The Top Ten Places Illegal Parking Occurs


We all know how frustrating it is to find a parking spot, so it’s very frustrating when drivers ignore the rules and park illegally.

Illegal parking is a big problem in many high-density cities and urban centres. It creates hazards for drivers and pedestrians, takes up valuable space, and often leads to accidents.

But did you know that there are some places where illegal parking occurs more often than others?

In this blog post, we’ll count down the top ten places where people park illegally most often.

It’s illegal to park in a no stopping zone by the footpath

What is Illegal parking?

Illegal parking is exactly what it sounds like. The term describes when drivers park vehicles without legal permission.

What are the Different Types of Illegal Parking?

Parking illegally includes various different types of behaviour.

For example, illegal parking includes:

  • Parking within 10 metres of an intersection without traffic lights, or 20 metres of an intersection with traffic lights (unless signed otherwise)
  • Parking for longer than sign-posted in a restricted time limit,
  • parking in a restricted area without permission,
  • parking in a manner that obstructs traffic, or
  • parking in an unsafe and improper manner
  • parking across double yellow lines
  • Australia Post box or drop off zone – stay 3 metres away from a letter box, unless your stopping to post mail or drop someone off.
  • Parking in a taxi, bus or loading zone

Depending on the country and the violation, the consequences of illegal parking can include fines and towing.


Fines, Penalties and demerit points for illegal parking

And to come with the penalties, there are fines or parking infringement notices. For example, in New South Wales the following fines apply:

A parking ticket under the wiper blade awaits a future unhappy motorist.
  • Parking or stopping in a NO STOPPING SIGN will land you a fine of $272
  • Parking in a DISABLED PARKING spot will cost you a whopping $587 in NSW PLUS one demerit point off your licence points
  • Stopping or parking in a CLEARWAY zone will cost you $275 and likely get you TOWED!
  • Stopping in a LOADING ZONE will cost you $195 if you get caught
  • Parking longer than a time limit will cost you from $116 upwards

In Victoria and Queensland, the local councils have now implemented fines for non-EVs parking in EV charging bays.  In addition, EVs must actually be plugged in and charging, otherwise they can also be fined as well. The fines range between $55 and $330 for this.

And on top of that parking fines is big business for local government authorities, earning big dollars! Sydney Councils raked in $17 Million in parking fines in 10 months. In data compiled by NRMA, in 2021, the City of Sydney handed out 230,772 fines while the Inner West Council issued more than 92,000 tickets!

10 minute Grace Periods for overstays of time limited parking

But fortunately the NSW government introduced a 10 minute grace period for parking time limits longer than 1 hour. This means if you overstay by up to 10 minutes in a one-hour time limited parking zone, you shouldn’t get a fine.

The good news is, hopefully you should only get ONE fine for overstaying too long. It depends on which state you’re in but on the whole, if you’re in a 2 hour time limited parking spot, you shouldn’t get a fine at 12.30 pm and then another at 2.30 pm.

In areas where traffic congestion is a serious problem, authorities enforce more severe penalties for illegal parking in an effort to more assertively address the poor parking behaviour.

What types of parking areas are restricted parking zones?

Parking areas that are restricted, are done so for a purpose – to limit the type of drivers that can access the parking spot, or limit the length of time a driver can park there.

No Parking Signs on private property often warn of Tow Away

This is a list of some examples of restricted parking areas:

  • time restrictions
  • no stopping zones, or right next to pedestrian crossings
  • disabled parking
  • bus zones, taxi zones, or PUDO (pick up drop off) zones
  • clearways during peak hour traffic times
  • loading zones for trucks and delivery vans, or click and collect parking for shopping centres
  • emergency vehicle parking in hospitals, health care etc
  • permit-only parking
  • School and university restricted parking
  • EV charging bays
  • Parents with Prams only parking

If you park in these restricted parking areas without the proper permits, or you park beyond the time limit signs, then you are parking illegally.

Some restricted areas prohibit people from parking under any circumstance. For example, you cannot park next to a fire hydrant, or across a driveway, as this will affect public safety.

