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Blog: Is it right to shame bad parkers?

Poor parking is increasingly likely to be photographed and highlighted online. But does shaming really encourage inconsiderate drivers to mend their ways, asks Maria McCarthy.

Badly parked Audi

I hate inconsiderate parking and have written before about how much it annoys me when drivers park in places reserved for disabled people or on the pavement

But I have to admit that although I've sometimes been tempted to remonstrate with them or maybe put a note on their windscreen I've never actually gone ahead and done it. 

Others, however, are taking action online and publishing photographs of bad parking to shame selfish motorists into behaving better.

Parking shaming blogs  

Paul - not his real name - is 43 and from Cardiff. He set up a blog, Cardiff Parking, in March 2014.

On his blog, as well as on the Twitter page @Cardiffparking1, he posts pictures of inconsiderate parking in his area.

"I've got a young child so bad parking around schools particularly angers me, and I get annoyed when I see it elsewhere," he explains.

Badly parked Ford

"So I decided to do something about it. I want to flag up the problem to the council and encourage them to employ more traffic wardens."

But Paul is doubtful that shaming alone will have any effect on certain motorists.

"Some of them are so inconsiderate they'll just do what they want to do anyway."

'I want to shame my girlfriend's bad parking'

And parking shaming isn't the preserve of strangers.

Adam Davies, 30, a community manager from Cardiff, is so dismayed by his girlfriend's poor parking that he's considered setting up a blog with photographs of the worst examples to embarrass her into improving.

But unlike inconsiderate parking where shaming may be effective, maybe this is more a case for education and understanding.

A refresher lesson (or maybe a few more) with a driving instructor would probably get Adam's girlfriend parking very capably. 

The writing's on the windscreen    

Parking shaming happens offline as well - and can take a pretty outrageous form, as reported by radio presenter Elliott Webb from Birmingham.

"I was at Fort Park Shopping Centre in Birmingham.

"A Porsche driver had parked their car on the white line in between two spaces - taking up both to ensure it didn't risk a scrape.

"But on the windscreen in lipstick someone had written the worst swear word you can possibly imagine."

Would you call the traffic wardens on neighbours?

I've even been parking shamed myself - or rather, my friends have.

Badly parked Peugeot

When I lived in a terraced house with a mix of residents' and unrestricted parking, some friends came to visit with their children.

They parked directly outside, which was in a residents' spot, but only for the amount of time it took to unload their baby paraphernalia.

Before they'd finished, a traffic warden turned up on his motorbike, saying he'd been alerted by neighbours.

Once he saw the situation he was happy to let the matter drop and I think he was actually rather embarrassed to have been called out over such a minor issue. 

But what should we do if inconsiderate parking is annoying us?

What is the best approach?

Obviously alerting a traffic warden is one option.

But remonstrating with people can lead to angry responses.

Even leaving a note under a windscreen wiper has some risks - if the wiper is affected you could be accused of criminal damage.

And if you are outed as an online parking shamer, you could face quite a backlash.

Maybe the best approach is to lobby for more traffic wardens, or support the campaign for better legislation against parking on pavements run by the Living Streets charity.

The charity supplies posters about pavement parking that can be downloaded and displayed in local shops or community centres. 

What do you think?

Would you challenge a driver over inconsiderate parking? If you have, what happened?

We want to hear from you! You can share you views on our message board below.

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Maria McCarthy

Maria McCarthy

Maria McCarthy is a motoring and lifestyle journalist and author of The Girls' Car Handbook and The Girls' Guide to Losing your L Plates published by Simon and Schuster. She's also a regular on BBC Breakfast news, and local and national radio, commenting on motoring matters. Her pet motoring hates are potholes and high fuel prices.

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