I had to take my motorbike into Westminster and after shackling my motorbike down with every lock I own. I went to pay the motorbike parking fee.
I do not usually take my bike into London but I do have the ‘Ringo’ app to pay for parking. As I went to pay I realised that I had my car’s registration number registered and not my bike’s. With a crappy signal I struggied adding the bike’s number and in the end, gave up. I got to my meeting, and once I had a solid wi-fi signal I put my motorbike’s registration number in and paid, at ll.17am.
At the end of the day I went back to my bike and I had been ticketed at 10.46am, about 15 minutes after I had parked. Can I appeal the ticket? The parking ticket is for £40 and it says that If I do not pay it in 14 days it will go up but the ticket also says that if I do appeal and my appeal fails my £40 fine will not go up until after the appeal, is it worth the bother?
By all means appeal – I too have appealed a Westminster parking ticket. Mine was for a misplaced digit on my registration number, having a fat-fingered moment with a smartphone. Technically it was a non-payment, because the payment had not been paid for the right motorcycle, but my personal experience of Westminster council is that it is usually pretty accommodating.
The factors that can be taken into account when appealing a ticket will be set out, so anyone appealing a local authority ticket – whether for a car or a motorbike – should Google the local authorities’ public statement on parking-ticket challenges. Most will usually follow the same discretionary principles.
The first is, does your appeal have merit? Obviously you cannot pay and display on a motorcycle otherwise your ticket will get pinched or blown away, so if you are paying on an app, like Ringo, it is dependent upon phone signal and the app actually working. Therefore you can show, or at least raise an inference, that you had attempted to pay.
The second element is objective evidence. You clearly paid and Ringo will give you an email receipt. The authority cannot pretend parking apps are entirely glitch-free so you paying later is definitely a relevant factor in your favour in this case.
The third element is credibility, if you can show you made efforts to pay (and the burden of proof is not high) then you will be heard sympathetically. You should be fine, as this is not something you usually do. If you have asked for discretion frequently or you have a number of unpaid tickets, then discretion will not be exercised in your favour.
So by all means appeal – you have nothing to lose. My experience is that local authorities tend to be quite quick to give the benefit of the doubt – whereas the private parking companies simply fail to engage with any issues that you might raise, send ever-more threatening letters and may eventually escalate matters up into the County Court.
As far as the private operators are concerned, I have represented people in court about half-a-dozen times and have yet to have a parking company succeed in getting judgment for a parking ticket. Obviously, I have a pretty major advantage in that I am an experienced litigation lawyer and I know how to play the game rather better than the parking companies. The private companies start on the basis of bullying and hectoring, whereas the public authorities do seem to be very much more pleasant to deal with on the whole.
RiDE Magazine October 2018