Parking the wrong way ticketable?

I realize this will probably vary from state to state, or even city to city, but:

is parking the opposite direction of traffic a ticketable offense?

This very much will differ by jurisdiction. It is illegal in Chicago:

Yup! It is in most driving handbooks, and my friend who lives on a dinky court (of all things) got a ticket in the Philadelphia suburbs for that! Luckily, it is not a moving violation. Your local authority’s actions may vary, of course.

Drat, missed the edit window. The Chicago municipal code is evidently redundant, as Illinois state law also says it’s illegal:

If you’re looking for information on a specific jurisdiction, you’ll have to specify, but I imagine it’s illegal pretty much everywhere.

I’ve done it for years in the city where I live (in front of my house on a relatively quiet residential street) without incident, until a couple of months ago when I (and everyone else on the street parked illegally in one way or another) all got “courtesy” warning notices from the police saying they observed the offense but weren’t going to write a ticket at that time.

Definitely illegal in most municipalities, although as you said of course this varies. I lived in a small town on Delmarva where it was legal, but let’s just say that was a very unique town in more ways than one. I assume it’s illegal in most towns and virtually all larger cities. I’d also assume that in smaller towns and areas with less traffic would more likely be allowed or at least tolerated by law enforcement.

A better question is why is it illegal? Obviously you’re not disrupting traffic if you’re parked; your car takes up the same space backwards or forwards. It’s true you cross over into the opposing lane briefly, but U-turns and 3-point turns are generally legal if they don’t interfere with traffic, and you spend more time in the wrong lane doing those. It can’t be because we’re not trusted to parallel park properly on the left side, all (okay lots) of the one way streets around here have legal parallel parking on either side. I can’t see a good reason to ban this.

Illegal in California too. Really the same as parking on the wrong side of the street. Ticketable for sure.

Illegal in CA. Speaking from experience.

I think it’s simply because it means you necessarily cross the oncoming traffic lane head-on while both parking and leaving.

While in reality probably not a problem at all on a quiet street, it could be quite dangerous on a busy street, and my guess is it’s easier to write the law making it illegal everywhere.

It is in the interest of public safety to not have cars pulling out in unexpected directions. Predictability is safety.

Making a left turn into an alley, a 3-point turn, and a U-turn all necessitate that you cross the oncoming traffic lane, and yet they are all legal somewhere. With the left turn, you’re even allowed to hold up traffic coming from behind you. Actually if you read my original post, I mentioned this already.

If it were legal, it wouldn’t be unexpected. And as always, the onus would be on the parked car to ensure that the way is clear before pulling out.

But there’s nothing unexpected about a car that is facing the opposite direction as you coming out on the opposite side of the road to you.

zombiewolf’s explanation makes more sense.

It’s also more difficult for a driver to see a solitary backwards-facing car when it’s dark, owing to the presence of reflectors on the back of cars but not the front.

It is illegal in most places I’ve been in the US, but very much legal in many places in the UK, such as London. It’s not at all uncommon there to see cars parked headlight to headlight.

I noticed this in the UK, and looked at the law. It turned out that it was legal by daytime, but illegal at night. Nobody else seemed to be aware of this.
The reason so many people parked that way was that the streets were too narrow to turn in, and there were no driveways either, the towns being built before cars existed.

Huh? A car parked on its own left side would have to pull out into oncoming traffic. I would say that a car pulling out into my lane and facing me would be unexpected.

Here in Denver, it is only illegal if I park facing the wrong way.

I live on a quiet, little-traveled residential side street, and one day I came home and needed to get the truck, parked in the driveway in front of where I usually park my sedan, to go to Home Depot. Rather than playing “Musical Cars”—pulling up in the car, getting out, pulling the truck out, getting back in the car, pulling in to the driveway, etc.—I just pulled up in front of the house (the wrong way, since my house is on the left as I approach), got into the truck and left. I was gone only 15 minutes, and there was a ticket on it when I got back.

On my street, many cars park facing the wrong way. On any given day, there is at least one car on my block parked facing traffic. When it snows, these cars sometimes still have snow on them days—even a week or more—later, showing that they have not been moved at least since the most recent snowfall. Every single time, there is a conspicuous lack of ticket on the windshield.

So I guess there is a local ordinance making illegal for me to park on the left on a two-way street, but not for anybody else.


When my mother was ticketed for this, having got into bad habits after a long stint in the UK (where, as noted, this was quite common), the reason given on the ticket was “parking too far from the curb”

It took us a while to realise this meant the curb on the other side of the road

File this under: Nothing good can come from it, but something bad might come from it.

Ergo: Illegal.