By Jane Woodhams
Last updated on: November 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm
Parking seems pretty straight forward, but there are a surprising number of laws that govern where and when you can leave your car. We look at 11 places you can’t park to help you become a parking pro.
At bus stops
While it’s no surprise that bus stops are reserved for – as the name suggests – buses, you may not realise the law specifically says how much of a gap is needed when parking nearby. Legally, you can’t park within 20m on the approach side, or 10m on the departure side of a bus stop. In busier areas, there could be signage marking an area out as a bus zone, which may require a different distance, so always check for signs.
FINE: $93, or $127 in a bus zone
In bike and bus lanes
While most drivers know we can’t drive in a bike or a bus lane, how about parking? It’s pretty straight forward: you can’t park in a bus or bike lane during the times they’re signed for use. It’s not just parking that’s illegal. Stopping of any kind, including to drop off or pick up passengers, is against the law too.
FINE: $263 (bike lane) or $261 (bus lane)
Near a solid white centre line
Before you squeezed into your parallel parking spot, you probably checked you weren’t parking next to any yellow lines. But, it’s not just the amber kind you need to look out for – be aware of white lines too. There needs to be a 3m gap between the side of your car and any solid white line in the middle of the road (see picture below).
Too close to cars
So you’ve finally managed to manoeuvre your car into a tight parallel park and you’re ultra-pleased with yourself because you’ve squeezed your way into what most would deem an impossible space – leaving mere millimetres between you and the cars in front and behind. Success! Well, actually, that’s not the case. If parking bays aren’t marked, you must leave at least 1m between you and the other cars.
On a nature strip
How many times have you driven past a car that’s at least half parked on a nature strip, with two wheels straddling the kerb? It might be a convenient spot to park – especially if proper spaces are in short supply or the road is narrow – but it’s actually not allowed. The Australian Road Rules specifically say you can’t park on a nature verge, footpath, shared path or dividing strip, unless there’s a sign saying otherwise.
On the wrong side of the road
Just like you can’t drive on the wrong side of the road, you can’t park there either. So when parallel parking on a road, you must be facing the same direction as moving traffic. That means if it’s a two-lane road, you need to park as near as practical to the left side. If it’s a one-way street, you can park on either side. So the black car in the picture below is breaking the law, as it’s facing the wrong direction.
Across a footpath or driveway
While we can all agree that parking across a footpath or driveway is a no-no, there’s always been some debate around the distance you must leave when parking near them. Common lore suggests you should park 1m away, but there’s actually no set distance you must leave between your car and the footpath or driveway. Essentially, as long as you’re not blocking another driver from entering or exiting, you’re okay.
FINE: $77 (for blocking a driveway)
Anywhere on the road if your vehicle’s too long
If your vehicle is more than 7.5m long in total (say if you’re towing a trailer or caravan), then you can’t park on the road in a built-up area for more than one hour.
Too close to an intersection
Parking near an intersection is dangerous for cars coming around the bend, and for passengers getting in and out. It’s illegal to park within 10m of an intersection that doesn’t have traffic lights. If there are lights, up that distance to 20m. When it comes to parking near a T-intersection, the same rules apply, except cars on the continuing road – i.e. on the top part of the ‘T’ – are allowed to park along that road (see picture below).
FINE: $93 if the intersection has traffic lights, or $95 if it doesn’t.
Over two parking spaces
Those people who annoyingly park over two spaces when you’re desperately trying to find a spot are not just infuriating, they’re breaking the law, which says you must park completely within a single bay. Exceptions do apply if your vehicle is too long or wide to fit into that one bay – if you’ve got a trailer attached, for example.
On the bend of a country road
Before pulling over or parking on a country road – or any road outside of a built-up area – make sure your car can be seen for at least 100m by drivers travelling in the same direction.