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The Different Types of Parking Bays

The Different Types of Parking Bays

If you’ve ever felt confused when it comes to parking bays or just parking in general here in the UK, then this article is for you. We’re going to be covering the different types of parking bays that you might see and what the different line markings and signals mean.

Off-street parking bays

Off-street parking bays can be understood as car parks or specific areas where you can leave your car for a period of time. For the majority of public areas, the UK uses a 2.4m by 4.8m space which usually allows plenty of space to manoeuvre. It’s worth noting that cars on the road have got larger in the past couple of decades, meaning that if you drive a large 4×4, you may struggle to park more than someone who drives a hatchback.

Off-street parking bays are usually marked out with solid lines, and can also sometimes be angled to give drivers easier access to the bay.

On-street parking bays

On-street parking bays aren’t always marked out, so unless you can see any yellow or red lines that provide further instruction about when or how you should park, you can assume you’re safe to leave your car there. If the space has been marked out, it’s usually done with broken white lines.

If you’re not completely sure about how red and yellow lines work, here’s a refresher:

  • Single yellow lines mean that you are allowed to park, wait and unload goods in this area, but only at very specific times. These times should be displayed on a nearby sign, so keep a lookout.
  • Double yellow lines mean that parking, waiting and unloading is strictly prohibited at all times.
  • Double red lines are currently only used in London, West Midlands and Edinburgh. They also mean that no parking, waiting or unloading is allowed, except for medical services and taxis.

Keep clear markings

In certain car parks, particularly school car parks, you will often see markings that read “keep clear” between bays. This is usually an entrance or an exit, so make sure you don’t park in these areas or leave too much of your vehicle exposed in an adjacent bay.

Special types of parking bay

In some bays, you will see certain symbols or words that indicate that the space in question is meant for a particular group of people or, in some cases, just one person. For example, the symbol of a person in a wheelchair indicates that the bay is for disabled people only and, unless you have a badge, you are not allowed to park there.

Here is a list of some of words you might see in special parking bays:

  • DOCTOR
  • BUSES
  • ELECTRIC VEHICLES
  • LOADING
  • LARGE VEHICLES ONLY
  • PERMIT HOLDERS
  • MOTORCYCLES

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