You know the score: you’re running late for a meeting, dinner date or flight, and need to find somewhere to charge your electric car while you’re gone.
So you head to the nearest parking garage where you know there’s free electric car charging, park up, plug in and head off.
But before you walk away, do you check to make sure you can use the spot, or just assume that you can because there’s a charging station there?
Enter Adam Meislik, a BMW ActiveE driver who recently parked his car at Los Angeles LAX airport while visiting the area.
What Meislik didn’t realize however, was that the bay he parked in was marked as both an electric-car only parking bay, and a handicapped parking space.
When he returned to his car, he found it fully charged but got a nasty shock on his window — a $363 parking ticket, presumably for not displaying a handicapped parking permit.
“It was the only spot left and it was farthest from my mind to look at the signage,” he admitted. “I saw acharger and that’s all I needed and I made sure to drive my ActiveE to the airport because at LAX parking is free for electric vehicles.”
While Meislik admits he was at fault, he argues that the signs next to the parking space are anything but clear.
At the top of a column next to the space he parked in, a sign says the space is “Reserved for Handicapped persons,” while the sign below it clearly says “Electric Vehicle Parking Only: Non-EVs Will Be Towed.”
Beneath that, another sign informs that “Disabled Persons Subject To Parking Rates,” creating a confused message to anyone using the space.
“Only handicapped people driving EVs can park in this spot and by the way if you are handicapped you have to pay for parking[?]”questions Meislik on the ActiveE Facebook page. “With all due respect to handicapped drivers, how many of you drive EVs and would be happy to pay for parking at LAX while I don’t?”
Because of the limited number of electric cars on the road today, there are some parking garages which double up handicapped parking with electric car charging, with an ‘either, or’ approach to parking enforcement.
That might seem like a particularly bad idea, but it appears that in order to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, some charging stations have to be in — or next to — electric car charging stations.
In Meislik’s case, either the parking was only for handicapped electric car drivers — or he was the victim of a particularly zealous parking warden.
Meislik is resigned to his fate. “I clearly violated the rule,” he writes, offering some sage advice to other electric car drivers.
“Read the signs carefully.”
You have been warned. If in doubt, find somewhere else to park.