Are you baffled by red lines appearing on roads? Here's all you need to know

Baffled motorists driving in UK cities have been offered advice on navigating confusing red routes, as more appear around the country.
Baffled motorists driving in UK cities have been offered advice on navigating confusing red routes, as more appear around the country.

Baffled motorists driving in UK cities have been offered advice on navigating confusing red routes, as more appear around the country.

Specialists from LeaseCar.uk have highlighted and clarified the purpose and rules surrounding red routes and their markings on British roads.

First introduced in London in 1991, red routes are urban clearways that form a network of major roads which carry a significant amount of traffic, especially during rush hours.

They prohibit vehicles from stopping on the most crowded roads in a bid to prevent traffic jams from forming, or at least minimise congestion.

More have been added in recent years and now they are growing in popularity with local authorities across the UK.

They can now be found in towns and cities such as Leeds, Luton, Nottingham, Birmingham, Coventry and Newcastle, as well as around busy airports and hospitals.

In London, the owner of a vehicle that is found to be involved in a contravention of the rules will be sent a Penalty Charge Notice of £130 to be paid within 28 days.

Fines are generally of a similar amount around the country, though a discount often applies for early payment.

Double red lines marked along the left of the inside lane indicate that no stopping, waiting or parking is permitted by any vehicles at any time.

A single red line means that no vehicle is allowed to stop at any time during the hours of the route’s operation, which includes quickly dropping off or picking up passengers and loading or unloading goods, and applies to vans and lorries as well as cars.

Exceptions to the no stopping rule on red routes include when forced to do so by traffic, such as at a queue for a red light, and vehicles such as public transport and emergency services.

Bays may also be marked in certain places for parking or temporary loading on red routes – signs are placed by them to indicate the times that they may be used and for how long.

Other regulations also often apply on red routes, including prohibition of U-turns and lane restrictions.

Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk said: “Drivers across Britain will have noticed a growing number of red routes over recent years.

“But many motorists are unaware of precisely what a single or double red line on the inside lane means.

“Despite having clear rules and objectives, the regulations and purpose of red routes hasn’t been adequately communicated to the public.

“Red lines are meant to ease congestion in traffic hot spots, so they mean no stopping at any time or during their hours of operation.

“They’re like a very strict version of double yellow lines, though often much more thoroughly enforced by the relevant authorities.

“Drivers can’t even get away with pulling in for a few seconds on a red route to drop off a delivery or pick up a friend without risking a hefty fine.

“We at LeaseCar.uk support the roll out of red routes, but believe drivers need to be made fully aware of the rules so they’re not caught out and hit in the pocket.”