Road Markings and Signage - Yellow Lines

A General Guide


It is a common misconception that drivers have a legal right to park on the public highway. Many householders also mistakenly believe that the length of highway outside their home is for their personal use. In fact, the basic rule is that the only right the public have with respect to the highway is to travel along it. Theoretically, any vehicle parked on the highway, other than in a designated parking place could be considered to be causing an obstruction and interfering with the right of other highway users.

However, it was recognised many years ago that, with a growing number of privately owned vehicles on the roads, a more positive form of control over parking behaviour was required. Legislation followed to allow local highway authorities to identify lengths of road in which waiting was restricted.

Types of Waiting Restriction

Currently, the most commonly used waiting restrictions in Bath & North East Somerset include:

  • Double Yellow Lines - used where waiting is prohibited 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Single Yellow Lines - used where waiting is prohibited for less than the full 24-hour day. These can be used in association with white bay markings where waiting is prohibited for short periods such as peak hours. The times of the restrictions will be displayed on accompanying signage. 
  • White Bay Markings indicate that waiting is permitted for a limited period. These may be charged for (such as pay-and-display).
  • Yellow Kerb Markings (blips) indicate loading / unloading bans - double blips mean no loading 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, single blips for any lesser period.
  • Residents Parking - normally only available to permit holders during working hours. For more details see Parking.

Drivers should always look at the signs accompanying the road markings to see the precise details of the restrictions in force and the times of operation.

Clearways impose restrictions on waiting and sometimes stopping. Signing alone and no road markings indicate these restrictions. They are used primarily on major traffic routes.

Why are Waiting Restrictions Needed?

Waiting restrictions are required primarily for safety and to prevent obstruction. Other reasons include:

  • Protecting visibility at junctions and some pedestrian crossing places;
  • Ensuring the turn-over of waiting areas with a high demand (such as shopping areas);
  • To maintain access for servicing and emergencies;
  • To manage commuter parking.

All waiting restrictions require a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).

The TRO process requires significant engineering time, and legal and financial resources. Therefore, it is usually not cost effective to implement restrictions in individual locations, but is more cost effective to deal with schemes on an area-wide basis. Where there is a need to protect entrances etc, it may be possible to install white Keep Clear markings, which are advisory only.

Waiting restriction schemes usually attract objections during the statutory consultation process, particularly in residential and retail areas, where parking interests sometimes conflict. The Council has the difficult task of balancing the conflicting demands for parking space against the requirements of road safety and access.

This information has been reproduced by kind permission of Bristol City Council

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