Yellow Lines and Parking: What are the Rules? (2024)

You’ll see yellow lines on roads all around the country, but what do they actually mean and when can you park on them?

In this guide, we’ll explain the differences between single yellow lines and double yellow lines. We’ll look at the restrictions that they impose, the times at which they apply, and how they’re enforced. We’ll also take a look at other road markings you might encounter, such as yellow zigzag lines, along with the exemptions that exist for blue badge holders.

Read on for our ultimate guide to parking.

Yellow Lines and Parking: What are the Rules? (1)

Can you park on a single yellow line?

Single yellow lines mean that restrictions apply to parking and waiting at certain times or on specific days of the week. However, there is no set rule, so it’s always important to check.

You should find signs (known as time plates) that explain when the restrictions apply. Unless it specifically says otherwise, these limitations are enforced throughout the year, with no exemptions for bank holidays or special occasions.

In some cases, no parking is permitted at all during the controlled hours given on these signs. Other areas will allow you to park for a short amount of time, such as 20 minutes, during the restricted period, although this will generally come with a limit on how soon you can return to the same zone. This means that the traffic wardens will be wise to it if you drive around the block and come back five minutes later.

The Highway Code defines single yellow lines as waiting restrictions. That means the same basic rules apply irrespective of whether you wait inside the car or park up and walk off. However, you are still allowed to stop in these zones if you are loading or unloading. Similarly, you can stop briefly to drop off or pick up passengers.

It's worth bearing in mind that yellow lines are sometimes used in conjunction with loading restrictions. These are indicated by yellow marks across the kerb or the edge of the road. Two kerb markings mean that loading is prohibited at all times, while a single yellow mark means that you are allowed to stop and load outside of certain hours, given on the accompanying signage.

Single yellow lines are most common in urban areas or on very narrow roads where stationary cars could cause an obstruction. They’re not used on clearways, such as motorways and most dual carriageways, where all forms of stopping are prohibited (except for marked areas such as laybys and the hard shoulder).

Single yellow line parking in London

As with the rest of the country, single yellow lines in London mean that there is a restriction on parking or waiting that applies at certain times. However, in addition to any local restrictions given on signposts, the wider area may be covered by a controlled parking zone (CPZ).

Unless otherwise indicated, the yellow line restrictions will apply for the same times as the CPZ itself. These times are given on an entry sign when you enter the zone, but they can cover entire boroughs, so it can be tricky to keep track of whether you’re still in a controlled area. One of the best ways to do this is to download an app or look for a map online that details the restrictions in your area.

Yellow Lines and Parking: What are the Rules? (2)

Can you park on a double yellow line?

Double yellow lines along the side of the road mean that no parking or waiting is allowed at any time.

Very occasionally, you may encounter a road where there are seasonal exceptions to this – potentially around tourist attractions or sports venues that are more likely to be busy at a particular time of year. But unless explicitly stated on a sign, parking is banned in these areas at all times, including Sundays and bank holidays.

Double yellow lines are generally placed on roads where parking could be hazardous or inconvenient to others at all times. This typically includes areas leading up to junctions, busy roads where parking could be obstructive or cul de sacs where vehicles may need space to turn around. They apply not just to the road itself, but also to the pavement or verge alongside it.

As with single yellow lines, it’s okay to stop briefly to load or unload people or goods, providing there are no additional loading restrictions in place. There are also exemptions for blue badge holders, as outlined below.

Yellow Lines and Parking: What are the Rules? (3)

Who enforces parking on yellow lines?

Civil enforcement officers generally handle all aspects of parking enforcement, including penalties resulting from parking on yellow lines or in restricted zones. They work for the local council with powers issued by the Secretary of State.

Police officers can also issue penalties for parking. In some areas, the police enforce all parking matters. Generally, though, they leave parking enforcement to the local authorities, unless it relates directly to road safety or security.

