellow line restrictions can vary widely from place to place, so it’s important to read the sign before parking up.

Can you park on double yellow lines?

Double yellow lines are a little more clear cut, meaning there is not stopping or waiting at any time. Double yellow lines are not likely to be accompanied by a parking restriction sign as it is universal across all towns and cities (except London where the lines may be Red).

Parking on Double Yellow

What do Red road lines mean?

These aren’t as common across the country, but can be found in some larger cities including London and Edinburgh. Single Red lines, similar to single Yellow lines, mean there are restrictions so you should look for a parking sign nearby. 

Double Red lines mean no stopping or unloading at any time, however Blue Badge holders can stop and set down passengers briefly, providing they are displaying a Blue Badge in full view.

What does Single White line parking mean?

Single White lines painted on the outside of the lane can mean two things; parking is legal or to signify that there is no pavement. If the White line is found on a residential street and there is a pavement, then parking there is legal and safe.

Can you park in White marked bays?

White marked parking bays, usually painted on residential roads, mean there are parking restrictions. These restrictions can usually be found on a nearby sign and restrictions are not universal, so always double check before leaving your car.

Parking waiting restrictions

Parking waiting restrictions are usually outlined on a nearby sign. The most common restriction is no parking between 8am and 6pm, meaning residents can park outside of their homes for free outside of these hours. This is usually to restrict commuters from parking near to town and city centres.

On-street parking restrictions

If you are utilising a free parking spot that is on-street, there are regulations as to how you can park your car. Whilst some of these are not legal requirements, they do make it safe for yourself as well as other road users.

  • You must not park against the flow of traffic
  • Fog Lights and headlights must be switched off when parked
  • The handbrake must be applied
  • Check before opening doors into traffic
  • Allow children to exit via the pavement

There are some legal parking restrictions that are outlined in the Highway Code that are important to know about so you can prevent a parking ticket. You must not park:

  • On a cycle track
  • In a taxi bay
  • On or near a pedestrian crossing (zig zag lines)
  • Red or double Yellow lines
  • An Urban Clearway during operational hours
  • A carriageway or hard shoulder

When parking in residential areas, you must not park:

  • At a bus stop
  • Near a school entrance
  • Where you obstruct emergency vehicles
  • Within 10 metres of a junction
  • On or near the brow of a hill
  • On a bend
  • Where you obstruct entrance to a property
  • On a lowered kerb (designed for wheelchair users)

Understanding these restrictions means you are safe in the knowledge that when you find a free parking spot, you aren’t likely to end up with a parking ticket.

Always check for any newly installed parking restriction signage before leaving your vehicle.