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smart142

How to Park Your Smart Car in Europe

4 posts in this topic

Dec 19, 2010

robert gandini

What you can and cannot do with your Smart Car, what the laws are and where to park it on the streets of Europe.

PARKING SMART CARS IN EUROPE:

While still a rare sight in the U.S., the Smart car is common throughout Western Europe. It's another in a long line of tiny vehicles that have become popular on the continent. With higher gasoline prices in Europe and often small medieval streets, these tiny cars make life easier. While it may be tempting to park a Smart car in any little corner at any angle, it may not always be legal, and with more than 30 countries in Europe, the range of parking regulations and guidelines is almost endless.

PUSHING THE PARKING BOUNDARIES:

The Smart is so small that many people put it anywhere. You will find them parked sideways, at angles, between scooters, on the sidewalk and anywhere that there are five feet of space to fill. Throughout Europe you will see this so much that you might begin to think that those who drive Smarts are allowed to leave them wherever they please. It turns out in some places this is true.

PARKING LAWS IN EUROPE:

For the most part, the parking laws of continental Europe are far more forgiving than those in other parts of the western world. Drivers are allowed to park facing in either direction, even sideways if the car fits, and the Smart certainly fits. With a length that equals the width of most even modestly sized European compacts and sub compacts, the Smart finds perhaps its greatest talent. To park sideways means that more Smarts can fit in the tiniest space, that drivers can pull in and out of their spots more like a driveway than a parallel street space, and that you can now have a car that is just about as easy to park as a scooter and you wont get wet and fall down if it rains.

WHAT COUNTRIES ARE MOST LENIENT WITH PARKING LAWS?

Italy and France are perhaps the most lenient with their parking laws with Switzerland and the UK being the most stringent. All in all, Smart drivers are able to park in the same manner as all other drivers, save for some added benefits in certain locations. One definite and legal plus is that two or more Smarts will fit into a single parking space creating a two for one special on the rate for two lucky drivers.

WHAT YOU CANNOT DO WHEN PARKING IN EUROPE:

It is common to see Smart cars illegally parked on sidewalks, blocking crosswalks or at bicycle-only stands in Europe. However, these cars are subject to the same laws and fines as larger vehicles throughout the continent. Despite their small size, they fall under automobile rather than scooter regulations and may be towed, and dragging behind a tow truck on the way to the pound is not the best thing for your Smart.

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Source.

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WHAT COUNTRIES ARE MOST LENIENT WITH PARKING LAWS?Got stuck in a snow drift in Munich, and had to temporarily abandon the carThe traffic enforcement official dug down to it and gave me a ticketWhen I later questioned it, the explanation had to do with possible damage to snow plowsSometimes they are so efficient it hurtsWorst place ever to park, is in Santa Monica or Venice, CaliforniaEverybody gets a ticket, everybody, have a nice dayWhen you contest it, before the judge, it is invariably dismissed But the parking regulations are even more draconian in the vicinity of the court houses Easier to just pay it and scootCM

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