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Explain a Red Route

By: Simon McBride - Updated: 18 Aug 2020 | comments*Discuss
Explain A Red Route

In the UK, red routes are major roads in urban areas, stopping, loading or unloading a vehicle is not allowed by law or only when the adjacent signs state that vehicles can park - the days and times will usually be stated on the sign. It is the authorities aim to ease the flow of traffic on these thoroughfares. A Red Route has continuous red lines painted along the road, these can either be a single line or double red lines and they are always next to the kerb.

Red routes are especially common in town and city centres and may be found in some areas instead of yellow lines. If driving through London red routes are prevalent as the local authorities want public transport to flow.

What Can You Do on a Red Route?

Red routes warn motorist’s that you cannot stop to park, load, unload or board and alight from a vehicle (except for a licensed taxi or if you hold a blue badge).

You should also remember that the red lines apply to the verge, pavement and the carriageway and if you park on a red route you will be violating a traffic law.

Normally an upright sign will be in the vicinity of the red route lines and the times that you are prohibited from being in a red route will be stated on a text plate, however if the red route has a double red line then it is against the law to stop at this point at any time.

There are occasional times when motorists are permitted to park on a red route, load/unload. You can do so in specially marked boxes, these bays will have adjacent signs, which specify the times, purposes and duration allowed.

Defining the Red Lines

  • Double red lines – You must not stop your vehicle at any time as it is not permitted (normally at important junctions, or at bus stops).
  • Single red lines – You may stop at this point but only when permitted to do so by the times given on an adjacent sign.
  • Red route clearway – You must not stop unless in a lay-by that you are permitted to do so by an adjacent sign. (Red lines are only marked at junctions)

Parking On a Red Route

If the box is outlined in red then you may park in it but only for the purpose specified on the nearby sign for part of the day. (For example: This is usually for delivery drivers and parking is usually only permitted between busy peak periods.)

If the box is painted in white then you may park in it throughout the day, however it is best to consult the adjacent sign, as there may be strict sanctions on when and how long you can park for.

Buses On a Red Route

In London, the Red Route is kept free in peak hours so that buses can flow freely around the city.

If you use a red route during peak hours or park illegally on a Red Route you could get fined either by CCTV cameras monitoring the Red Routes or by "Red Route Patrols."

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Am I right in thinking that I can park in a Loading Bay at any time outside the restricted hours?
Bob1 - 18-Aug-20 @ 3:31 PM
I was driving along the london bridge area and my car started overheating I stopped to check in order not to create traffic or hold up I parked in the red route with restriction as to when you can park there with my hazards light on they have to sent me a ticket which I appealed to explain my car was faulty thy that was the reason I had to park there to get it fixed. they rejected the appeal now I am going to court to defend myself. please any advice you can give me. thanks
MICHAEL - 25-Sep-19 @ 9:20 PM
I broke down one evening near a commonly used parking area for a burger van. After several attempts to move my car we pushed it completely off the road (there were no normal parking spaces due to the burger van). My car was not on the road at all (for obvious reasons). Any idea if i can appeal this? It seem insane that you cannot break down and put the car OFF the road and in a safe location.
Mike - 29-Aug-19 @ 10:30 AM
Im a new driver and i parked on a double red line in east london there was a sign there stated 7am-7pm no stopping but this was at 11 in evening i did realise theres a camera there too, im panicking if im gonna recieve a fine does anyone have any idea?
Naz - 3-Aug-19 @ 12:37 AM
I received a contravention code 46 camera ID (stopped where prohibited on a red route or clearway) the date of the event was 21/05/2019 the date of posting the notice was 03/07/2019 I make this 43 days plus 2 more days received the notice by post, are councils allowed this amount of time ?
circle - 9-Jul-19 @ 4:56 PM
I received a contravention code 46, by camera and recording equipment, stopped where prohibited (on a red route or clearway) date of event 21/05/2019the date of the notice is 03/07/2019 I make this 43 days and then I received the penalty charge by post 2 days later, are councils aloud this ammount of time to srve a notice?
circle - 9-Jul-19 @ 4:48 PM
I stopped in a layby at b/ham/airport that had redlines I received a ticket four weeks later is this legal I thought it had to be issued in 14 days
Del - 3-Jul-19 @ 7:56 PM
A friend used my car he is insured etc in my car. He drove got caught in a red zone. But the council are saying I have to pay the fine because it was my car & it’s on the owner to pay the fine. I always thought anything like this the person driving is at fault
Sj - 18-Jun-19 @ 10:35 AM
I have received a PCN for parking on a Red Route at Airport Way Luton. The pictures sent clearly shows where my car was parked (along with several others). It was not parked on the road where the lines are painted, nor on the pedestrian walkway alongside the road, but in an area clearly to the far side of the pedestrian walkway which is clearly shown. Should I appeal on the grounds that my car is not parked in the road, nor on the walkway but clearly on ground that runs alongside the walkway.
John.P - 9-May-19 @ 3:10 PM
David- Your Question:
I received a ticket after stopping on a red route to give someone a jump start.Can I appeal?

