Reader Question: Why is it illegal to park left wheels to the curb?

Some time ago I got a reader question from Crystal Proxmire publisher of the Oakland County 115 online news hub on this topic.  At the time I had a stack of blog posts and never got around to it.  But I found her question again today and decided it would be a good day to do a blog on it.

The question was:  why can’t a vehicle be parked with the left wheels next to the curb?  The short answer is that it is illegal.  And here is the law citation:

Public Act 300 of 1949  Michigan Vehicle Code

257.675 Stopping, standing, or parking of vehicle; requirements; signs; traffic control orders as rules; hearing; use of windshield placard by disabled person; courtesy required; free parking sticker; display; confiscation; false statement, deception, or fraud as misdemeanor; penalty; violation as civil infraction; cancellation, revocation, or suspension; driver’s, chauffeur’s, or state personal identification card number; signature of physician, physician assistant, or certified nurse practitioner; third party reimbursement or worker’s compensation.
Sec. 675.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section and this chapter, a vehicle stopped or parked upon a highway or street shall be stopped or parked with the wheels of the vehicle parallel to the roadway and within 12 inches of any curb existing at the right of the vehicle.

(2) A local authority may by ordinance permit parking of a vehicle on a 1-way roadway with the vehicle’s left wheels adjacent to and within 12 inches of any curb existing at the left of the vehicle.

You will note that the Vehicle Code was first passed in 1949–this largely isn’t new stuff.

I believe this became the law simply because it is dangerous.  You have to drive on the wrong side of the road to park that way –and to leave the parking space.  Because rear lights on a car are reflectorized at night a car parked the wrong way to traffic is harder to see.  Cars going every which way just isn’t safe.  The traffic laws were developed to make sure we had an orderly progression of traffic around our communities.

I also did some quick online research and came up with this article from Vermont that I thought was good and written from the point of view of a non police person.  Author Megan James of the publication “Seven Days” investigated the issue.  (It caught my eye since I’ve been to Winooki, Vermont several times to visit some friends who live there.  It is a suburb of the capital Burlington. Nice town.)

When I moved to Winooski last year, one of the first things my new neighbors warned me about was parking against the flow of traffic….

Source: WTF: Why will parking against the flow of traffic get you a ticket in Winooski?

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.

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