THEY are the drivers whose road sense seems to have driven off down the street.
But while in the past the worst they might find on returning to their badly-parked car was a strongly worded note, now they run the gauntlet of being shamed in an online rogues’ gallery.
Edinburgh’s Worst Drivers was launched in January with the aim of shining a spotlight on four-wheeled offenders whose random parking, boy racer antics and treatment of disabled bays as personal parking spots leaves others fuming.
Captured by other road users, pedestrians and cyclists using smartphones, car dashboard and cycle helmet cameras, pictures of the offenders have been uploaded to Facebook and Twitter.
It has generated quite a reaction – and not all positive for the site’s founder who has found himself subjected to abuse and insults.
“I’ve been surprised at the aggression,” says the 29-year-old, who asked to keep his identity secret to avoid further abuse.
“I post a photo online and people commenting will turn it all around and start abusing me for showing the picture and the person for taking it. I get abuse and comments along the lines of ‘get a life’ and that I’m sad and invading people’s privacy. They are missing the point completely.
“They’d be quick enough to moan if someone was blocking their pavement or driveway.”
The images – from fairly minor parking blips where motorists have inexplicably left vehicles sprawled over two parking bays in a near empty car park to others which show delivery trucks blocking disabled spaces – have flooded in since the Facebook site was launched.
Some at the less serious end of the scale could be put down to simply being lousy at judging how to actually move an ordinary-sized car into a typical parking bay – with some poorly parked cars managing to straddle three spaces – while others reveal a shocking lack of consideration and care for other road users, pedestrians and cyclists.
Offenders shamed on the website include a mobility aids delivery driver who, in a sublime feat of irony, managed to take up two disabled spaces by parking lengthways across them.
A video posted by one site user shows school-run parents dropping children outside Stewart’s Melville College on Queensferry Road, blocking the cycle lane and then remonstrating with the cyclist for filming them. Scores of other cars are pictured bumped up on pavements or abandoned on busy corners.
In one disturbing video submitted to the site, two cars are filmed waiting in the cycle box at a set of traffic lights, side by side, then racing each other as soon as the lights change with one forced to eventually give way or face smacking into bollards.
The man behind Edinburgh’s Worst Drivers says he wants to simply highlight how inconsiderate some drivers can be in the hope of making the roads safer for everyone.
He says: “When my kids grow up, I want the roads around where we live to be safer for them. There have been times I’ve done stuff like some of the pictures, but this has made me realise that whatever you do affects someone else, so just don’t do it.
“I’d like to think it’s helping to have an effect on what people do, but judging by some of the abuse, I think some people will do what they like.
“There are some that say they don’t have any choice because the roads are so bad and the tram works and so on, but every driver should be used to all that stuff by now. I don’t think there are any excuses for some of it.”
Police today urged motorists to be aware of how they park their car, saying: “In general we would encourage people to park safely and correctly and avoid causing obstructions to other road users. If anything was brought to our attention in terms of vehicles causing obstruction to others, then we would take action.”
Visit www.facebook.com/EDIWorstDrivers or Twitter @EDIWorstDrivers.
Be aware of taking the law in own hands
WHILE supporting anything which raises driving standards, motoring groups sound a note of caution over snapping and shaming potty parking.
Neil Greig, director of policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, says: “What this site has done is keep the issue of low-scale daily driving irritations in the news and that is a good thing because it means the authorities can’t get complacent.
“The downside of these sites is that it can lead to a minority thinking they can go a bit too far and take the law into their own hands.”