Wrong way parking in Tauranga

‘Unforgiveable’ traffic offences spotted in Tauranga.

It's the difference between a no-nonsense, gun-toting California Highway patrolman and our own unarmed, considered and popular top traffic cop Tauranga Police's Senior Sergeant Ian Campion.

The same traffic offence but different country and different attitude.

Nothing gives CHiPs cop Monty Hight more pleasure than handing out a ticket for violation of 22502(a) of the California Vehicle Code – parking on the wrong side of the street.

“Nothing gets my attention more – not speeding vehicles, not reckless drivers, not fleeing felons.”

He says it's utterly unforgiveable that a lazy driver elects to drive on the wrong side of the road and park so they can step onto the footpath and not have to walk around their car to get where they are going.

He doesn't just want the practice to stop, he wants rid of the perpetrators altogether. He stops short of suggesting a return to the convict ships but he tells the perps to “go to England where it's legal”.

Ian Campion is much more conciliatory. He's more of an ‘educate them' type, ‘appeal to their better senses' type, rather than the punitive type.

“It's important to reaffirm with people that they are required to park on the left-hand side of the roadway," says our more reasoned Senior Sergeant.

Parking on the right side, which is also the wrong side, is definitely not to be encouraged.

But if necessary, motorists observed transgressing will get ‘pinged'. A fine of $40 thank you.

Patrolman Monty Hight is hardline. “I am certain those not in compliance with the laws have their reasons. But understand that in the morning when you find a citation on your windscreen, the officer also has his reasons.”

And those reasons are the same on either side of the Pacific Ocean.

To get to that illegal park on the wrong side of the road a motorist has to drive across the path of oncoming traffic. “And whenever you do that there are obvious risks,” says Ian. “It's an offence and yes, we would deal with it.”

Anecdotal evidence would suggest the offence is epidemic around Tauranga. That's not our policeman's experience.

“We see it from time to time and it's generally people who would prefer not to walk across the road,” says the Senior Sergeant. In other words the “unforgiveable lazy drivers” CHiPs patrolman Monty Hight so vehemently detests.

“I also wonder how many of the offenders are confused tourists or are new New Zealanders from the many countries where you can legally park on the opposite side of the road?” says Ian.

It's incidental that a seasoned The Weekend Sun staffer – he requested anonymity to save incrimination and embarrassment – got his first ever traffic violation for parking his faded red 1965 Morris 1100 on the wrong side of the road in Wellington's Island Bay. That was half a century ago, suggesting motorists haven't learned.

He had a good excuse, which got the citation ripped up. The 1100 was his first car and because he wasn't sure it would start he parked it headed downhill for a jump start.

Seems in Australia, in all state and all territories, you are also required to park in the same direction as moving traffic. Something about obstruction of your rear reflector lights at night causing unnecessary confusion for other drivers.

There is also an economic theory that penalties should be attached to behaviours that are correlated with crime and not necessarily to the criminal behavior itself.

So when you park facing the wrong way there's irrefutable evidence you committed the crime of driving on the wrong side of the road and you are about to do it again. Two more serious offences. But you only get charged with illegal parking.

Perhaps we are overanalysing. As the senior sergeant suggests – park with your left-hand wheels as close as practicable to the left-hand curb.



Posted on 21-01-2017 09:44 | By Capt_Kaveman

A complete waste of time, there are far more issues out there but police do nothing

Safety first

Posted on 21-01-2017 08:16 | By astex

The main problem here is that in order to leave the space when parked this way the driver needs to place half of the vehicle into the path of traffic before being able to see if the way is clear to pull out.


Posted on 20-01-2017 20:37 | By Fonzie

That there are some who dont see this as a dangerous practice This is becoming more and more common Perhaps we can be told how many are fined for itor are we waiting umtil someone is seriously hurt by it

job satisfaction !

