Yellow line (road marking)

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Yellow line road marking

Yellow lines are road markings used in various territories.

Single yellow lines[edit]

Single yellow lines are common along residential streets near to workplaces

A single yellow line is a road marking that is present on the side of the carriageway in the United Kingdom. It indicates that parking or waiting at that roadside is prohibited at certain times of day. The exact times vary by area and are indicated by signs at the roadside. Stopping to load and to pick up or set down passengers is generally allowed unless additional restrictions apply.[1]

Countries formerly part of the British Empire are likely to retain a modified version of the British laws including the basic principles regarding road safety.[citation needed] In Malta for example, a single yellow line, means no waiting (i.e. no parking, but alighting of passengers is permitted). The sign is applicable all day.[2]

Double yellow lines[edit]


Yellow lines in Australia

Yellow road lines are used in the centre of the road in areas with large amounts of snow to contrast with the white colour of snow. These lines are white in areas where there is infrequent or no snow.


In Canada, a double yellow line in the centre of the road means that it is unsafe for traffic travelling in either direction to pass (overtake). This is usually found on rolling hills or through corners where visibility is limited.

In the province of British Columbia, it is against the law to touch or cross solid double yellow line at any time, except to avoid obstructions on the highway,[3] or when a vehicle is entering or exiting the highway, if the vehicle can safely do so without affecting the flow of other vehicles.[4]

Hong Kong[edit]

Hong Kong is one of the regions outside the UK using double yellow lines on the side of carriageways.


A double yellow line, in contrast with a double white line, indicates a no-passing restriction. Double white is just a no-passing suggestion.


Double yellow lines on the side of the road have a similar meaning (no parking at any time) as in the United Kingdom.[5] Single yellow line adjacent to a kerb means parking is restricted at certain times. A broken yellow line marks the edge of the carriageway.


A double yellow line means no stopping. This means that unloading of goods and alighting of passengers is not permitted.[2]


Mauritius was once a British colony, and today still applies double yellow lines to mark restricted parking areas at all hours on the sides of carriageways.


Singapore, a former crown colony of the UK, also uses double yellow lines to indicate no parking at the sides.

United Kingdom[edit]

Double yellow lines in the UK indicate that parking is prohibited.

Double yellow lines along the edge of the carriageway indicate that waiting restrictions apply to the road[6] (which includes the carriageway, footway and verge). A driver may stop for passengers to board or alight and to load or unload (unless there are also 'loading restrictions' - see below). The regulation applies to all vehicles. The restriction applies from the centre of the carriageway to the back of the footway.

Loading and unloading is allowed on double yellow lines at any time, unless there are additional markings indicating that there are 'loading restrictions'. Two short yellow stripes at regular intervals across the kerb or edge of the carriageway indicate that loading and unloading is not permitted at any time (these are not accompanied by sign plates). A single short yellow stripe at regular intervals across the kerb or edge of the carriageway indicates that loading and unloading is not permitted at the times shown on accompanying black and white sign plates.[7] Loading/unloading time is restricted to either 20 or 40 minutes depending upon the location (borough) if loading is observed. One must not cause an obstruction to traffic or pedestrians.[8]

United States[edit]

A double yellow center line in the United States indicates that passing is prohibited

A double yellow line is a painted marking between opposing sides of a highway. It consists of two parallel, solid yellow lines located between the two directions of traffic flow and its presence usually indicates a no-passing restriction or no passing zone. Obvious exceptions to this no-passing restriction include emergency maneuvers or temporary traffic flow changes due to road work. Often the double yellow line has sections where one of the lines becomes dashed (in which case it is no longer a "double yellow"), indicating to the drivers traveling on the side closest to the dashed line that they may pass when it is safe.

Two municipalities in the state of Rhode Island, Bristol and Warwick, replace the double yellow line with red, white, and blue striping along certain routes.

In some states, it is not against the law to overtake vehicles in the presence of solid yellow lines if it is safe to do so. For example, Vermont State Law also allows passing across the double yellow line when no traffic is on the opposing side, however, one must pass quickly and return to the proper side.[9] Pennsylvania does not permit passing on double yellow lines when not also posted with "Do Not Pass" signage.[10][11] However, this is unusual as most states have a ban on crossing a double yellow line except when turning, when passing pedestrians or bicycles, or if an obstruction in the road makes it necessary. Overtaking another vehicle across a solid yellow line is usually considered a serious traffic violation in most states.[9]

Some parts of the US use a doubled set of double yellow lines to demarcate a painted median strip, which vehicles are not permitted to cross. This differs from a single set of double yellow lines, which may be crossed in certain circumstances.[12]


Double yellow lines mean no waiting at any time, unless there are signs that specifically indicate seasonal restrictions.[7] They were first introduced in the UK by section 51[13] of the Road Traffic Act 1960[14] (repealed in 1972 and replaced by later legislation).

Countries that were once part of the British Empire are likely to retain a modified version of the British laws including the basic principles regarding road safety.


  1. ^ UK Highway Code -Signs and markings
  2. ^ a b "Traffic signs & carriageway markings regulations". Government of Malta. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Motor Vehicle Act Section 155 BC Laws
  4. ^ Motor Vehicle Act Section 156 BC Laws
  5. ^ "Traffic signs & road markings for parking". Road Safety Authority. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Waiting and parking (238 to 252)". Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  7. ^ a b "Road markings" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  8. ^ londoncouncils website
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Crossing double yellow lines", Spokesman-Review, April 28, 2014 .
  13. ^ "Road Traffic Act 1960 - 51 Traffic signs". 
  14. ^ "Parking Meter Zones (Double Yellow Lines)". Hansard. Mr. Marples: Double yellow lines on the carriageway in a parking meter zone indicate a ban on waiting at all times, except for the picking up or setting down of passengers; they also indicate a ban on loading or unloading between 8.30 a.m. and midnight. I have authorised the use of these carriageway markings under the powers given to me in Section 51 of the Road Traffic Act, 1960. 

See also[edit]