UK’s Most Infamous Width Restriction Keeps Wrecking Cars And Making People Angry

Woodmere Avenue in Watford, UK, has become world-famous for an “evil” width restriction made up of six steel bollards after videos of cars crashing into it started going viral online.

On the 24th of March 1980, local authorities in Watford decided to combat rat-running through the city’s residential area by installing what would eventually become the most hated width restriction in the United Kingdom. Made up of six beefy steel bollards, this “abomination” limits the width of vehicles that can pass through it at 7 feet (2.1 meters), which, for a lot of motorists has proven too narrow, despite their vehicles being nowhere near 7-feet-wide. Despite countless complaints from local residents fed up with the mayhem of cars getting stopped in their tracks by the bollards, and motorists afraid they’ll suffer the same fate if they pass through, the width restriction has endured and recently achieved worldwide notoriety.

Photo: Google street view

The soaring popularity of the Woodmere Avenue width restriction can be attributed, at least in part, to a local resident who installed a Ring doorbell facing toward the restriction and caught a series of crashes on camera. He started posting them on a dedicated Facebook group, and before long compilation videos of car crashes were doing the rounds online and getting picked up by major news outlets.

“I totally get why some people find it funny because it is not outside their house. I didn’t want it to become a joke because I want the thing removed,” Tim Vigor told the Watford Observer. “I’ve had a few spats because people are saying the bollards are an inanimate object, which is true, but the whole design is wrong.”


As you might have already guessed, Mr. Vigor is one of the many locals who want the Woodmere Avenue width restriction removed and replaced with a less crash-prone way of keeping large vehicles out of the residential area. Word has it that after the recent media attention, local authorities have begun discussing alternatives, but nothing has been made official so far, and those in charge have refused to comment.

Ever since it was first installed in 1980, the width restriction has drawn criticism from motorists, and it was repeatedly abused and damaged over the years. But it was in 2011, after strengthening of the bollards was carried out, that things got even worse. Crashes no longer affected the steel poles, but the cars suffered severe damage, and drivers were furious. However, authorities didn’t back down.


“The width restriction is clearly signposted both on Woodmere Avenue and on adjoining roads. Provided your vehicle isn’t wider than seven feet, you can access the road,” a press statement read. “To put this in perspective, seven-foot is wider than the entrance to a normal garage. Several thousand cars use this road on a daily basis without any problems so we have no plans to make changes to the posts on Woodmere Avenue unless local councilors ask, through the Joint Member Panel, for alterations to be made.”

With a reported 12 crashes caught on camera by Tim Vigor’s doorbell camera in the last six weeks alone, the Woodmere Avenue width restriction is a bigger nuisance to motorists than it ever was. And the weirdest thing is that most of the cars that crash into it are really tiny, with only a couple of vans being included in the most recent crash compilation.


Online, opinions about the controversial width restriction appear to be split. Some believe that it is an unnecessary hazard for motorists, while others believe the only ones who need to worry are drivers who can’t drive very well.