Special event and temporary parking restrictions

With special event or parade routes or special events, Councils or local authorities create temporary restricted areas for the duration of the event. During the listed times, you cannot park in these areas, and if you do, often your vehicle will be towed away. You can’t park in these zones because it’s an obstruction to the event and public safety. Think about New Years’ Eve in most large cities – clearways, no parking and tow away signs everywhere create temporary illegal parking zones. As a pedestrian or participant in these special events, you want to feel safe if you’re walking or enjoying yourself!

Special Event – Typical parking sign with temporary changes

Double parking and Clearways

Don’t we all do it every now and then? Just for a minute while we hop in to pick up the dry-cleaning or grab something from a shop?

But sadly that’s a big no no. Blocking traffic by double parking, or leaving your car in the middle of the road, you are definitely engaging in an illegal form of parking!

And of course, to free up the flow of traffic congestion during peak hour traffic, Councils create clearways which prohibit parking in certain lanes at certain times of the day.  So it’s very important to read parking signs carefully to know at what time it is legal to park in a clearway zone. Again, because of the impact of thoughtless parking in rush hour, cars parked in a clearway are not only fined, but regularly towed away. Another big hassle that, as a driver, you want to avoid!

Poor parking etiquette!

At the end of the day there are so many different infringements for illegal parking.

But if you are unsure, the best thing you can do is to USE COMMON SENSE! You should be guided by the manner in which other cars are parking. So if you are unsure, then you should carefully examine the signs and the other vehicles in your immediate vicinity. Be a Park Master and be sensible where you park!

Poor parking etiquette across a disabled parking bay

What are the top ten places illegal parking occurs?

1. Downtown city districts

As we all know, parking in downtown city areas is usually very limited, so illegal parking is a big issue in downtown city districts. Look at the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. During the business day, most regular cars are restricted from parking on-street. This is because these on-street parking spots need to be available for commercial delivery trucks and vans, who only need to drop off and pick up goods.

But once the work day has ended, cities want to encourage residents and people to come back into the city – to make it feel alive and bustling. And to promote businesses in the city. So time restrictions for the type of vehicle change significantly at night.


2. Shopping precincts and centres

Just like the downtown city areas – it’s so important for a city to keep the hussle and bustle of a city shopping precinct alive and humming. But for shoppers, you really do need ot provide parking. So shopping zones and centres typically have free parking but only for a certain amount of time, but after then it’s paid parking. Some drivers just don’t want to pay for parking at all! Instead they often park illegally, just to avoid paying for parking. The problem is that they then run the gauntlet of getting a parking fine, or infringement, which will cost them a lot more!

3. Pedestrian zones

When drivers park in areas reserved for pedestrian zones, this causes a safety hazard. The pedestrian zones or areas right near a pedestrian crossing, need to have higher and better visibility. So often they will have a No Parking or No Stopping sign to keep cars from parking there and causing a safety risk. While it might look like a quick and easy parking spot, there are massive reasons around safety and the hazards it causes as to why you shouldn’t park there.

Illegal Parking In Bicycle Lane in Melbourne

4. Bicycle lanes

With the world’s focus on more sustainable transport, most cities have readily encouraged and promoted the use of bicycles. Councils and road authorities create bicycle specific lanes to encourage their usage, and to make sure cyclists are safe with their own lane. Bicycles have the right of way in designated bike lanes. However in congested cities, it’s not uncommon for drivers to park illegally in these lanes, unfortunately blocking cyclists’ path and causing a safety hazard.

5. No Parking Zones and No Stopping Zones

No Parking zones are usually established for safety or congestion on city streets. Again, we’ve probably all been guilty of thinking we can just stop for five to ten minutes and it won’t affect anyone. But be warned, park in a no parking zone will risk you a potential fine, and in some cases even getting towed when the hazard is very high.  

With No Stopping zones, it means exactly what it says – DO NOT STOP AT ALL! Not even for a minute! Typically no stopping zones are directly around school areas, hospitals and anywhere where safety is of more importance.

6. Meter-enforced areas

In most cities now, you’ll find that most on-street parking is metered, and the hourly rate will usually depend on the time, day and how busy the area is. Councils send around parking inspectors to ensure that drivers are properly paying for parking metered zones. If as a driver, you think you can avoid paying in metered zones, beware! You just may come back to your car with a nasty surprise of a parking fine or infringement notice. These fines can run into hundreds of dollars! Lesson here – make sure you read the signs correctly and pay the correct amount for the time you want to park!  

