Is it illegal to park on the pavement?

Pavement parking rules have already changed across the UK, and more changes could be coming…

Can I or can’t I park on pavements? Well, it’s a grey area in the UK, and it’s not exactly crystal clear what the rules are.

However, we want to get to the bottom of it. Read on and find out more about pavement parking restrictions in the UK and, more specifically, what the rules are in your area.

Is it illegal to park on the pavement?

Grey car parked on the pavement.

Largely across the UK, no it’s not illegal to park your vehicle on pavements. However, whether or not you can legally park on a pavement truly depends on where you’re located, because different cities and countries have different laws.

For instance, in the UK, there are different rules across Scotland, Wales and England, whilst London also has its own pavement parking rules.

What we can say for sure is that although the UK have yet to implement a strict pavement parking ban, if the police or a local authority were to catch you parking on a pavement dangerously or disrespectfully, you could risk being issued a ticket or being fined.

Is it illegal to park on the pavement in England?

In England, parking on the pavement isn’t illegal unless you’re in London. Outside of London and across England, you’re not committing an offence if you park on pavements.

However, you could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (also known as a parking ticket) if you are caught parking in areas where parking restrictions apply. You could also face a fine if you’re caught parking dangerously or in a way that could block access.

For drivers in England, it’s important that they look out for any signs that restrict parking, such as Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) for permit holders, and avoid parking on yellow and red lines. English local councils have also been given free reign to implement pavement parking restrictions where they deem necessary, so it’s important that you’re aware of that before parking in England too.

When did the pavement parking ban start in London?

Pavement parking become prohibited in London in 1974.

The reason this legislation doesn’t apply to the rest of England is because doubts were raised in the House of Commons over how residents living on narrow streets would struggle to park if there was no on street parking available, along with not being able to park on pavements too.

Cars parked along both sides of street in London.

Is it illegal to park on the pavement in Scotland?

Yes, it is currently illegal to park on the pavement in Scotland. In fact, in December 2023, Scotland became the first country in the UK to make pavement parking illegal.

The Scottish Government have made it clear that if anyone is caught parking on a pavement in the country, they could risk face a fine of £100 (could be reduced to £50 if it’s paid within 14 days).

The Scottish Minister for Transport Fiona Hyslop stated:

“The message is clear: pavement parking is unsafe, unfair and illegal, and you could be fined up to £100 for it.”

“We’re highlighting the danger that illegal pavement parking poses to pavement users, and in particular those with mobility issues or visual impairments, or parents pushing prams and buggies.”

Is it illegal to park on the pavement in Wales?

According to the Highway Code, it’s not illegal to park on pavements in Wales, unless there is signage put in place that indicates otherwise.

It’s thought that Wales may follow in Scotland’s footsteps when it comes to making pavement parking illegal, especially since a scheme was rolled in Cardiff in 2021 that stated that anyone caught parking on pavements in the capital could face a £70 fixed penalty notice.

Local authorities have also been armed to tackle the issue of pavement parking too in recent times. Deputy Transport Minister Lee Waters MS clarified the situation perfectly:

“There is no specific offence of parking on pavements, and though the Police can enforce the existing criminal offence of causing ‘unnecessary obstruction of any part of the highway’, it is rarely enforced.”

“The Welsh Pavement Parking Taskforce rejected the outright ban being pursued in Scotland, which is set to take five years to implement, as overly slow and complex. Instead, it has set out a plan to equip local authorities.”

No pavement parking legislation has been pushed through though yet in Wales.

However, there are circumstances involving a vehicle where the police could get involved, such as:

  • The vehicle is blocking a road
  • The vehicle is driven on the pavement (not parking)
  • The vehicle is left in a dangerous position

If your vehicle is deemed by the Welsh police to be causing any of these offences, you could risk being fined up to £130.

Is it illegal to park partially on the pavement?

It depends on where you’re parking, but if we’re speaking generally and going by the words of the Highway Code then, no, it’s not strictly illegal to park partially on a pavement.

Rule 244 of the Highway Code states that drivers:

“MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.”

The key phrases to take from this ruling are “must not” and “should not”. The latter implies that outside of London you should choose to not park on pavements, even partially, although it’s not technically illegal to do so.

We would advise that you follow Rule 242:

“You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road.”

If you follow this rule and avoid causing obstructions on road, then you should be able to partially park on pavements (outside of Scotland and London) without being fined – but it’s never a guarantee.

Where would parking your vehicle cause an obstruction?

It might seem it, but it’s not always obvious exactly where you can or cannot park without causing an obstruction.

