Help Forum

Help requested posted on 27th September 2010:

Echleon parking

I have been asked to give my thoughts on turning echeleon parking around on a two-way seafront route. It currently favours forward parking from nearside vehicles which means vehicles reverse onto oncoming traffic and other vulnerable road users.

Has anyone found one direction favours safety over another? We have not experienced any accidents with it's current layout and there is a view that any negative result from the change would be hard to justify.

Amber Kerens Bathmaker
Portsmouth City Council

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Response posted on 27th September 2010 by:
Nick Rawlings
Road Safety GB
T: 01379 650112

Echleon parking

Hi Amber

I'm submitting this answer on behalf of Andrew Fraser, Falkirk Council, who is unable to respond directly due to a glitch in the system. If you need to contact Andrew direct his email address is: and his phone number is: 01324 50 4931.

"It seems sensible to arrange parking of this type in such a way as to reinforce the advice in the Highway Code (Rule 201), NOT to reverse from a side road into a main road.

"Roads authorities ought to be following the advice in the Traffic Signs Manual, of course. The marking of parking bays is described in Chapter 5, paragraph 20.17, wherein it is stated that "...bays should be angled so that drivers are required to reverse into them. This is safer than reversing out, when visibility might be restricted by adjacent parked vehicles.

"The prescribed sign is Diagram 1033 of the current Traffic Signs and General Directions - unfortunately, there appears to be no restriction on the "variable angle" between kerb and line.

"Even with the correct angle one, driving standards are so low that one often sees vehicles which have obviously crossed the centreline (the drivers, presumably, unaware that we drive on the left in the UK) to nose in to correctly aligned bays!

"The answer to the question, however, seems to have been answered by the authors of Chapter 5, and I would strongly recommend that they be angled so that good drivers can drive into them as they should. The rest may follow in time - or measures might be taken to discourage them from crossing the centre line."

Response posted on 28th September 2010 by:
Peter Wilson
Westminster City Council
T: 02076412016

echelon parking

Andrew Fraser is absolutely correct. When we discussed this locally last year someone suggested that the bays are marked to the shortest length and width to disuage large vehicles to assist those who cannot reverse. Not sure it was useful but it made us laugh.

Response posted on 28th September 2010 by:
Jim Buckley
Leeds City Council
T: 0113 2476327

Echelon Parking

I have looked at the relative safety of forward and reverse parking in echelon bays and have concluded that reverse in bays are much safer, paricularly in shopping areas where access to the boot is often required.

Response posted on 28th September 2010 by:
Jeremy Philips
Devon County Council
T: 01392 383289

Echelon Parking

Being a coastal county, Devon has issues with echelon parking facing the sea, estuaries, harbours etc. for the pleasure of visitors sitting in their cars to enjoy the view. Following guidance explicitly, this pleasure could not be enjoyed by our visitors.

National Guidance is founded on the premise that collisions are much less likely when the driver can see where he or she is going. Reversing blind out of an echelon parking bay is either gambling or an act of faith, not an informed driving decision.

We have been working with our policy team to reach a protocol. We are proposing that we go with guidance - reverse in to the nearside - and each scheme builds a business case to depart from the guidance if necessary. E.g. the parking can face the sea view if the road is low speed and one way.

It would seem that over the years the norm has been to go against the guidance and our Road Safety Auditors have to build a case to bring it back in line with guidance.

Not experiencing any incidents with current non guidance arrangements doesn't sound robust. If a death of a VRU should occur as a result of a driver reversing out of a nearside non-guidance bay, then the subsequent Road Death Investigation should ask a) what is the national guidance , b) what is your local policy, c) what procedures have come out of that policy and d) have these procedures been consistently implemented?

Ad-hoc designs based on local preference for the ease of driving in forwards might be vulnerable to robust investigation.

Response posted on 28th September 2010 by:
Miguel Cooksey
North East Lincolnshire Council
T: 01742 324487

Echelon Parking

Hi Amber. Concensus here is that you should reverse in to echelon parking, as per parallel parking. However, as pointed out elsewhere, this may cause an issue if the parking is used for observation purposes as at a seaside resort, and in these instances we would advise one-way opperation.

Response posted on 7th October 2010 by:
Marilyn Whitelock
South Gloucestershire Council
T: 01454 863796

Echelon Parking

When asked to audit a new layout for a local parking bay the only guidance we could find on the layout of non parallel parking bays was contained in the Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 5 paragraph 20.17, which states; ' When not at right angles, the bays should be angled so that drivers are required to reverse into them. This is safer than reversing out, when visibility might be restricted by adjacent parked vehicles'.

Response posted on 8th October 2010 by:
Stephen Lambert
Donegal County Council
T: n/a

Echleon parking


Generally at an angle of approximately 30 to 45 degrees pointing in the
direction of travel such that cars have to slightly overshoot the space and
then reverse into the spaces leaving them faced out to drive off. Apart
from that we have no definitive crash histories comparisons that we can show



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