Don’t give me your hand-me-down parking ticket.
Parking tickets are not real to me.
Sure, I know they exist, and I see them on the windshields of others, as I walk here or there. But they’re a little like cigarettes for those who don’t smoke. You pass by them all the time in the convenience store or the supermarket, but they hardly register on your radar, since you’d never consider buying a pack.
However, you are aware of secondhand smoke. Similarly, we car-free folk need to be aware of secondhand tickets.
SECONDHAND TICKET = When someone gets a ticket while driving their car for your benefit (visiting you, giving you a ride, etc.)
For instance, a while back when I lived in D.C., my friend drove down from Philly for a weekend visit. As she pulled onto my street, she called me to ask where to park. I was stumped.
Park? You mean like with slides and a swingset? What is this “park” you speak of?
I told her I thought that since it was the weekend, my street was OK. Then, I got distracted by something or other on the stove and let those other-worldly parking ticket concerns drift right out of my head. The next day, as I walked my friend to her car, we both saw the thin white slip flapping in the wind under her wiper.
“I thought you said it was OK to park here,” she said.
“Er, I guess I kind of remember people talking about how the rules had changed a while back,” I said.
I felt guilty for not having had enough knowledge of my neighborhood’s parking laws to assist visitors. I felt bad that my friend, who’d already paid in time and gas money to come visit me, now had a ticket to pay on top of that.
But I felt a little defensive too. How am I supposed to know about the parking restrictions? I don’t drive.
I decided to send my friend money to pay for half of my secondhand ticket (which I think was $30). I figured the ticket was at least as much her responsibility as it was mine, so a 50/50 split would be fair.
To this day, I’m not sure I did the right thing.
What do you think? Should I have paid the whole ticket? Are non-drivers who benefit from drivers to be held accountable—partially or wholly—for parking violations? What about more serious violations, like speeding or even accidents? Share your thoughts, won’t you?