A viral TikTok video has sparked an online debate about whether it is legal – or even morally acceptable – to lay claim to a parking space. We asked the experts.
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The universe has asked TikTok:
Can you stand in a parking space to reserve it until your car arrives?
A TikTok video of a woman standing in an empty parking space in an effort to “reserve” it for her husband has sparked online debate about whether the practice is both legally and morally acceptable.
“Hold on, hold on, no, back away,” the woman can be heard saying in the video, which was captured by an onlooker.
“Where’s your car?” the man driving the car asks, before the woman explains she’s waiting for her husband to bring the car around to take the space.
“You can’t stay there!” the man exclaims, prompting the woman to argue that there are “plenty of spaces available” and she wants to hold onto this particular “nice shady spot”.
In classic TikTok style, the argument quickly escalates, with the woman accusing the man of “verbal abuse” and “aggression” and the male driver moving slowly forward into the spot, revving his car’s engine and sounding his car’s horn.
However, the woman holds firm and refuses to move, repeatedly telling the driver to “move on” before he eventually pulls away. You can see the whole thing play out here.
The clip – published on TikTok with a warning that reads “participating in this activity could result in you or others getting hurt” – has garnered almost 10,000 comments from stunned viewers.
“[I] would absolutely NOT have driven away!” one commenter wrote, while another said: “I would actually park horizontally across the space.”
Others had a different take, reasoning: “Why should she move she has found a nice shady space and she saw it first and reserved it?”
Is it illegal to save a parking space in Australia?
While there’s consensus that reserving a parking space without a car is socially unacceptable, are there any official rules against the practice in Australia?
To get answers, we approached the road authorities and police forces in most major states and asked them whether there were any associated laws or penalties.
According to ACT Police, committing a similar act in the Australian Capital Territory could attract a fine, depending on the circumstances.
“If the incident you are describing occurred on a road or road related area, it could be an offence,” a spokesperson for ACT Police told Drive.
The spokesperson pointed to a specific set of ACT road rules that dictate a pedestrian must not “cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver” or “unreasonably obstruct the path of any driver or another pedestrian”.
“As with all incidents, Police would have to consider the whole circumstances, but a traffic infringement notice could be issued,” the spokesperson added.
A similar road rule exists in Victoria, where “pedestrians should not cause a traffic hazard or obstruction”.
While there is no specific law against a pedestrian occupying a parking space, a spokesperson for the Victorian Department of Transport said: “We urge all road users – whether drivers, cyclists or pedestrians – to use common sense when using the roads, and share it safely with others.”
What do you think?
Let us know your thoughts! A quick straw poll around the Drive office has us firmly in the ‘NO’ camp, but desperate times (like Chadstone on Christmas Eve…) may call for desperate measures!
We will update this article with responses from further authorities as they come to hand.
The post Dear Drive… Is it legal to save a parking spot by standing in it? appeared first on Drive.
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