This story was originally published without the information from §17C-13-4 of the West Virginia State Code. It has been changed to reflect the the correct information.
WEST VIRGINIA (WBOY) – West Virginia has nearly 20 specific laws on the books when it comes to parking, including rules that dictate which side of the road you should park on.
According to Melissa Giggenbach, the program director for the West Virginia Innocence Project clinic and a professor at the West Virginia University College of Law, West Virginia has a list of 19 restrictions regarding parking in specified places.
Some restrictions include not being allowed to park on the sidewalk, in the way of someone’s driveway, or across from road construction, as doing so would impede the flow of traffic.
Impeding the flow of traffic in West Virginia is a misdemeanor, and a first-time offender can face a fine of up to $100. Being convicted of the crime again within one year is punishable with a fine of up to $200. Get convicted a third or subsequent time, and you’re looking at a fine of up to $500.
Additionally, §17C-13-4 of the West Virginia State Code says that when parallel parking, or parking any time there is an adjacent curb, the right-hand wheels of the vehicle must be parked within 18 inches of the right-hand curb. Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $100.
However, cities and municipalities have the power to enforce their own local rules. Some local ordinances might permit parking with the left-hand wheels adjacent to and within 18 inches of the left-hand curb on a one-way roadway, according to the code.
Giggenbach said the most important question is this: Are you obstructing the flow of traffic?
She said some city streets are very narrow, and can’t accommodate cars being parked on both sides. Generally, you’ll see one curb is painted to stop people from being able to do that.
Giggenbach also said to have parked on the wrong side of the street, a person was potentially driving against the flow of traffic, and that would mean they potentially obstructed traffic. There’s also the risk a parked car on the wrong side of the street could confuse future oncoming traffic.
“If you’re driving down a street and somebody gets in their car and turns their car lights on, all of a sudden, you’re facing an oncoming car, and that could really cause an issue,” she said.