Our Response:
It'w worth giving it a try, especially if the person you helped was causing an obstruction.
TrafficSignsAndMeanings - 27-Jul-17 @ 2:02 PM
I received a ticket after stopping on a red route to give someone a jump start. Can I appeal?
David - 24-Jul-17 @ 2:14 PM
I'm driving in the UK professionally and personally for over 35 years, never had an accident, always respecting other drivers, bikes, pedestrians, authorities, being the fairest! I was dropping 6 young children off Stoke Newington high street to a party, there were no parking bays available, as they were all taken, apart from a gap of loading and unloading only. I could not see the signs though, then I stopped to find the sign and read. It took me 1 minute. Returned to the vehicle, I dropped the children as I could not park there, they would have to go inside on their own, as soon as all left the car, another 1 minute, I left to find a paying parking bay. For those 2 minutes stopped there I received a PCN and have to pay £65! I'm unemployed and was helping a friend. I'm so interested to know who's the SOB which seeing all my efforts, did press the PCN button on me behind the cctv system, because I really wish he dies in pain and go to hell!
A Good Driver - 30-May-17 @ 12:57 PM
Annoyed at LPL Airpo - Your Question:
What is the legal position regarding Red Routes on private roads. At Liverpool Airport we did not see any signs (although they do exist along with red lines) as we were trying to look for the drop-off place so inadvertently stopped on the Exit road; as I got out I saw it was a Red Route. However, upon enquiry, it is land owned by the Airport and a parking fine has been issued to my driver by Vehicle Control Services. Is this contestable? The place we briefly stopped at to let me and my luggage out of the vehicle no way impeded any other vehicles or safety of others!

Our Response:
The red route is for safety and security - many other airports operate the same/similar restrictions. The signs along with the red lines are quite prominently displayed and clear in that they say "No Stopping at Any Time" and there is a drop off car park 5 mins walk away that is free (and a nearer one with a charge). It's unlikely you will be able to contest this.
TrafficSignsAndMeanings - 23-Nov-16 @ 11:10 AM
What is the legal position regarding Red Routes on private roads. At Liverpool Airportwe did not see any signs (although they do exist along with red lines) as we were trying to look for the drop-off place so inadvertently stopped on the Exit road; as I got out I saw it was a Red Route. However, upon enquiry, it is land owned by the Airport and a parking fine has been issued to my driver by Vehicle Control Services. Is this contestable? The place we briefly stopped at to let me and my luggage out of the vehicle no way impeded any other vehicles or safety of others!
Annoyed at LPL Airpo - 22-Nov-16 @ 4:19 PM
Can I park After the time restriction 8am-7pm on a white out lined loading bay in red route area
Trc - 11-Aug-16 @ 6:59 PM
I parked my car on red lines on the road it was just inches over the line and left car for 4 minutes i got a parking ticket am i liable to pay
gill - 6-Mar-16 @ 8:54 PM
anyone knows about prescibed formats for red routes and loading bays. maybe the answers lie there
ENKI - 15-Sep-15 @ 7:30 PM
Wouldappreciate some advice on extent of enforcible parking restriction adjacent red route marking under the following circumstances. There is double red line in the road gutter adjacent the kerb. There is no grass verge between the road kerb and the pavement which directly adjoins the roadway. A red route sign is situated at the back of pavement.Behind the back of pavement is open land of considerable depth .Is there any reason why parking on this land which is owned by the council but in no way could be described as part of the highway .I ask this in the context of traffic control ie not trespass which could be a different matter.
Bunky - 16-Feb-15 @ 6:25 PM
What is the purpose of the red line at the Frontage to the TSB Bank in Coventry Road, Sheldon. This red line is ina service road running parallel to the main road? It isparticularly annoyingto disabled people who have difficulty walking any distance and seems totally unnecessary..
Biggers2 - 20-Aug-14 @ 5:01 PM
I have received a parking fine for stopping and unloading on a double red line - however the road was completely closed to all traffic public and transport and has been for 3 weeks, the photographs attached with the fine Cleary show my vehicle parked in the road closed area.I have appealed the first e but it has been refused n the group dedicated that that you cannot stop on a red route. Is it worth appealing further?
trixytoo - 4-May-14 @ 8:53 PM
I parked in a loading bay for less than five min Just got a notice saying I stopped on a red route or clearway and got a charge? There's no stop ends on the red lines Please help
Lee - 16-Apr-14 @ 5:33 PM
I would like to know the laws governing signage on roadside loading areas? I have received a large fine for parking for 5 minutes in a loading bay whilst trying to collect a large item. This was in the centre of Exeter by the entrance to a shopping precinct. There are no time restrictions on the signs, so no way of knowing what the restrictions are. After a lot of persistence from me Devon County Council eventually told me it is 5 min but 1) that would not be enough time to go into the precinct and collect anything heavy or bulky, even if you ran! and 2) there is no way of telling, or finding out how long is allowed.
poor senior citizen - 2-Apr-14 @ 10:44 PM
At 15.30 hours I was looking for a space to park. At the end of a row parked vehicles I observed a stretch of red boxing which I duly drove toward and entered. I then discovered an upright signage about ten yards into the stretchindicating loading only for the extent of the vacant stretch and that the lines marking the end of the stretch of boxing designated for parking and the beggining of the vacant stretch indicating loading which were a mere inches apart were obscuredbya vehicle parked close to the line. I then observed possible parking accross the street and waited for the traffic to clear and therefore safe for me effect a u-turn and secure the space accross the road.I exited the box after approximately one minute. About ten days later I received a PCN thatI had contravened "code 46 no stopping on a clearway". I complained that the excepted period of 10.00 hours to 16.00 hours that incidental stopping was permitted as long there is no contravention of the designated purpose of the boxed area such as in this case parking or alighting from a vehicle and not loading material. Transport for London however insists that it is a violation and I am now appealng to Adjudicator.
Gordon - 11-Aug-13 @ 3:10 PM
why parking is allowed only on certain part of red route and is not contious
N/A - 23-May-13 @ 1:06 PM
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