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How changes in the Highway Code caused the pavement parking confusion
Parking on a pavement is illegal, but recently an idea has gained ground that pavement parking is legal outside London. It is the changes in the Highway Code over the last few editions that are responsible for the confusion - which has led to misery for thousands and the deaths of two children.

The 1983 and 2004 versions of the Highway Code were clear and unambiguous that drivers must not park on pavements - see below. The latest (2007) version introduced inconsistency and doubt for no good reason - the general law did not change.

The law remains that it is offence to drive on to a pavement and an offence to obstruct pedestrians - see https://wacm.org.uk/96.html. In London, a law prohibits being parked on a pavement, in addition to the national laws banning driving on a pavement and obstructing the highway, but this does not mean that pavement parking by driving on to a pavement is legal elsewhere.

The words "should not" appeared in the 2007 version (instead of "DO NOT") and this has been used by some as a basis for saying that pavement parking is legal outside London - which has contributed to a great increase in pavement parking, much danger and distress for vulnerable people and the deaths of two children (https://wacm.org.uk/87.html).

The 2007 wording should be changed back to the 2004 version, without delay, before more deaths are caused.

Excerpts from the last three versions of the Highway code


1983: The Highway Code:
140. Think before you park. DO NOT park your vehicle where it would endanger or inconvenience pedestrians or other road users, for example:
  • on a footpath, pavement or cycle track;
  • ...

2004: The Highway Code: Revised 2004:
218. DO NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs, the visually impaired and people with prams or pushchairs.

2007: The Offical Highway Code: Revised 2007 Edition [Latest version]
145. 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.
Laws HA 1835 sect 72 & RTA 1988 sect 34

244. You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.
Law GL(GP)A sect 15








Last updated: 27 Sep 2018