I have been asked the following:

We have had some issues with people who park their vehicles over the Hydrants in our area – whilst it may not be during an actual incident, it does pose the question of whether there is any legislation in NSW that can be used to backup our position of advising them to park their vehicles elsewhere?

With Fire Hydrants, namely those that are located under the ground and covered by Metal Hydrant lids, is there any legislation that is in place that forbids parking/stopping in front of them (in NSW – particularly in a Rural Fire District)?

I have managed to find some information in NSW Legislation – Road Rules 2008, Part 12, Division 6, Rule 194, which I have copied in below for your convenience.

Note that it defines, for the sake of the rule, what a fire hydrant is. Does this definition exclude under-ground hydrants that are common across the state? Or does this rule apply to all vehicles (unless public bus, taxi, etc)?

Thank you for your assistance,

194   Stopping near a fire hydrant etc

(1)  A driver must not stop within 1 metre of a fire hydrant, fire hydrant indicator, or fire plug indicator, unless:

(a)  the driver is driving a public bus, and the driver stops at a bus stop or in a bus zone and does not leave the bus unattended, or

(b)  the driver is driving a taxi, and the driver stops in a taxi zone and does not leave the taxi unattended, or

(c)  the driver is driving a public minibus, and the driver stops in a minibus zone and does not leave the minibus unattended.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

Note 1. Bus zone is defined in rule 183, public bus and taxi are defined in the Dictionary, minibus zone is defined in rule 184, and taxi zone is defined in rule 182.

Note 2. Neither minibus zones nor the term public minibus are used in this jurisdiction. The references to those terms in this subrule are retained in order to preserve uniformity with the Australian Road Rules.

(2)  For this rule, a driver leaves a vehicle unattended if the driver leaves the vehicle so the driver is over 3 metres from the closest point of the vehicle.

(3)  In this rule:

fire hydrant means an upright pipe with a spout, nozzle or other outlet for drawing water from a main or service pipe in case of fire or other emergency.

What follows is some diagrams showing various hydrants and their markers.  They don’t reproduce here but you can see them at http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/maintop/view/inforce/subordleg+179+2008+cd+0+N

My correspondent has answered his own question.  It is an offence to stop within 1 metre of a  of a fire hydrant ie “an upright pipe with a spout, nozzle or other outlet for drawing water from a main or service pipe in case of fire or other emergency”.  It is also an offence to stop within 1 metre of “a fire hydrant indicator, or fire plug indicator”.  These indicators mark the presence, as I understand it, of hydrants that are “located under the ground and covered by Metal Hydrant lids”.  It is not an offence if you are driving a bus, a taxi or a minibus and you are stopped in an appropriate bus, taxi or minibus zone and don’t leave the vehicle unattended.  For anyone else, it’s an offence.

Having said that I’m sure it’s an offence we’ve all committed; to avoid parking within 1 metre of a fire hydrant indicator, or fire plug indicator, would actually require you to see that the indicator was there, and if you’re not looking for one to use to fight a fire, I’m sure most people wouldn’t notice them, know what they are or know this rule.  But you could use the rule to “backup our position of advising them to park their vehicles elsewhere”.