No ParkingFire Lane What is the first thing you think as you see either of these signs?

Could the obvious answer be that you shouldn’t park anywhere near these signs?

If parking is forbidden near these signs, then why are there still people parked in fire lanes in front of grocery stores, department stores, and other places? Why are people still parking in no parking zones in neighborhoods and near schools?
In answering those two questions, I have to make a few assumptions. My first assumption will be that some people park in fire lanes and no parking zones because they feel if they stay with the vehicle, they are not technically parked. My second assumption is that some people feel that their errand is so quick it does not merit the trouble of “parking” in an appropriate spot. My third and final assumption is that some people don’t care how long they’re waiting in a no parking zone. Some feel they’re entitled to park wherever the heck they want.
Now keep in mind my argument is based on assumptions and is technically invalid. However, I do not want to take the time and research to go ask people parked in these zones what their deal is. For one, it could be dangerous, and two, I’m lazy. So if you can get over the fact that I’m basing an argument on assumptions, read on!
To rip apart my first assumption, I would have to look up the definition of parking. The word park as applied to vehicles has three uses with definitions from

  1. park, n. A position in an automatic transmission that disengages the gears and sets the brake so the vehicle cannot move: put the car in park and turned off the engine.
  2. parked, v. tr. To put or leave (a vehicle) for a time in a certain location.
  3. parking, v. intr. To park a motor vehicle: pulled over and parked next to the curb.

The first definition of park states that the car is in the park position when the car’s gears are disengaged and the brakes are set. So when you put your car into the “Park” position, you are parked. So what if you just pull your car to the nearest curb and just hold the brakes down without putting your car into “Park”? Well, according to definition No. 2, that is parking as well. Besides, definition No. 3 also covers being pulled over and the actual state of being parked next to a curb.
So if my first assumption regarding people in no parking zones is true, then those people are simply in the wrong. They are technically parked, and are in illegal standing and should be towed, whether they are in the car or not!
Now onto my second assumption regarding people not thinking their errand merits the inconvenience of actually parking in an appropriate space. These are the people that stop suddenly in front of you to allow their family to unload in front of the store, or the people that leave their vehicles in no parking zones to run in for a small item. Let’s go back to definition No. 2. If you are parked, even for a short period of time, you are still parking. I would even consider unloading or loading material at no parking zones parking. How many times have you had to drive around a vehicle because they were letting someone out of their car or picking up their children? It’s extremely dangerous and rude.
My third assumption is that some people simply don’t care where they park, as long as there is an available space. I have encountered many times where a man was parked in a no parking zone reading a book, or doing something else besides driving. They were simply killing time. In fact, a long time ago, my wife and I ran across a lady in a parked vehicle (no parking zone) who stared my wife down and gave her a dirty look. Yeah, like we’re the idiots?

Related Story

In a related story, a judge ruled that a guy parked near the curb in a zone marked as “No Parking” and “Fire Lane” was not parked illegally. I do not agree with this ruling, and if a judge is not willing to enforce “No Parking” zones, then why should the police even bother?