Rules of the Road: Can I back into an angled parking spot in Bellingham?


Question: Is it illegal to back into an angled parking spot in Bellingham?

Answer: Without checking all of the parking areas in Bellingham for any marked exceptions, it is illegal to back into the angled parking spots.

Q: If you are traveling the speed limit and a driver behind you is tailgaiting you very closely, is it illegal to "brake check" and potentially cause in accident or road rage? If an incident does occur, who is at risk? Also, if there is no place to pull over and there are two solid yellow lines on the road, is it OK to stop in the middle of the road so the driver can pass safely rather than at high speed?

A: Yes, it is illegal to "brake check." If you were to cause an accident for applying your brakes or stopping in the roadway for no reason, you could be criminally as well as civilly liable for damages and injuries. You are better to continue to follow the rules of the road until you reach a place where you can safely pull out of the way or the other driver either backs off or finds a spot to pass you.


Rules of the Road is an online forum with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices. To ask a question, use this form.

David Wright is a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.

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