London Marathon Warning: This lesser-known driving offence could land you with a prison sentence

Athletes and spectators driving through London could face driving fines of up to £8,000 

  • London Marathon athletes and spectators warned of penalty points and prison time

This year’s London Marathon has seen a record-breaking amount of signups with over 578,000 runners heading to the big city to take part, according to event organisers. 

Whether you are running the London Marathon or spending the day as a spectator, gearing up for the commute through London is half the battle. From ULEZ zones to congestion charges, parking fines to dangerous driving, Brits are being warned about problems that could arise when driving during the marathon.  

Motoring and car service experts, ATS Euromaster, have researched the common and bizarre reasons you could face a driving fine during this event. 

1. ULEZ zones – Up to £360 fine  

Stretching 26.2 miles, the London Marathon covers some of the most well-known sites of London. Unfortunately, it also passes through a lot of ULEZ zones. If you are wanting to get close to the action, experts at ATS Euromaster advise avoiding Greenwich, City of London, City of Westminster and Southwark, as these parts of the routes could cost you £12.50 to drive through if your car or vehicle doesn’t meet a certain ’emission standard’.  

Don’t be fooled thinking they don’t charge during big events, as the only time ULEZ charges don’t apply is on Christmas day. Failure to pay will result in £180 fine, followed by a 50% increase after 28 days. 

If you drive through a ULEZ zone as well as a Congestion Charge area, you’ll need to pay an extra £15 a day, too. The London congestion charge is a fee based on cars being driven within the Congestion Charge Zone in Central London between 12 noon and 6pm during weekends. It all adds up to £27.50 for just one day of driving in London! 

2. Parking on the wrong side of the road – Up to £1,000 fine 

If you are about to run a marathon, you don’t want to have to walk miles to and from your car and will want to get a parking space as close as possible.  

Despite this, you should not settle for a parking space on the other side of the road. According to Rule 239 of the Highway Code, you can’t park your car facing oncoming traffic at night, or you can be fined up to £1,000, so make sure to return to your car before it gets dark. 

3. Driving barefoot – Up to £5,000 fine 

After a long run, athletes may be tempted to take their trainers off as soon as they finish and get into comfier shoes, such as flip flops and slippers. While it is not illegal to specifically drive in flip flops or slippers, Rule 97 of the Highway Code states drivers must have appropriate footwear that does not prevent them using the controls in the correct manner. 

If stopped by the police, drivers can be charged with careless driving, which can result in a fine of up to £5,000, up to nine penalty points and even a driving ban. 

4. Driving whilst tired – Unlimited fine 


Driving while excessively tired after a marathon would be considered dangerous driving and can pose serious risks, with 10-20% of all crashes estimated to be caused by driver fatigue.   

Under the Highway code, it states you must “not begin a journey if you are tired” and “get sufficient sleep before embarking on a long journey”. Drivers found guilty of dangerous driving could be hit with an unlimited fine, driving ban and, depending on how serious it is, 14 years in prison. 

5. Ignoring road closures – Up to £2,500 fine 

Despite the London Marathon road closures being temporary, they are treated the same as a permanent road closure sign in the eyes of the law. 

Driving through any closed roads can see drivers face a fine of up to £2,500. All road closures and the 21 official vehicle crossing points can be found on the London Marathon website ahead of the event. 

Simon Wayne, Technical Support Engineer at ATS Euromaster comments: “Amongst the excitement of the London Marathon, please ensure you read up on road closures, ULEZ zones and official parking areas ahead of time. For those running the race, drive home safe or have a friend/family member drive you if they can. Good luck!” 

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