Single yellow lines

Single yellow lines: Parking rules explained

Last updated February 9th, 2024

As a motorist, it’s important to have a clear grasp of the various parking regulations on the roads. A simple misinterpretation of the rules could land you a hefty fine.

Whether and when it is legal to park on single yellow lines is also a common point of confusion among UK drivers. In some circumstances, it may be perfectly legal to park on a single yellow line, whilst in others, you may be issued a fine if caught doing so.

Unlike speeding fines, parking fines are not usually accompanied by penalty points on your driving licence. However, they can certainly hurt your wallet, so it’s best to take steps to avoid them.

In this guide, we’ll cover how to tell when you can and can’t park on single yellow lines (and how long you are permitted to park). We’ll clarify the rules around parking on yellow lines for Blue Badge holders – and loading/unloading on single yellows. Finally, we’ll explain the penalties that may apply if you illegally park on yellow lines.

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Can you park on a single yellow line?

If you see a single yellow line by a kerbside, this indicates that you cannot wait or park during the times indicated by nearby signage - or at the entrance of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). These times will vary depending on the location, so always check nearby signs before parking or waiting.

Can you stop on single yellow lines to drop off/pick up passengers?

You can stop on a single yellow line to drop off or pick up passengers, unless:

  • A nearby sign says otherwise.
  • There are small yellow lines painted at right angles on the edge of the pavement. If these are single markings, consult nearby signs for details of restrictions. If they are painted in pairs, you cannot load or unload at any time.

Single yellow line parking restrictions are set by individual local authorities, so you should always check nearby signs and markings to determine which rules apply.

Single vs double yellow lines: How do they differ?

You cannot usually wait or park on double yellow lines at any time (unless you have a Blue Badge) - even if there are no upright signs nearby.

You can park on single yellow lines outside of the hours specified on the yellow signs nearby. These signs may also state which days restrictions apply (e.g. Monday-Friday).

Exceptions for parking on double yellow lines

  • Blue Badge holders can park on double yellow lines for up to three hours (unless pairs of yellow lines are painted on the kerb).
  • Commercial drivers can stop on double yellow lines.
  • You can also collect or drop off passengers on double yellow lines (but you cannot wait for them to arrive).

Important: In some cases, these activities will be precluded by a nearby sign, so always check before stopping or parking.

When can you park on single yellow lines?

According to Section 238 of the Highway Code: “You MUST NOT wait or park on yellow lines during the times of operation shown on nearby time plates (or zone entry signs if in a Controlled Parking Zone).”

A sign near a single yellow line may state a timeframe (e.g. ‘8am-6pm') meaning you cannot park or wait there during those hours. However, you should be able to park there at any other time.

Restriction times within CPZs are set by individual local authorities and vary from place to place.

For example, in Manchester, single yellow line parking restrictions apply between 8am and 8pm every day, whereas in Westminster, controlled parking hours are usually between 8:30am and 6pm from Monday to Friday - or Monday to Saturday.

You can usually stop on a single yellow line to drop off or collect passengers, unless a sign indicates otherwise. (Remember, if there are active restrictions on waiting, you won’t be able to stop and wait for passengers to arrive.)

How long can you park on a single yellow line?

This depends on how long it is before parking restrictions next resume. For example, when a sign indicates that you cannot park between 8am and 8pm on Monday to Saturday:

  • If you arrive at 7am on a Monday, you will only be permitted to park for one hour.
  • However, if you arrive at 8pm on a Saturday, you will be free to park for up to 36 hours until the restrictions resume on Monday.
  • If you arrive during the restricted hours, you should find an alternative parking spot to avoid incurring a fine.

What if a single yellow line has no sign?

A single yellow line usually indicates that parking is prohibited at certain times. (These restrictions may have been imposed in the interest of pedestrian safety or to ease the traffic flow.)

However, if you encounter a single yellow line without any accompanying signs, you should refer to the local parking regulations. (Before travelling to an unfamiliar place, you should check the local authority’s website to determine what restrictions may apply.)

If in any doubt, you should find an alternative place to park. This will ensure you don’t incur any unexpected parking fines.

Considerations for Blue Badge holders

If you are a Blue Badge holder, you may be able to park on yellow lines for up to three hours whilst restrictions are active. However, to avoid incurring a fine, the following conditions must be met:

  • You must display your Blue Badge clearly.
  • You must not cause an obstruction.
  • There must not be paired yellow lines painted on the kerb. (If there are, you cannot park on the yellow line(s) – even with a Blue Badge!)

Loading and unloading on yellow lines

Loading on both single and double yellow lines is permitted so long as:

  • You do not cause an obstruction.
  • There are no active loading restrictions. (Check nearby street signs to clarify when/if restrictions are in place.)

Nearby signage should indicate when loading or unloading on a single yellow line is prohibited. (If pairs of short yellow lines are painted over the kerb edge, you cannot load at any time.)

Consequences of illegally parking on single yellow lines

If you are caught parking on a single yellow line, you will be issued with a penalty charge notice (PCN).

The fine amount will depend on where the alleged parking offence took place, as parking fines are set by individual councils.

In London, fines of £80-£130 can be issued. The fines are often cheaper outside of London (typically around £70).

You will receive a 50% reduction if you pay the charge within 14 days.

You should never ignore a PCN. If you fail to pay a fine, the local authority could enact a ‘Warrant of Execution’, which enables a bailiff to attend your home to recover goods to the value of the fine. (Councils have this power, whereas private parking firms do not.)

How are single yellow line parking offences enforced?

Single yellow line parking offences are enforced by council staff or subcontracting companies acting on behalf of local authorities.

What to do if you think you’ve been issued a single yellow line PCN in error

If you believe that you were wrongly issued a PCN for parking on a single yellow line, you can appeal the fine with the relevant local authority.

For instance, you might appeal if the yellow line’s paint was faded - or you believe the signage in place was inadequate.

Instructions on how to appeal a PCN will be printed on the ticket.

If you make your appeal within 14 days, you will still be eligible to pay the reduced fine amount if you are unsuccessful.

Bank holidays and weekend parking

Parking restrictions are sometimes relaxed on bank holidays. However, this is not always the case, so before parking on single yellow lines, you should carefully check any signs in the vicinity.

In some areas with single yellow lines, controlled parking rules are only enforced on certain days of the week (e.g. Monday to Friday). This will be indicated on a yellow sign near the single yellow line, along with the hours of operation.