Earlier today, I found a ticket on my car for $40, claming that I had parked over a fire hydrant. Aghast at this fine, I went to check in the road code and found that a fire hydrant is signified by a large yellow circle with "FH" written in the centre. Upon investigation under my car, all I found was a yellow piece of metal, denoted "SWANSON". Aware that I was in Kelburn, Wellington (not sure why they need fire hydrants, all the houses in kelburn are damp), and not Swanson, and that there was nothing to say "FH" or Fire hydrant, I felt obliged to ring the Wellington City Council, where I was spoken to rudely by a woman(as opposed to a lady). She told me that I would have to write a letter to contest it, but said that I would more than likely not get off, because, although the space I parked was, in fact, a clearly marked 'carpark', the Wellington City Council could place 'restrictions inside restrictions'. Disillusioned with her local government socialist rant, I hung up, and felt compelled to write this letter, outlining the facts:
To whom it may concern,
Today, at 11.13am, my Toyota Corolla (registration ******) was ticketed on Glasgow Street, Kelburn, Wellington, with the reason given that it was parked with 500mm of a fire hydrant. On inspection under the vehicle, I saw that there was indeed a metal cover painted yellow, with nothing but the word "SWANSON" on its face, and on the road, a yellow triangle (albeit, rather faded). The issue I must take up, however, is that according to the Official New Zealand Road code, 2006 edition, a Fire Hydrant is signified by a circular marking, with the letters "FH" in the middle. This was not how the fire hydrant in question was marked, and it would require specialist knowledge to work out what exactly was under the metal cover. Indeed, I am not a specialist in fire hydrants, merely a motorist. For this reason, I am challenging the infringement notice and $40.00 fine, as I believe it is highly unfair on the part of the Wellington City Council to assume that motorists can work out what a Fire Hydrant looks like, without correct sign work as per the Road Code.
For your benefit, I have included a photocopy of what the road code states as correct signage for a Fire Hydrant. I have confidence that you will see fit the unfair nature of such an infringement notice, and hope that higher authority in the Wellington city council decides to provide better markings. Much as I hate the fiscal inconvenience of a fine, I would more hate to have inadvertently parked over a poorly marked fire hydrant, and caused an inconvenience to the Fire Service, and the potentially worse consequences of such an action. I am confident that the Wellington City Council would not like the onus of such a situation put on them also for their undeniable part in such wrongdoing.
I thank you for your time, and sincerely hope that your road- marking issues can be resolved, as well as the judgment of your Parking Officers. Feel free to pass onto them the excerpt from the 2006 Road Code that I have included.
W R Hainsworth
So, who thinks I'm in the wrong? And any ideas? I don't wish to make a financial contribution to a council who will spend it on making Wellington City even less motorist friendly, so any thoughts are welcomed!