IT was done with the usual nonchalance. I was driving through Slaithwaite on Monday afternoon when the blue van in front of me pulled-over on Britannia Road.
Paying no heed to the double yellow lines – which are there to ease movement along a narrow busy road – the driver got out of his car and wandered off, looking not a bit concerned about the inconvenience he would cause other motorists.
My van-driving friend unilaterally decided that Britannia Road should go from a two-way to one-way street for as long as he saw fit to leave his vehicle there.
I had no option but to stop and let the traffic coming the other way pass before I could continue on my way.
No doubt if Blue Van Man is reading this he will protest that he was “just nipping into the shop for a minute” or one of the other tired excuses which the bone-idle use to justify their anti-social behaviour.
This kind of inconsiderate parking happens quite often in Slawit. Another bugbear of mine is the people who park on the double yellows right outside the Co-op on Lewisham Road, despite the fact there are nearly always spaces in the circular car park across the street or opposite the Wharfeside Inn.
Their motivation is not hard to work out: “Why should I park legally and take 15 seconds to walk to the shop when I could stick my car right outside the Co and be inside in two seconds?”
If Kirklees Council’s parking camera van hasn’t been to Slawit yet, I hope it comes soon and snaps some of these anti-social drivers.
For those of you who missed it, this week we reported that the council’s new camera van has been a roaring success, catching 1,435 illegal parkers in its first four months on the road.
Officials had originally hoped it would snap 1,500 inconsiderate drivers in its first 12 months, meaning its way ahead of schedule. Kirklees has already collected £30,000 in fines with much more money due to roll in as the parking tickets hit doormats across Huddersfield.
The story prompted that rarest of things on the Examiner’s website – praise for Kirklees.
Of the dozens of people who have commented on the story, many have left supportive remarks such as “great idea” and “excellent initiative”, while others have posted suggested locations for the van to visit.
But a minority of people who commented on the article resent the van’s presence on the streets.
One contributor said the van as a “money grabber” while another described it as “a nice little earner” for Kirklees. Another complained that the vehicle is “just another way of making money out of unsuspecting motorists”.
Those online comments demonstrate the same extremely strange attitude which I’ve mentioned before in relation to speed cameras.
There is a section of society – a minority but probably quite a sizeable one – which believes it is somehow unfair when state officials enforce the law of the land.
So the “unsuspecting motorist” is targeted by a speed camera or a parking van. These people believe the poor little driver who had to, absolutely had to, drive at 40mph in a 30mph zone or park on double yellows, is being victimised.
If, as some of these whingers claim, fines handed out by speed cameras and parking vans are “stealth taxes” then there is a very easy form of tax avoidance: obey the law.
If you don’t, and you get caught, then you are not a victim – except of your own laziness. You could have parked legally and walked for 30 seconds to your destination. But no, you had to dump your car right outside the door, double yellows or not.