Can social media stop selfish parking?

If there’s one word guaranteed to grind a driver’s gears it’s ‘parking’. Whether it’s parking fines, dangerous parking, selfish parking, or just an inability to park, there’s nothing quite like it to get a motorist’s mad up. For some time, motorists have taken to social media, blogs and message boards to vent their anger over parking tickets, unfair fines or even how local councils are fleecing car owners. But, increasingly, it’s the drivers themselves who are left with nowhere to hide as more people are taking to Twitter to post first-hand evidence of the UK’s most inconsiderate parkers.
But can this modern-day ‘naming and shaming’ of motorists really help curb the problem of impatient parking? We caught up with the smartphone behind @ZigZagCriminals (who took the picture above) to find out…

Q. What prompted you to start @ZigZagCriminals?

A. As I drive around the Wirral I see awful parking everywhere, especially outside schools and even close to zebra crossings. I started the twitter feed to try and shame these bad drivers with their awful, impatient parking. Surely it wouldn't be so hard to park properly?

Q. Have you had much feedback from motorists?

A. I have had feedback from the public – but it’s mainly negative as it’s usually from the driver of the vehicle that ‘starred’ in the photograph.  In fact, I've had to report and block some very explicit comments and Twitter has been very supportive in this. On the other hand, I have had a few like-minded members of the public, locally and further afield, who agree with what I'm doing. And they have offered more photos and comments to add too.

Q. Have the police taken an interest in what you’re doing?

A. Not really but the local council looks in every so often and parks its camera cars in locations I've highlighted. So it's nice to see something is working.

Q. Do you think this kind of self-policing can help stop anti-social parking?

A. I don't think that this kind of [Twitter] feed will ever completely stop people from this kind of terrible parking. But I am seeing it less and less around the areas I drive. People don't like seeing their pride and joy (sitting on zigzags on the road) posted online for all to see – and a witty comment underneath.

Curbing problem parking

There’s no denying social media can be a powerful weapon in the fight against dangerous parking. Not only does Wirral Borough Council check in on @ZigZagCriminals to check for problem parking hotspots, a local council in Suffolk has praised a parking campaigner who publishes images of bad parking to his Facebook page. A Waveney District Council spokesperson said of the ‘Park it Right’ Facebook page based in Lowestoft, Norfolk: “Any public support and awareness for considerate parking can only be a good thing and if people wish to report incidents to us they can call us or look up 'nuisance parking' on our website." And if naming and shaming a driver is enough to make them think twice about stopping on school zig-zags or gate-crashing a disabled bay, it has to be worth a quick tweet. Just make sure you exercise a bit of caution and common sense when doing so – there’s no telling how some drivers will take to being outed as a zig-zag criminal. Would you name and shame an inconsiderate driver? Or have you ever taken to social media to complain about someone's drivng? Let us know... [embed width="600" height="355"][/embed]

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