Most traffic fines are a necessary evil that preserve safety on our roads and car parks. Occasionally however, a motorist will be issued with a ticket that seems to fly in the face of logic. Is revenue raising to blame? Ham-fisted bureaucracy? Mean-spiritedness? Whatever the cause, it invariably causes the recipient to see red. Here are eight parking and driving "offences" that are completely pointless.
Parking ticket picture from Shutterstock
Getting fined for parking in your own driveway
This one has probably caused more outrage and controversy than all the others combined. Doubtless you've seen the media reports about this phenomena, in which cars parked in their own driveways have been issued with tickets for the crime of ever-so-slightly intruding onto the sidewalk. We think this one is especially insidious because the inspector is targeting you in your own home. It's just not cricket.
Getting fined due to constantly changing speed limits
There's usually no excuse for speeding, but many highways in Australia are guilty of having an array of speed limits that seem to shift at random. Some even go from 80km/h to 100km/h and then back to 80 in the space of 100 metres. It can turn the daily commute to work into a grueling memory test with failure resulting in a hefty fine and possible loss of license.
Getting fined while parked outside a school
Most primary schools in Australia do not come equipped with car parks beyond a handful of spaces for teachers. Parents are therefore forced to desperately improvise during the afternoon chaos. With scores of cars converging on the one place, it is not uncommon for parents to park on nature strips and other non-conventional areas for the few minutes it takes to collect their kids. We see nothing wrong with this (for the most part, at least): the cars rarely pose a danger to other motorists and what other option do the parents have?
Despite this, some parking officers have begun to deliberately target schools during closing time. The blaggards. As a parent myself, this shameless revenue raising really winds me up.
Getting fined for running an orange light
Running a red light is a good way to get an on-the-spot fine, but what about orange? Apparently, police have been known to issue tickets for accelerating at traffic lights even if the car comfortably makes it through on the amber. This is something that practically everyone in the world does (including cops), which makes it all the more hard to swallow.
Getting fined due to school zone confusion
Don't get me wrong; I think school zone speed limits are a good thing – but do there really need so be so many damn variants? Most states in Australia have several different school zone rules ranging from 40km/h at all times to 60km/h at certain times of the day. Knowing which rule applies where can be a tricky undertaking; especially if you don't have kids.
Getting fined for failing to use a designated bike space
Unless you live in Melbourne, finding a suitable parking space for your scooter or bike can be an arduous undertaking. It can therefore be quite tempting to leave your ride in a non-designated area where it isn't causing an obstruction. Unfortunately, ticket inspectors aren't a very forgiving breed.
Gizmodo editor Luke Hopewell was recently fined $101 for parking just a few feet outside of the designated area for scooters. ("The extra dollar really made it more insulting," Luke says.)
Getting fined due to poor car park signage
Restricted parking areas are supposed to be clearly signposted so that motorists know exactly what the rules are. This is not always the case however, with overgrown foliage, faded lettering and sparsely distributed signs conspiring against the driver. I've personally fallen victim to this council oversight but in the end I just paid the fine rather than waste a day in court. I still regret this pathetic capitulation. Never again!
Getting fined for exceeding the parking time limit -- despite moving your car
In some cities, including Sydney, moving your car just a few spots before the expiry of a timed parking restriction can still result in copping a ticket. To avoid a parking fine, you need to leave the "parking sector", which isn't particularly well defined. In at least one documented case, a woman was fined for exceeding the two-hour parking limit despite re-parking around the corner before the time was reached. Tch, eh?
Have you ever been fined unjustly for a parking or driving offence? Share you stories in the comments section below.