Monster utes – it’s not the width, it’s the length



Ford Ranger XLS – official dimensions put it right on the minimum length for a parking space. Add a towbar or bull bar and it’s over.

Have you noticed a lot of giant ‘crew cab’ utes around recently? Those big four-door 4WDs with a short cargo tray tacked on the back?

Australians bought more than 42,000 Toyota Hilux last year – making it Australia’s top-selling vehicle.

Add in nearly 37,000 Ford Rangers and 22,000 Mitsubishi Tritons, plus all the other specced-up wannabe tradie trucks on the market, and that’s well over 100,000 brand new oversized 4WDs competing for parking space.

Put them in an ordinary apartment block parking garage and they look massive – because they are. It’s not just about whether or not you can open your doors– it’s also whether you can steer around these monsters to park or get out.

At 5.33 metres long, the hugely popular Hilux SR5, only just fits into the regulation minimum car space length of 5.4 m.  The longer Ford Ranger is over the edge, literally.

Now, your block’s developer may have been generous with their parking allocation but many will have squeezed every last square centimetre out of the available space.

If you’re in a very old building, the pips will be squeaking.

A note in the 2004 Australian Standards parking space regulations reveals a less-than-prescient view of motoring trends and unit block parking etiquette.

“The statistical chance of two or more longer vehicles seeking to occupy adjacent parking spaces at the one time is relatively low,” it says, “and where this does occur, a driver can divert to an alternative space with only minor disruption to other users.”

Yeah, right.  The informal trade in apartment block parking spaces is only slightly less stressful than trafficking drugs, guns and rhino horn.

The regulation minimum dimensions of 2.4 metres wide and 5.4 metres long are used by most councils and developers when planning parking layouts.

But before you start drafting by-laws to impose width limits on your underground car park, you should know that most of these modern trucks are no wider than the 1979 Ford Falcon which, at 1.87m, was used to set the standard width for parking bays in Australia and New Zealand.

The problem is that the people who wrote the standards assumed most spaces would be occupied by the 85 percent of cars that were narrower and shorter than the Falcon.

So what does all this mean in the bumper to bumper battlefield of today’s strata parking? If you have anything else in your parking space – a bike, golf clubs, a storage box – your super-ute is going to be across the line.

That means it is technically blocking the common property driveways, making it harder for others to park, and you could be breached and even towed under new strata laws.

And if your block has invited your local council to patrol your car park, you could cop a fine for parking over the line.

Big may be beautiful but more is sometimes less.

There’s more on all your parking problems HERE in the Forum

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