7. Time-limited areas

Just like metered parking, zones are often restricted by maximum time you can park in thos spots.  Again you should always read the signs and make sure you put a reminder timer on your phone so you get back to your car before the time limit hits. Parking beyond the time limit is illegal and may result in a parking fine or in some cases, especially when it becomes a clearway, being towed!

8. Driveways in Residential streets

It’s absolutely illegal (and also very inconsiderate) to park in the driveway of a home in a residential area. Actually anyone’s driveway for that matter! People need to get in and out of their premises, whether residential or commercial. A driveway is not your convenient place to stop and park – even for 5 minutes! Someone may need to go in or out, and blocking someone’s driveway violates the parking rules.

EV Charging Bays painted to show EV charging only

9.  EV Charging

With the rapid adoption of EVs, EV charging stations are now being installed in a large number of on and off-street parking bays. The thing is, those parking bays are designated for EVs only, and usually, for ONLY while they are charging. So parking in one of these designated EV bays, and not charging, is rude, inconsiderate and illegal. It’s referred to as “ICEing”, as it’s usually an Internal Combustion Enging (ICE) vehicle that does it. “It means that an electric vehicle that needs to be charged can’t. As a result, you have prevented them from doing something akin to filling their car with gas. How uncool! Check out our blog section on EV Charging for more info about EV charging and parking.

10. Disabled Parking

Accessible parking bays are especially reserved for people with disabilities and who have a valid permit. In addition, the disabled person must be getting in or out of the vehicle from that accessible parking bay. Parking in these spots without a permit is illegal and can result in a ticket or tow. It also causes great angst among the community so head on over to our blog section on Disability Parking to learn more about this issue. The best way to solve this problem is by using a remote control or smartphone parking bollard.

Smartphone parking bollard TMS-APL3 and TMS-APL4 installed in disabled parking

How to report illegal parking?

To report an illegally parked vehicle, you need to provide information on how the vehicle was parked, where it was parked (street name) and whether the vehicle was in violation of any traffic rules.

You can report illegal parking on public property to the police, or to your local Council.

If you believe a vehicle is parked in a dangerous place, poses an immediate threat or impedes others, you should probably call the police first.

In addition, if you find others repeatedly parking illegally on your private property, then you will want to prevent it. And one simple way you can do this is by installing parking bollards to block people from parking in YOUR parking spot!

How to stop illegal parking?

According to the New South Wales government, most reported illegal parking is accidental and unintentional.  The main responsibility in tackling illegal parking actually lies with the property owner, landlords, managers and residents of that property.

For this reason, you can deter illegal parking by a variety of different techniques. This way you can ensure that before the drivers park in your spot, you’ve done everything possible to warn them to stop and not park there.

Here are a few different ways to stop illegal parking:

  1. Install parking bollards!
  2. Use parking security measures, cameras, or security officers patrolling the site (this can get very expensive)!
  3. Use parking meters and parking signs together for public locations
  4. Install thermoplastic road markings to delineate parking bays, and make sure cars park in the right zones.
  5. Use parking enforcement officers
  6. Paint a red line on the sidewalk
  7. Use licence plate reading (LPR) cameras for enforcement (you can issue a fine from a camera taking a photo of a car’s licence plate).
  8. General education in the community, and publicity campaigns to educate people to observe parking signs and zones, and to park legally!

If you find that even with all these measures, intentional illegal parking persists, then you should install parking barriers and secure bollards in your parking zones.

For security of your land, you should ensure that no one can access the parking area without explicit permission. So then it’s less likely that you’ll have to deal with pesky illegal parking!

Heavy duty manual parking bollards stop illegal parking in private property

Parking bollards as a solution to illegal parking

And that’s why one of the simplest ways to discourage illegal parking is to put preventative measures in. Physical barriers that actually stop people from parking in an illegal parking zone. Boomgates and  parking bollards being one clear and obvious way to do this. By installing these types of protective barriers around your property, you can stop other drivers from illegally parking. Whether it’s on public property which obstructs traffic, or on private parking which violates your usage of it.

Our online shop Thatsmyspot is a one-stop-shop for parking bollards and car park bollards. We are proud to be an Australian-owned business with over a decade of experience in providing the best possible parking experiences for our customers. If you’re looking for an easy solution that will help you prevent illegal parking on your property, look no further than our selection of parking bollards.