Birmingham, England – Birmingham is the second largest metropolis in England, next to the capital of London, in the West Midlands, with well over three million residents. The people from there call themselves ‘Brummies,’ which hails from variations of the city’s dialect over the years, and derived from one of the city’s earlier names Bromwicham. But one pair of Brummies, living in the suburb of Erdington, are not very happy with their city, after being slapped with a £70 (~$113) parking ticket outside their home for sitting longer than 20 minutes.
Normally, no one is happy when getting assigned a ticket. We beg, plead, and finally acquiesce and pay it, knowing there is usually little to no arguing room. However, for couple Karl Wade, 37, and Rebecca Harbourne, 28, they were ticketed while aiding their disabled four-year-old son, Devon, into leg splints, and taking him to the car. He suffers from cerebral palsy, paralyzing him down the left side of his body. Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders, as there can be varying types and severities, that can involve problematic brain and nervous system functions, movement, learning, hearing, and seeing.
The warden, our version of a meter maid here in the states, appeared on the scene and fined the couple for obstructing (parking in a street work zone). A temporary ordinance had been put into place along the road they reside on, while it was being resurfaced. The couples’ home does not have a standalone driveway, and the parking lot behind the home was blocked with other vehicles. Surely it would be, with nowhere else in the area to park. What other options did the couple have?
Regardless of repeated appeals to have it expunged, the Birmingham City Council refuses to on lack of ‘merit,’ reports The Daily Mail. Birmingham City Council is the largest local authority in Europe.
In related news, The Mirror reports that traffic wardens in the United Kingdom are especially persnickety, using tape measures to see if motorists exceed 19 inches from the curbs they park near. If so, they are dished a £70 fine. The local council argues that leaving such a large breach from the curbside can be unsafe, causing traffic jams, obstructing visibility, and endangering pedestrians. Instead of getting an initial warning, then being fined for repeated offenses, drivers are given the excessive fine and given little room to get it rescinded. It’s likely the same ticketing trap Wade and Harbourne could have been snagged in, if not already for the temporary parking zoning on their block. Either way they’re being made to remit the £70, and like other motorists, they are outraged.