Yellow Lines and Parking: What are the Rules? (4)

Fines for parking on yellow lines

There are two main types of parking fines that relate to public roads in the UK: Penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued by civil enforcement officers who work for the local council and fixed penalty notices (FPNs) given by the police or by traffic officers who work on their behalf. There’s also a third type, the parking charge notice (also PCN), but this applies to private land, such as pay-and-display car parks.

The fines for parking on yellow lines are set by local authorities, and they vary across the UK. They tend to be the same amount, regardless of whether you park on single or double yellow lines, although these are both typically higher than for other parking offences, such as exceeding your time in a pay-and-display space.

Not surprisingly, London is the capital of the UK’s parking fines. The London boroughs are divided into two bands, A and B. Penalty charges for parking on yellow lines are generally £130 for Band A and £110 for Band B. However, these are reduced by 50 per cent to £65 and £55 if they’re paid within 28 days.

Elsewhere, the fine is generally £70, although this does depend on the local council. In Northern Ireland, for instance, the standard fine is £90. In both cases, these are reduced by 50 per cent for quick payment.

Typically, the fines issued for parking on yellow lines will not come with points on your licence. However, the fixed penalty notices issued by the police can come with points under certain circ*mstances – for instance, if the vehicle is deemed to have been parked in a dangerous position.

While parking tickets can be annoying, a more serious risk is that of getting your car clamped or towed. The police and the council have the right to do either, although towing is far more likely in situations where the vehicle could be causing an obstruction. This includes cars that have broken down. It’s also worth noting that enforcement officers are more likely to clamp or tow cars that have a history of repeated parking violations.

If your car is clamped or towed, you will need to pay a release fee on top of the parking penalty. This varies according to the authority that has seized the car, and failure to pay within a set period may even result in the vehicle being crushed.

Yellow Lines and Parking: What are the Rules? (5)

What do yellow zigzag lines mean?

Yellow zigzag lines mean that you cannot park or wait on that side of the road, even to pick up passengers. They are most commonly found outside schools, where they were originally introduced to give children a clear view when crossing the road. These days, their use has been extended to other locations, such as outside fire stations and hospitals, where emergency vehicles need clear access.

The zigzag markings can be used in conjunction with additional parking restrictions (including single yellow lines). Often, the zigzag lines only apply at the times given on an accompanying sign. If there’s no signage, the restrictions apply permanently.

Can motorists with disabilities park on yellow lines?

Blue badge holders can generally park for up to three hours on single or double yellow lines.

Your blue badge must be clearly and correctly displayed (it’s not unknown for drivers to get a ticket if their badge is placed upside down) and it must be used with an accompanying paper clock to show when you arrived. Needless to say, you cannot lend your blue badge to someone else for their own individual use, but it can be used if you’re a passenger in their vehicle at the time. More details on obtaining and using a blue badge can be found on the Blue Badge page of the website.

There are some exceptions to consider too. Loading restrictions (given by yellow marks across the kerb) generally still apply to blue badge holders, although some local councils do not enforce these.

You can still be fined – or even have your vehicle removed – if it is parked somewhere dangerous or obstructive. Examples of this include narrow stretches of road, school entrances and the last 10 metres (32 feet) leading up to a junction.

Some local councils have their own parking schemes – notably those used in many of the London boroughs. Here, the rules can be different. In particular, some prevent disabled drivers from parking on double yellow lines at any time. As always, it’s important to check the local regulations for the area in which you wish to park.

Related Topics

  • What to Look for in a City Car
  • Best City Cars
  • ULEZ Explained
Yellow Lines and Parking: What are the Rules? (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Last Updated:

Views: 6120

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Birthday: 1993-03-26

Address: 917 Hyun Views, Rogahnmouth, KY 91013-8827

Phone: +5938540192553

Job: Administration Developer

Hobby: Embroidery, Horseback riding, Juggling, Urban exploration, Skiing, Cycling, Handball

Introduction: My name is Fr. Dewey Fisher, I am a powerful, open, faithful, combative, spotless, faithful, fair person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.