Double yellow lines: You can’t park but are you allowed to wait in your car?
Can you wait in your car for someone by the side of a road with double yellow lines?
That’s the question I had when a traffic enforcement officer told me I could not.
That little incident sent me down on a hunt for the truth and how the authorities are perhaps confused with their application/ enforcement of the law.
Confused by official sources
I was quite sure that waiting on double yellow lines was allowed because I recalled seeing this PDF on the Land Transport Authority’s One Motoring portal:
The description for double yellow lines reads “No parking on the side of the road at all times”.
It says nothing about prohibiting waiting.
Parking and waiting one and the same?
It gets more confusing because if you look at the description for single white zigzag lines in the same PDF: “Advance warning of the presence of a zebra crossing. No overtaking, waiting or parking in the vicinity”.
It mentions waiting and parking as separate things.
Our own Highway Code has a sign specifically for “No Waiting”:
And one for parking:
Yet another sign that there is a differentiation between parking and waiting.
Then you have these signs scattered across HDB carparks:
So, that’s a done deal, right? A clear difference between waiting and parking and the parking enforcement officer got it wrong, no?
Waiting is parking. Apparently.
Under the Road Traffic Act, “park” means “to bring a motor vehicle or a trailer to a stationary position and cause it to wait for any purpose other than that of immediately taking up or setting down persons, goods or luggage”.
It nicely inserts the phrase “wait for any purpose other than …” to put to rest any doubt that waiting is not a form of parking, except in the case of picking up or dropping off people/ goods.
If you look at the Highway Code, it has an even stricter definition of “park”:
It does not even allow for pick up or drop off.
The traffic enforcement officer told me I was allowed to pick up or drop passengers off along double yellow lines. I guess he follows the Road Traffic Act over the Highway Code.
Perhaps a simple fix to all the confusion is to ensure that all future descriptions of double yellow lines rules should read, “No parking and no waiting on that side of the road at all times”.
I’m not sure if that would fix people’s impression that there is a difference between parking and waiting or exacerbate it though.
But at least that would reduce conflicting messages coming from LTA, TP, and HDB.
Top photo by Alex D’Alessio