April 2024

Cycle lane obstructions

Note: The term ‘Cycle Lane’ here refers to an onroad lane separated from motor traffic only by a painted line.  If there is a physical division then it is a ‘segregated cycle lane’.

Types of cycle lane + cars parked in cycle lanes

  • Advisory cycle lanes – these are marked with a dashed white line.  It is legal for a motor vehicle to cross the line.
  • Motor vehicles are also allowed to park or load in advisory cycle lanes except when parking and/or loading restrictions apply.  Single yellow lines mean parking is prohibited at the times specified on nearby signs.  Double yellow lines means parking is prohibited at all times.  Loading is different to parking – Loading/unloading is permitted (even if there are yellow no-parking lines) unless there are short yellow lines painted across the kerb.  Double shorts across the kerb mean prohibited at all times; single shorts mean prohibited at the times specified on nearby signs.  See also the Highway Code road-markings document.
  • Mandatory cycle lanes – these are marked by a solid white line.  Motor vehicles are not allowed to cross the line (and therefore cannot park in the lane).  There are some very limited exceptions – see page 3 of Edinburgh Council cycle lanes factsheet below.

Nearly all Edinburgh cycle lanes are advisory, and most have single yellow lines.  Therefore, unfortunately, parking is legal in many cycle lanes, except at the times prohibited on the nearby signs.  Loading is also legal in most such cycle lanes for much of the time.  Generally the parking/loading restrictions apply in peaktime periods.

  • Edinburgh has published an ESDG (Edinburgh Street Design Guidance) Cycle Lanes factsheet which describes cycle lane rules in more detail

If you wish to get restrictions tightened on any particular road, try emailing your councillors [www.writetothem.com] but note that councillors are under heavy pressure from car users to maintain on-street parking, so it can be a tough fight.  There are some instructive ‘before and after’ pictures here on the road to the new Infirmary … we had a long and difficult fight to achieve this, lasting several years and in 2 phases.

Changing the rules on any particular road often takes around a year, as a Traffic Regulation Order is required, to which members of the public can submit formal objections.

Wheelie bins and similar obstructions in cycle lanes

See our advice note [pdf 117k].

We suggest asking your local councillors to take action in these cases – find them at www.writetothem.com and send them a copy of the above advice note.

Parking enforcement

2103 Reporting illegal parkingnew Council reporting page

1706 The Council has a Parking Enforcement Protocol document which explains how its powers to enforce yellow lines and other parking and loading rules are used in practice, including the various temporary exemptions which they allow to drivers.  We think these enforcement methods and exemptions are mainly decided by the Council rather than by the legislation.

Pavement Parking & Double Parking

1811 In connection with the above provisions in the Transport (Scotland) Bill 2018, SPICe has brought out a useful briefing, SB 18-70, which explains the existing regulations (and the provisions of the Bill at this early stage in its progress).