blue, yellow, and red: but not parking in Bucharest

  • Blue badge for disabled usersBadge Holders * may usually park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours except where there is a ban on loading or unloading and at a few locations where local schemes apply.

A guide for Blue Badge holders
published by Roads Service, 2003

Blue Badges: Park where you like

It seems that there are some rules which are unenforceable in those parts of Northern Ireland that are not in the Greater Belfast area.

Those of us who are lucky enough to be deemed not to need a blue badge may not know all the rules for those who do have one. But it does seem pretty clear that you cannot park on double or single yellow lines for long periods.

The problem, however, comes when someone does park for longer than three hours. In the words of one traffic attendant last Saturday,

We can’t do anything about disabled badge holders breaking the rules here. It’s all done from Belfast. Basically, they have up to three hours to park – and by the time they’re over it, it takes too long to get someone here from Belfast to do anything. So they really have a free parking space anywhere, anytime.

This sounds absolutely bonkers to me. In parts of Belfast I have seen traffic attendants out using digital cameras to show parking enfringements – presumably to back up their case if it needs to go to court. Surely this is what could be done in places outside the Greater Belfast area for those enfringements that concern blue badge holders.

Double yellow: Free Parking

Of course, many other drivers are at fault when it comes to parking generally – this is not limited to holders of the blue badge. They often can be found parking on double and single lines for periods longer than is allowed.

Double yellow lines mean no waiting at any time
from The Official Highway Code for Northern Ireland, p. 11

Waiting restrictions indicated by yellow lines apply to the carriageway, footway or footpath. You may stop to load or unload (unless there are also loading restrictions as described below) or while passengers board or alight. Double yellow lines mean no waiting at any time, unless there are signs that specifically indicate seasonal restrictions. The times at which the restrictions apply for other road markings are shown on nearby plates or on entry signs to controlled parking zones. If no days are shown on the signs, the restrictions are in force every day including Sundays and bank holidays. White bay markings and upright signs (see below) indicate where parking is allowed.

The Official Highway Code for Northern Ireland,
© Crown copyright 2008
(emphasis: mine)

Sadly, too many people seem to think that double yellow lines mean

Park here for free

when this is not the case as The Highway Code states.

Traffic attendants: red coats in NI

Perhaps we all need to be reminded of the law every now and then. Although it is not nice to get back to your car and find that there is a yellow envelope on your car windscreen, it is a reminder that there are rules about how, where, and when to park your vehicle. In Northern Ireland these rules are enforced by traffic attendants in red coats. The old Traffic Wardens have gone. But it is not just the ‘red coats’ that can and do give parking penalties. The Police Service of Northern Ireland can do so too. I’ve seen them do this particularly when people have parked too close to junctions.

* N.B. Before anyone thinks I am getting grumpy with people who really need these badges: I am not. I am just concerned that some rights that are granted to those that have them may be abused.

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