Posted on 20-01-2017 19:42 | By ow

who would like to become a policeman so you could enforce this law ?

hang on a minute

Posted on 20-01-2017 19:18 | By old trucker

I agree with Mutley, Sgt,.Plod,needs to do just that focus on what you say,ive seen 20 people on phones today,it is not a perfect world,worrying about a car back to front,gosh the earth is going too fall in,when you are on a 6 figure salary,and have power, all hell breaks loose,if this is all they can find ,(1-2 cars) back to front, they have nothing to do, bet ya bottom $$$ they have done silly things in there lives,( Oh thats right they are perfect) Yeah right,my Shillings worth for what its worth, No1 Thankyou, 10-4 out.

Yeh right

Posted on 20-01-2017 18:09 | By maildrop

Move to the UK and learn how to park, drive, indicate, negotiate roundabouts and become all round better drivers......then come back here and see if you can help reduce the horrific road toll. Ironic that Hank is giving driving lectures - the road toll in USA is truly horrific. Check the stats.

Very lazy drivers

Posted on 20-01-2017 17:27 | By davidt5

Try living next to a primary school like I do. A dozen cars a day park this lazy way. Just guess what is the message that their kids are getting drummed in to them. Twice a day for 6 years these kids will observe this law breaking which is probably the reason that we are seeing this behaviour increase in such a spectacular way. But the younger police officer's are well aware of this behaviour as they must observe it when they are dropping or picking up their own kids outside the school. Also noticeable is that many of the driver's concerned are getting out of their cars with a phone glued to their ear.

Good reasons for the law

Posted on 20-01-2017 16:14 | By CMK

Bay Citizen, perhaps some good reasons for this law may change your opinion.The rule is that you must park in the direction of the traffic. In times of poor visibility it is good to be able to instantly know that you should keep to the right of red rear reflectors and to the left of the white park lights or the reflection of your own headlights rather than work out if the vehicle is parked on the wrong side of the road. Usually if its a quiet residential street then a three point turn is not a problem, or you can approach from the next intersection, or turn in the cul de sac. If drivers get in the habit of pulling onto the wrong side of the road in quiet street they will do it on a busy road without thinking. Do it correctly every time, is safest.

There is alot more to it...

Posted on 20-01-2017 15:11 | By GreertonBoy

Alot of it is to do with conformity and other peoples expectations. When a driver is driving down a street, he/she can be fairly confident anyone entering the road in front will be entering from the left... they will reverse out of an angle park and proceed in the same direction, or they will pull from the left curb and be going the same direction. If a driver is moving and has to dodge cars entering from the left and right and anywhere else drivers would park if there weren't rules to make things predictable. Worse would be a driver at night driving along a road when a car parked wrongly, facing him on the left switches on headlights... instincts say one should pass with the headlights on the right, so our driver could end up on the footpath at speed, Best obey the rules methinks. Play the game

Rear Reflectors

Posted on 20-01-2017 11:51 | By @)---}-

As said in the article, parking the wrong way can prevent night drivers from seeing your reflector lights. Is a safety issue really, it would appear people that park this way are purely lazy!

Hells bells

Posted on 20-01-2017 10:32 | By philiphallen

Just abide by the law, thats what they are there for. If not move to the UK as suggested.

Silly law - Should be repealed

Posted on 20-01-2017 10:04 | By Bay Citizen

This is one of those silly NZ laws that serves little purpose but to trip up tourists and new immigrants. A bit like the intersection rules that were changed a few years back and brought into line with the rest of the world. It is hard to argue that parking on the "wrong" side is any more dangerous than doing a three point turn in order to face the right way, particularly in quiet residential streets where this offence usually takes place.

Misdirected priorities

Posted on 20-01-2017 09:45 | By mutley

So the real danger to humanity here is what ? My experience is that parking on the wrong side of the road is only worth doing for a special and good reason, like unloading goods or a person out of the right hand side onto the kerb and not out onto the traffic side. Otherwise why would you bother ? Senior Sgt Campion needs to focus on the real risks like the thousands of unwarranted and non-compliant vehicles on our roads every day. Or the unlicensed or banned drivers who still drive with impunity. When was the last time you were stopped to see if you were legally entitled to drive and that your car is actually up to standard, never mind if your tyres are as bald as the proverbial badger. In my driving experience that has never been the primary purpose of a checkpoint.

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