Parking and Stopping: What are the rules?

Picking up and dropping off passengers is business as usual for taxi drivers. But are you aware of what the road rules say about where to stop or park? In fact, what’s the difference between stopping and parking?


Picking up and dropping off passengers is business as usual for taxi drivers. But are you aware of what the road rules say about where to stop or park? In fact, what’s the different between stopping and parking? Dave Jones from RACV gives us the low down.

The difference between stopping and parking is easily misunderstood.  Stopping is stopping the vehicle for any reason other than to reverse into a parking space. Parking is stopping and allowing your vehicle to stay, whether or not you leave the vehicle.

If a sign says you can’t stop then that means you can’t park either.

Recently the Mornington Peninsula Leader newspaper drew attention to a little known road rule that drivers cannot stop (or park) where there is a continuous yellow line marked on the edge of a road.  They are usually where there is a safety issue –for example the road is too narrow if a car is stopped, or near a pedestrian crossing where a stopped car makes it hard for someone to see whether it is safe to cross the road. The yellow line is not used by all Councils within Victoria, but it is within the State’s road rules and is therefore enforceable by Council parking officers and Victoria Police (Road Rule 169). If you are seen stopping on a yellow line you can be fined.

It is not illegal to park on a road against the kerb, when opposite a driveway. However you must not obstruct access for vehicles or pedestrians to the driveway, a footpath or ramp or bicycle path. There are some exceptions to obstructing access to the driveway including public buses that are dropping off or picking up passengers or if the driver stops in a parking bay that they are permitted to park in (Road Rule 198).

On the same side of the road, a driver must not stop on or across a driveway unless the driver is dropping off or picking up passengers, the driver does not leave the vehicle unattended and they drive on as soon as possible within two minutes. A vehicle is unattended if the driver is more than three metres from it (Road Rule 198). This is clearly useful to taxi drivers.

An exception is that if the driver stops in a parking bay that they are permitted to park in, and the parking bay is across the driveway, footpath or bicycle path.

While there are no road rules directing how one can park on private property, the Victorian Road Rules specifically prohibit stopping on a footpath, bicycle path, shared path or nature strip. This affects taxi drivers who choose to stop so they block the footpath. Exceptions are provided for motorcycles (under certain conditions), or if a parking control sign allows it, and for speed camera operators.

Some people think their driveway extends from their garage or carport to the roadway. However, you are only allowed to park on the part of the driveway within the private property (Road Rule 198).  

The key thing to remember is that paths are there for a reason, and no part of your vehicle should be parked over it. While some pedestrians may be able to squeeze past in the remaining space, people with prams, children on bicycles, people using wheelchairs and the vision impaired will need the full width of unimpeded footpath to get by safely.

Some people think it is illegal to reverse out of a driveway. It is not illegal to reverse out of a driveway, but a driver must not drive a vehicle in reverse unless the driver can do so safely, and must not reverse a vehicle further than is reasonable in the circumstances. 

When a driver wants to enter a road from a driveway, or vice versa, the driver is required to give way to any vehicles already travelling on the road, as well as any pedestrians or bicycle riders on the footpath that the driver must cross.  Remember that bicycle riders may be travelling faster than a pedestrian.

Drivers may use their horn to warn others they are reversing out of the drive, however this may be annoying for close neighbours. The driver must still give way – the use of their horn does not give them a right to drive unsafely.

It doesn’t matter whether that driveway is private or used for commercial purposes, such as a service station or a shopping centre, the rules remain the same. Give way to anyone on the footpath and on the road when using a driveway.

Car doors being opened into the path of bicycle riders are a major safety issue for riders. Driver and passengers need to check for approaching riders on each side of the taxi before the doors are opened. It is an offence to cause a hazard to other people and vehicles by opening a car door or getting out of a vehicle (Road Rule 269).

It is important that everyone shares the road. It isn’t just the road rules that matter, it is also the behaviours we can demonstrate so that we’re tolerant of the needs and mistakes of others. At some point, most road users are also pedestrians and bicycle riders as well as drivers for our work or for personal reasons.  All need to be treated with respect.

Dave Jones is Manager, Roads and Traffic for RACV. He manages RACV’s road advocacy campaigns and represents RACV’s members on industry and government advisory committees. This information is opinion about the road rules and not legal advice. More information about road rules is available in RoyalAuto, from racv.com.au and RACV’s social media channels.

 



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