Various Angles On Parking Row


Amazing how some issues really get people worked up.

Angle parking is the latest.

NZTA is considering introducing signs for councils which when used, would make it compulsory to reverse into angled parking spaces or face a $40 fine.

One argument is that this is safer for cyclists peddling past.

You’ll find plenty of examples in Sydney and Melbourne.

It’s now becoming fashionable in some US cities to introduce “reverse-in angel parking along busy roads,” using studies insisting it’s safer.

But it’s becoming a hard sell.

The AA has told the NZTA, that Kiwi drivers are inexperienced at judging how much a car’s back bumper protrudes out of a parking space and elderly with neck problems or mobility drivers may have difficulties.

Some cities are in revolt.

In Idaho, the city council implemented reverse angle parking all the way down its main street a year ago and businesses have ganged up to say it’s not the recession but this move that’s ruining them.  Other members of public say they’ve had enough too. There have just been 2 public protest rallies and a stormy council meeting last week.

The City of San Jose (Calif) has now made it illegal to back in.  Its rationale is that drivers go faster when moving forward than backwards.  People who park head-in need to back out slowly in the lot to get underway, whereas the people who back in can accelerate out quickly.  Apparently they had some pedestrians who got hit by the people coming out too quickly.  And it was argued that around supermarkets, bringing their shopping trolleys  in between cars to get to their boot to load up, ding the paint on other vehicles.

A city in Arizona has opted for 45 degree angle on-street parking.

But the campaign is spreading. A city council in Indiana, which is presently considering it, puts forward an argument in its latest council agenda that is similiar to what is appearing elsewhere:

Many accidents recorded by the City Police Department related to cars maneuvering in and out of on- street parking spaces, especially angled spaces. While the current angled parking spaces are easier for drivers to enter than parallel parking, there are still conflicts because a driver exiting a parking space has a difficult time seeing on-coming traffic because of the awkward angle and blocked views from adjacent parked vehicles.

To partially address this situation, reverse angled parking around the Square should be considered. Reverse angled parking is a relatively new parking concept, but is gradually being applied quite successfully in downtowns around the nation.

Cities such as Seattle, Washington; Washington DC; Columbus, Ohio; and Vancouver, Washington have successfully used reverse angled parking in different areas of their city and reported a decrease in the number of parking related accidents since it was installed. Based on their success, smaller communities are using this approach.

Then someone had to go and throw sex into the debate.

This week, Dr Claudia Wolf from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany released a controversial study which said that men are better at reverse parking than women, who take more time but don’t get it right.

Female drivers take an average of 20 seconds longer to park their cars but are still less likely to end up in the middle of the bay, according to the study which involved 65 people being asked to park an Audi A6 family saloon in a standard-sized parking space, including reverse parking, head on and parallel parking..

The study concluded that women drivers’ more cautious approach did not lead to a tidier final result and that that men have better co-ordination and spatial awareness than women, and take more risks behind the wheel.

Reverse parking spaces compulsory? What do you think?





  1. Scott says:

    I like it.

    Having the front end of the car facing the road will allow improved driver sight lines. Having the boot to the curb is another safety advantage. Parks can be put on a steeper angle as cars the steering wheels are in open space for a longer time than if parking forwards.

    Of coarse all the road lines will need to be changed.

    Only issue I can see is the increased risk of hitting a little kid when reversing towards the curb (kids are more likely to be near the footpath).

    Bet the public will hate it…

  2. Matt L says:

    Sounds logical but I can’t see it being popular. My parents House is on the inside of a corner in a semi rural area, that combined with an embankment and some planting means there you can’t see what is coming until you are out on the road, as a result I always reverse in so it was safer and quicker to get out

  3. Richard says:

    The idea seamed to work well in Australia when I saw it several years ago. It is certainly safer entering traffic forwards.

    I would go further and implement the law applied in UK and probably elsewhere making it illegal to reverse from a drive into the road. If you can’t turn on the property you have to back in. This would help reduce car /pedestrian conflict when a pedestrian is walking past your property although our drivers don’t think pedestrians have rights of course!

    Reversing is part of the driving test and if you can’t reverse into a space you should not have a licence

  4. Cedric says:

    I guess there is merit in the proposal, but only if the road marking is changed. With the current drive forward angle parking the vehicle needs to turn less than 90 degrees to enter or leave a park. If the marking is left unchanged (instead of being made a mirror image along a line drawn at 90 degrees to the kerb)a vehicle has to turn through an angle of greater than 90 degrees when reversing in, or driving out, and this will cause the front of the vehicle to be a major obstruction to traffic in the process.


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