Thankfully, the Highway Code has a list of places you MUST NOT stop or park on in the UK. These parking restrictions are stated under Rule 240 of the Highway Code:

  • The carriageway, an emergency area or a hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency.
  • A pedestrian crossing, including the area marked by the zig-zag lines.
  • A clearway.
  • Taxi bays as indicated by upright signs and markings.
  • An Urban Clearway within its hours of operation, except to pick up or set down passengers
  • 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. These are also known as controlled parking zones.
  • A tram or cycle lane during its period of operation.
  • Cycle tracks.
  • Red lines, in the case of specially designated ‘red routes’, unless otherwise indicated by signs.

Another way of navigating the rule is to simply just use your common sense. It sounds blunt, but as long as you show an awareness of what’s around you, park respectfully and avoid obstructing anyone or anything, you’re likely not breaking any rules.

How to stop cars parking on pavements

There are ways that you can help prevent pavement parking near you, and that’s by raising awareness and championing related bills on the matter.

For instance, the Devon County Council have advised that you write to your local council and MP and ask them to get behind the Pavement Parking Bill to ban parking on pavements.

This is to support the RNIB, the Royal Institute of Blind People. They say:

“Drivers often mistakenly think they are doing the right thing by keeping the road clear, but fail to realise the consequences of their vehicle now blocking the footpath. The impact is that people with sight loss cannot see the obstruction until it is too late, colliding with the parked vehicle. As a driver, you can help by simply avoiding parking on the pavement where possible.”

You can also raise awareness on this matter through local newsletters or via your own social media platform. You could even work with your neighbours and the local council to establish where the safer parking spots are, which can act as alternatives to pavements.

When may you drive over a pavement?

white car driving over pavement

So now you know when you absolutely cannot drive over or park on a pavement, the question now is: when can I?

Well, the Highway Code states under Rule 145 that:

“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.

So, there you have it – the only way you can lawfully drive on a pavement is to gain access to a property. Otherwise, you’re not allowed.

Will the rules ever change?

It’s not clear which way the rules around pavement parking will go, and as it stands in the UK it’s only illegal to park on the pavement in London and Scotland.

There’s believed to be widespread support in favour of changes to current legislation and tackling the pavement parking issue, but, nothing has gotten through Parliament just yet. The Department of Transport (DfT) has also announced that they’re considering changing pavement parking rules in UK, proposing a £70 fine for anyone that doesn’t comply.

The most recent movement we’ve seen on this topic came from the Transport Committee who recently launched an inquiry into pavement parking. They recommended to the government that they prohibit pavement parking in the UK and also allow local authorities to enforce civil parking enforcement powers. They believe it is up to council civil enforcement officers and local authorities to tackle pavement parking issues and enforce laws in their jurisdiction.

This inquiry was discussed in Parliament towards the end of 2023, but who knows how long it’ll be before pavement parking rules are changed across the UK.


So, to conclude, is it illegal to park on the pavement in the UK? The answer is No it’s not illegal. unless you’re in Scotland or London where pavement parking is currently prohibited.

Otherwise, across the UK you are technically allowed to park on pavements without breaking the law. It’s important that you check with local councils and local authorities on their respective websites about their own parking rules before you park on pavements though, to ensure you don’t run the risk of being unexpectedly fined.

As well as that, if possible, we wouldn’t recommend that you park on the pavement either. The dangers it can bring to blind people, wheelchairs users and general members of the public is unwanted, and that’s clear to see with the recent inquiries and pushes made by organisations to make pavement parking illegal.

What’s more, parking on the pavement, or a grass verge, or a speed bump, can be obstructive, limiting access to driveways or making narrow streets even harder to navigate for other drivers.

All in all, when it comes to parking on pavements we’d suggest that you exercise common sense: if it looks obstructive and could grab the attention of the police, it’s probably best you find somewhere else to park!

Pavement Parking FAQs

Is it illegal to park a motorcycle on the pavement?

Technically, in the UK, there’re no laws in place that state that you cannot park a motorcycle on the pavement – unless you’re in London.

However, despite there being no parking restrictions for motorcyclists, we would still recommend that you avoid parking on pavements when possible. Obstructive pavement parking could endanger wheelchair users or pedestrians, which could force the police to take action and issue a pavement parking fine.

Can you park on grass verges?

The topic of parking on grass verges is grey area, with some sources saying it’s illegal whilst others say it’s okay to do so.

On the whole though, we’d suggest that you do not park on grass verges. Parking on grass verges could potentially not only endanger pedestrians or obstruct traffic flow, but it could also have a detrimental impact on the environment, damaging the grass, soil and flowers growing on them.

Again, you should avoid parking anywhere that could be obstructive, and the same applies for any grass verges that block entrances or driveways.

Can I park on a speed bump?

Car parked on a speed bump.

There are no laws in the UK that state that you’re not allowed to park on speed bumps, but it’s not recommended.

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with parking on a speed bump ordinarily, you shouldn’t park on speed bumps that are in restricted areas, narrow streets, or are blocking driveways. Parking on such speed bumps could put you at risk of receiving a fine.

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