Parking on double white lines

Date published: 09 August 2021 10:58

Why can't I park on double white lines?

Rule 240 of the Highway Code prohibits the stopping or parking of a vehicle (or trailer) under a number of specified circumstances, which include:

  • a road marked with double white lines, even when a broken white line is on your side of the road, except to pick up or set down passengers, or to load or unload goods.

This rule is intended to promote road safety.  The double white line system is painted with the purpose of warning drivers of the presence of a hazard.  Parking adjacent to these lines presents another hazard by:

  • forcing a pedestrian to walk in the road;
  • causing a car driver/passenger to exit their vehicle so to enter the road;
  • causing a vehicle using that road to straddle/cross the solid white line and bringing them in to conflict with opposing traffic.
  • causing vehicles to overtake pedestrians/horse riders/cyclists too close in an attempt to avoid crossing/straddling the solid white lines.

You can read more by visiting the Highway Code

What is a double white line?

Double white lines are used to inform drivers of a hazard.

They can appear in a number of ways:

  • where the line nearest to you is broken;
  • where the line nearest to you is solid; and,
  • where both lines are solid.

Double white lines where the nearest line is broken

Rule 128 of the Highway Code says you may cross the lines to overtake if it is safe and if you can complete the manoeuvre before reaching a solid white line on your side.

Double white lines where the nearest line is solid

Rule 129 of the Highway Code says you must not cross or straddle these lines unless it is safe and you need to do so in order to enter adjoining premises or a side road.

“You may cross the line if necessary, provided the road is clear, to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less.”  (Note however the section below “Am I allowed to cross a double solid white line?”)

Double white lines where both are solid

As per rule 129.  These are used to prohibit drivers from travelling in an area of the road used by the opposing flow of traffic, generally because overtaking visibility is restricted and would be dangerous.

Is Rule 240 of the Highway Code enforceable?

Section 22 Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence for the person in charge to leave a vehicle or trailer on a road in such a position or condition as to cause a danger to other road users.

What powers do the police have and what penalties can I face?

Police officers and Police Community Support Officers may issue Traffic Offence Reports which may result in the person who parked the vehicle being issued a fine plus penalty points on their licence, or may result in the driver being summoned to court.

What action are police taking?

Parking on double white lines is dangerous.

Action will, and is, being taken in locations where there are repeated issues.

What about parking on a footpath or verge?

The offence is still committed.  This is owing to the definition of what a road is, as determined by both legislation (section 192 Road Traffic Act 1988) and case law (Bryant v Marx [1932]; McNeil v Dunbar [1965]; Worth v Brooks [1959]).

In summary these detail that a footpath and a grass verge are part of a road.

A road generally stretches between boundary fences or grass verges along its sides and this includes any pavements (Bryant v Marx [1932] 96 JP 383) and grass verges (Worth v Brooks [1959] Crim LR 855).

Even if the grass verge is behind a safety barrier it is a road, if it is maintained by the highway authority as part of the public highway the reason for the crash barrier is for safety reasons and not to limit the road, (Alun Griffith (Contractors) Ltd v Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency [2009] EWHC 3132 (Admin), [2010] RTR 7).

Am I allowed to cross a double solid white line?

You can cross double white lines – but only if the following four tests are met:

  1. Is it safe?
  • If you cannot see around a corner or over the brow of a hill or into a dip in the road you must not overtake.
  1. Is it necessary?
  • Could you wait for a short while and then cross when there is no double white line? This may be nothing more than a few seconds away.
  1. Is the road clear?
  • Can you visually ascertain that it is clear? You should not try and pass if there is oncoming traffic.
  1. Is the vehicle you wish to overtake stationary or a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle? If it is, is the speed less than 10mph?
  • You may not overtake one of these vehicles if they are travelling faster than 10 miles per hour.

Crossing a double white line is an endorsable offence with a fine of £100 and three penalty points.

Keeping to your side of the road and passing the cyclist or horse without leaving sufficient space (1.5 meters at 30 miles an hour and under, 2 meters or more over that speed) is likely to be careless driving (see rules 162 and 163) which is an endorsable offence with a fine of £100 and three penalty points.