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Motorists debate common parking gripe that’s only deemed illegal in certain spots




It’s considered opportunistic by some and infuriating by others.

So it’s unsurprising that the act of a pedestrian saving a carpark for a nearby driver from other motorists is the focus of a longstanding debate on whether it is also actually against the law.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Pedestrian’s argument while reserving a parking space.

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A Sydney driver recently reignited the discussion on Reddit by citing state NSW legislation regarding the issue.

“It really grinds my gears,” the Sydney motorist said on Friday.

“Rule 236 states a pedestrian must not cause a traffic hazard by moving in the path of a driver,” they added, a reference to the move by an individual to stand in the parking space and block access to other vehicles.

But netizens were quick to point out the ambiguity surrounding the rule with one highlighting a subclause in the legislation which made the rule a bit trickier to interpret.

“I don’t think it’s nearly as clear-cut as you’re claiming,” they said.

“Look at section seven of the rule.”

Section seven states: “In this rule — ‘road’ includes any shoulder of the road, and any median strip, painted island or traffic island, but does not include any other road-related area.”

But another added: “Publicly accessible car parks are considered part of the public roadway.”

Saving a car park is a common parking act that infuriates many drivers, but officials say it’s only illegal in certain situations. Credit: Getty/TikTok

Rule or no rule, some drivers say determining the right of way is as simple as ignoring the pedestrian’s attempt to reserve the spot.

“I had a lady standing in a spot once, and I just backed in slowly. Person vs car, I won,” one person said.

But others on the forum commented that taking the parking spot by force can have unwanted consequences.

“Whoever holds spots is asking (for) the car to be scratched,” one said.

“Not a bad idea to discreetly watch your car from a distance, as you could get keyed or something by the pissed-off person,” another added.

A $905 fine depends on the park

The disputed driving act is, in fact, illegal despite no specific rule on it existing.

The crime only applies in public parking spaces, such as those connected to roadways.

Transport for NSW acting deputy secretary for safety, environment and regulation Sally Webb told “Under Rule 236 of the Road Rules, it is an offence for a pedestrian to unreasonably obstruct the path of any driver or another pedestrian.“

“This rule applies to all road and road-related areas and carries a penalty notice fine of $81.”

That means if the carpark space isn’t considered to be on or adjoining a road, a pedestrian can legally reserve the space. Which means parking spots in a shopping centre or private carpark, which are not considered to be adjoining public roads, are fair game for stand-up space-saving.

The eastern state is not alone: in Western Australia you can be fined $100 for reserving a carpark on a public road area, according to WA Police.

A Department for Transport Victoria spokesperson said those caught in the act on public road areas in the southern state can expect a court penalty of $184, though no infringement notice exists.

Meanwhile the Tasmania Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management told “There is not a specific offence for ‘holding a carpark’.”

“However, if someone is trying to park in the spot that is being held, there is an offence for pedestrians who obstruct or cause a hazard with a fine of up to $905.”