Ask LH: Is It Legal To Park On The Wrong Side Of The Street?

Hi Lifehacker, Is it legal to park a vehicle on the wrong side of the street? It’s customary to park your car so that its left side is closer to the kerb (since we drive on the left-hand side of the road), yet I see so many cars parked pointed the wrong way. I was once told that this was illegal since you have to drive on the wrong side of the road to park it, and then drive on the wrong side of the road again when you leave. Is that the case? Thanks, Nosey Parker

Tyre clamp picture from Shutterstock

Dear NP,

In all states and territories, drivers are required to park in the same direction as moving traffic when parked on the adjacent kerb (you can read an overview of NSW’s parallel parking rules here). This law exists for various reasons, ranging from the obstruction of your rear reflector lights at night to causing unnecessary confusion for other drivers.

As you note, it also indicates that the driver was driving on the wrong side of the road when they parked their car. Usually this is because they spotted a parking space on the opposite side of the road, or pulled out of a driveway in the wrong direction. Whatever the reason, it’s still illegal. The only exceptions we can think of are 45 degree parking spaces and areas with specific signage that grant permission.

If you park your car in this manner you’re liable to get a ticket from a parking inspector, or even the police if the positioning is deemed to be dangerous. That said, it’s pretty low down on the crime-busting stakes so people continue to do so without suffering any repercussions. If the situation bothers you and you think it could cause an accident, contact your local council and provide them with the relevant information: one fine is usually all it takes to make a driver follow the rules.


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