I Got $53,000 In Parking Tickets In Just Two Years

Dailies -



Opposite-side parking’s a bitch in New York City, and any experienced street-rat is steeped in the tactics and strategies of dodging the bright orange fuck-yous so plentiful during quota periods. There’s the velcro license plate trick; the impenetrable, locking, teflon go-ahead-and-try-me bike covers that can’t be lifted; and the pedestrian island seek-higher-ground approach, which exposes the owner to an entirely new and insidious range of infraction. Whatever the case, sometimes you just can’t move the damn thing, and you have to roll the dice. But, you don’t expect the inevitable tickets to add up to $53,000 in just two years.

I’ve been screwed every which way — two tickets in the same period, slapped with a citation just one minute post-deadline after showing up breathless, sweaty, and contrite, and I’ve even been delivered the foulest blow of all: The bastards lifted the cover off my bike during a monsoon, cheerfully (I’m imagining) deposited a $65 ticket, and then cast the cover aside to let all susceptible parts develop a fine coating of rust.

But this time, I’m really screwed. Not only did the parking cop lift the cover off the bike (honestly, they’re allowed to — I can’t gripe much about this), they went to the trouble of finding the VIN on my 1972 Honda CB 750, which had been awaiting a vintage plate, and writing me up that way. Touche. I pay my tickets, as much as I hate to take the medicine. So, when I logged onto the UI-challenged payment system, I figured I’d have no trouble digging up my record. And then this. $53,365 across 682 infractions ranging from in tickets ranging from April, 2009 to the present.

Clearly a glitch in the matrix, right? But what is this curious hit-list of savagery at the hands of our kind bureaucracy? Is it a living record of every plate-less VIN-based infraction? Is it more specific than that — every VIN that starts with a CB750, as does mine? Or does the system just suck? Stay tuned. I’ll get to the bottom of this… In the meantime, your theories are welcome.

Matt Bean is the Brand Editor at Men’s Health and Women’s Health and presents Spike TV’s The Playbook.

  • ktaisa

    damn yo

    best of luck with that

    • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

      My reaction, verbatim.

  • slowestGSXRever

    Probably a software glitch from crappy programming. I should know, I’m a crappy programmer.

  • Deep6Dive

    that’s a kick in the pants.

  • Nik

    Damn, so shitty. I thought Tommy of FZR rat bike fame had parking ticket problems.

  • http://bloodfalcons.blogspot.com motoguru

    682 reasons not to own a CB750…

  • Brad

    Good luck getting that resolved. When you’re done, you might want to take on Middle East peace.

  • pplassm

    Thanks for living in NYC, so I don’t have to.

  • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

    Shit that’s a lot!
    Hope it’s gets solved quickly as i’m sure in the us you too have late fees so the amount could only go up…

    What’s the amount you think you actualy owe?
    I’m around $1150 a year when combining parking tickets, speeding tickets and general “your bikes makes to much noise or the turn signals aren’t the right shade of orange” nonsense.

  • Noah

    Tell them its not really your bike because ownership is just an idea man…

    • Erok

      far out brother!

      • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

        mind. blown.

      • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1100]


  • http://krtong.com KR Tong

    I keep hearing about how NYC’s no joke with parking/traffic citations, and even the police are protesting so the number of infractions given has been reduced a third, but that’s still tens of thousands of dollars.

    If it makes you feel any better: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/09/foreign_diploma_1.php

  • Erik
  • Robert Zapp

    Alternate Side Rules are no problem for a bike though – it is very rare that I can’t find a good spot within 50 feet of my front door. And I live literally one and half blocks away from the Maritime hotel and contend with assholes from New Jersey daily.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1100]

      Plus, the guys at the 111 8th Ave garage (entrance on 16th St right across from the Maritime) are great about taking in a motorcycle if you can’t find a street spot. They usually let me self-park mine overnight in the open space in front of the key cabinet. Xavier, one of the managers, is a KTM guy, and his son rides a KTM too.

  • Bronson

    I’d love to see more pictures of the suck ass interface. Wow.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1100]

      Making any sort of payments to the NYC government is totally FUBAR. I guess NYC’s web presence reflects its bureaucracy.

      Here you go — you can see it with your own eyes:


  • zero

    And here I thought getting hit with the no-plate/no inspection/wrong side of street 3 ticket combo was bad…

  • stefano

    so what is the official word on plate removal? i’ve watched cops come up my bike (in nyc) with no plates. they glance for a plate, see none, shrug and move on (while i smiley smugly from across the street). is it possible however that i have 53,000$ in tickets based on my VIN that i have no idea bout? because i will stop smugly smiling very fast.

  • Mike

    At some point don’t they just issue a warrant for the scofflaw’s arrest? Preferably somewhere around the high-3 figure amount? Maybe I’ve just been coddled by California’s light & breezy ways.

    Also, get a lawyer. You’d think an enterprising esquire would take it on for the PR value – especially considering you’re, uh, a journalist or something.

  • Plotts

    I’ve had my scoot towed once in Chicago for a missing plate. I’m surprised NYC doesn’t do the same. I know you can be towed here too for unpaid tickets (less than 10).

  • Alex

    …and this is why the VIN stamp on my frame is obscured with a sticker.

    (Velcro Plate) + (Hidden VIN) = No ability to track parking tickets.

    Yeah, I’m an asshole.

  • Kerry

    I’d seriously consider finding some sort of out of ate plate as far away from NY as possible (maybe through a dealer or ebay_. Woudn’t have to be the current design. Maybe even a Canadian one. Find someone to make some “real” looking stickers and velcro that one of sometimes. Being unaware of local laws might be enough to simply get a warning.

    • pplassm

      I’ve got some old USAREUR plates from Europe if you want one.

  • zato1414

    I think you need to move, no forwarding address and change your name.

  • adrenalnjunky

    might be time for your CB to be reported “stolen from the storage lot you parked it in 2 years ago.”, you know, since you just went back to get it and found it missing.

  • Core

    Piss on new york city is what I would say… That much in fines…I’d move. Seriously, that much money would help you relocate to another state, with no problems. It’d even be a huge down chunk payment on a house, or hell if an apartment you’d have it made.