Knowing your rights when it comes to the legalities of parking, and how car parks are managed, is important if you wish to enjoy convenient, affordable parking without finding that plastic envelope stuck to your windscreen when you return to your car. Even worse is waking up to those brown envelopes landing on your doormat demanding you pay a fine for parking where you shouldn’t – even if you can’t even remember!
Of course, if you wilfully flout the regulations, then you’re better off taking it on the nose and paying the fine. Often, if you pay within the first 14 days of the date of the offense, then the fee is reduced by 50 per cent. However, if you genuinely feel that you should not have received the fine, and you have the evidence to refute this, then you will need to lodge an appeal within 28 days.
Car parking surveillance
Unfortunately, in this day and age of ANPR parking technology – Automatic Number Plate Recognition – the coming and going of your vehicle will be logged in a computer system somewhere, providing irrefutable evidence that you have contravened a local parking regulation.
T is important to highlight what you need to be aware of to help you circumnavigate regulations and ensure that you are still in compliance. Contesting a parking fine is an expensive activity that is more often than not unsuccessful, – costing you even more in the process. The process of not paying can increase the fine by another 50 per cent. You will also be liable for any enforcement and court fees.
What to look out for when parking
There are a number of indicators that you need to be looking out for when parking your car.
Signs: wherever you are parking, whether it is on public roads or car parks located on private land, there will be signs every where explaining your rights and responsibilities as a vehicle owner. Many public car parks are located on private land and managed by car parking companies, and they are obliged to erect a board which states that by choosing to park in that car park, you automatically accept the costs incurred. This is as good as a legal document. You do not have the right to claim ignorance as a defence.
Pay the parking fee: if there is a parking fee, pay it. You are contractually obliged to do so. These days it is easier than ever to pay the fees, as an app based payment method is now utilised by car parks nationwide, avoiding the need to scrabble about in the glove compartment for any crumb coated coins to feed into a machine that is inevitably broken anyway!
Equally, these apps are great for showing you local car parking opportunities. And once you’ve parked up and paid, if you are off somewhere going about your business, and you inadvertently run out of time, instead of rushing back to the car to top up the meter, you can instantaneously increase the parking time through the app, and continue what you were doing without risk of a fine.
Don’t park on double yellow lines: you’d be surprised how any people still park on double yellow lines, and then complain that they have been issued a ticket. Though it is important to state that you can drop someone off on a double yellow line, providing your ‘stopping’ time is kept to a minimum, and that you don’t leave your car unattended at all.
Park with due care and attention: finally, make sure that you park properly – not halfway over a double yellow line, or half on the pavement causing an obstruction. Your wheels need to be on the road, within the lines of a permitted parking space.
Taking this all into account you have a greater chance of avoiding any parking fines.