Earned myself a parking ticket yesterday. It was completely my fault, which compounded my anguish.
I needed to park in Leamington Spa town centre to take part in a 10km running race. I parked up, fed the meter, but in my haste I didn’t realise that one of my pound coins had gone straight through the machine and been ejected, so when I pressed the button for my permit, I’d effectively bought an hour’s less parking time than I intended.
That left me in a quandary. I wanted to park until 10.30am, but my time limit was now 9.30am. I’d be halfway through my run at the point when I needed to pump more cash into the ticket machine.
I could either drive around an increasingly busy Leamington to try to find a non-restricted space, or take a gamble on it being a Sunday and hope no traffic wardens turned up. So I took the gamble – and lost.
As I walked back to my car, I could see something purple under the windscreen wiper. Purple’s not a colour you’d associate with parking tickets – I’m thinking yellow and black – but as I got closer I knew the game was up. Agonisingly, the traffic warden was nearby, so if I’d pulled my finger out and run my race a few minutes faster I’d probably have beaten him to my Mini...
The fine was £50, reduced to £25 if paid within 14 days. I briefly entertained trying to think of a way of wriggling out of it – the meter machine closest to my car was out of order, and I wondered if I could use that as an excuse. In truth it was a fair cop, so I duly paid via Warwick District Council’s website this morning.
What’s the general view out there on fines? Do you try to exploit any loophole or get-out you can think of to avoid paying parking and speeding fines, or simply take the hit when you know you’re bang to rights? Have you ever fought the law/local council and won?