Are parking spaces too small? This man goes out of his way to prove it and gets his £80 fine refunded

Are parking spaces too small? This man goes out of his way to prove it and gets his £80 fine refunded

Jago Lawless, 46, a naval architect was fined £80 for a parking violation in Southhampton Central Station car park, but his parking ‘mistake’ confused & frustrated him so he did what we all should do in these situations and questioned it.

The Hyundai i10 he parked isn’t a big car (white pictured above), in fact, it’s only 1.66M wide compared to a VW Golf at 1.79M, a BMW 3 Series at 1.87M or an Audi Q7 at 1.97 m but still Mr Lawless (perfect name for this article) still got a ticket for “an inch or two inches over the line”.He felt it was unfair as the bays were “too small for an average-size car”.


The Hyundai i10 is a fairly small car compared to most cars on the road

Accident Exchange have claimed parking-related incidents now account for more than 30% of all accidents so not only are these small spaces costing car owners in parking tickets but they’re also increasing the risk of car damage and insurance claims, over 675,000 parking collisions are now registered every year costing insurance companies & those paying their policies £1.4bn in the UK alone.


Mr Lawless describing the issue

Mr Lawless said:

“When I first measured the entrance into the car parking bay, it measured at about 2.4m,”

“But because they’ve angled the parking bar over, the parallel width between the lines is actually only 1.978m wide, which is too small for an average-size car.”


There is no legal minimum size for parking bays, but there is a design standard which is 15.7ft (4.8m) in length and 7.8ft (2.4m) in width

Mr Lawless added:

“I couldn’t believe that, having parked such a small car, that I could not have parked it properly.

“Because they are at an angle, they are too small – they’re far too narrow and they’re not long enough.

“You have to adjust parking your car to enable you to get in and out of the car.”

According to the British Parking Association, there is no legal minimum size for parking bays, but there is a design standard which is 15.7ft (4.8m) in length and 7.8ft (2.4m) in width.

Richard Ansell, who owns an Audi Q5, told the BBC “virtually all spaces are too small” for his car.

“If I park over the white line because another driver has struggled to fit in a bay I risk getting a parking ticket for parking illegally.

“I would be happy to pay a higher parking tariff in order to safeguard my car.”


The car park in question (Via Google Maps)

South West Trains in a statement said:

“Now this issue has been raised, we will be re-marking the small number of angled spaces in this car park to increase their width.”

The penalty issued to Mr Lawless had also been withdrawn.


Do you think car parking spaces are often too small?

Sarah Lewis, from the AA told the BBC:

“We spoke to our members and over 90% said that they feel that parking spaces are too small comparatively to the size of modern cars,”

“There is nothing more frustrating than coming back to your car and finding it has been damaged.”

This comment on the BBC Facebook page by Daniel J Prior summed it up really:

I love it when someone goes well out of their way to prove a point… it’s such shame it has to be done but many of these larger companies just don’t listen until the Court date. Its such a waste of time and money. I’m sure paying the £80 fine would have been an easier choice but when you know you are right you should go for it… [Source]

How do I avoid someone damaging my car?

  • Buy a Dash camera that continues to record once parked
  • Snap a photo that shows your car and the two cars parked either side of yours as you walk away. If you get back to find a dent/scratch etc matching the paint colour then you’ve got grounds to report it to the Police.
  • Park away from everyone else
  • Have a child…so you can park in the parent and child spots

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