London - The owner of a Smart car who was fined for parking at a right angle to the kerb has had the penalty overturned – after claiming it was recommended by the manufacturer.
Vanessa Price, 44, was issued the ticket when she squeezed into an on-street parking bay.
Although the ability of Smart cars, which are less than 2.8m long, to fit into small spaces at right angles to the pavement is well known – and a unique selling point – the traffic warden insisted that the front of the car overlapped the white bay markings, leaving it illegally parked.
He issued a £50 (R900) fine, which Mrs Price, who regularly positions her car in the unorthodox fashion, fiercely contested.
The business owner finally had her ticket overturned last month after a year-long battle.
Mrs Price, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, said at the time she was ticketed: “I have parked like this in Stroud, London and Bristol and never had any trouble before.
“If you go to the Smart website they show you pictures of their cars parked in this way.”
Smart, whose cars were first sold in the UK in 2000, says ‘urban mobility’ is at the heart of every car it designs and drivers can fit into spaces others reject on sight. Its website reads: “The Smart comes into its own in the most compact of spaces. So before you seek out the nearest car park, why not park right where you need to be?”
PROVING A POINT
Mrs Price won her battle at a parking penalty tribunal after the adjudicator said she had not breached any traffic regulation order by leaving her car as she did. “It was a ridiculous process and there were no winners in the end,” she said.
“I didn’t continue with the case because of the money, I continued because I thought it was wrong. In fact, it cost me more than £50.”
The adjudicator ruled that while drivers must park within marked bays in pay-and-display and permit-controlled areas, this was not enforceable in limited waiting spaces on the highway.
Mrs Price said she had met her fireman husband Steve, 41, in Stroud town centre minutes before being ticketed, which she said left her “fuming.”
As the pair were walking over to a Wilkinson’s store to buy some sweets, they spotted the warden next to their car and the couple went over to speak to him. “I tried to reason with him but he was having none of it,” Mrs Price added. “A lot of people were coming out of the shops and taking photos and saying how wrong it was.
“That is the whole point of a Smart car – to park it like this. It wasn’t blocking the road and there were other cars over the white lines.”
Commenting on the outcome, Jim Daniels, Gloucestershire County Council’s parking manager, said: “Parking tickets are assessed on an individual basis and no one case sets a precedent for another.
“The safety of road users has to be put first so tickets will always be issued, to any vehicle, when it is felt that they aren’t parked legally or safely.”