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Old 30th March 2009, 15:50   #1
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Default Traffic Police menace - Towing away of vehicles. What are the legal recourses?

Since I see a lot of people on tbhp baying for heavier fines, more laws and suchlike, to deal with the traffic chaos, I'd like to bring to notice the harrassment caused by the traffic department to innocent citizens.

This finally happened to me couple weeks ago. Have never experienced this happening to be before.

I parked my new bike alongside with loads of other bikes on a busy road, outside a Hero Honda showroom (Bhandarkar Rd), where I needed to go for a couple minutes. Im always VERY careful of parking vehicles anywhere and always check for no parking signs, any any other things that may damage or scratch my vehicles, or cause any nuisance to others, etc. There was no such sign, so I went in for couple minutes. On coming out, my bike had vanished!!!

There were chalk marks (see pics) on the road which indicated that it had been carried off by a traffic police truck. By-standers confirmed this.

Now the obvious question is why did they do this?! Upon looking very carefully, one could see the extremely faint signs of the white paint marking on the road. I have posted pics of the same. In reality, the white stripes are even more faint than that seen in the pics. This is because, somehow, my cam exaggerates whites. The white painted stripes demarcate the area where 2 wheelers can be parked. Apparently I could not see where the strip ended, as it was extremely faint. This really made my blood boil! Somebody from the HH workshop suggested to me to take pictures of the place with my phone camera as proof and then to go fight with the cops. They told me that many other customers have had their bikes picked up this way for no fault of theirs... as nobody can see the extremely faint white stripes... esp. in the evenings.

As I had heard of horror stories of how they handle bikes and the dents/scratches they mete out, I jumped into the 1st rickshaw to get to the place where the vehicles in that area are taken. What followed is another long story, as I was misdirected twice and ended up at different places. Finally, after spending a tidy sum on rickshawas and a lot of time, I found the right place. The truck had still not arrived and so had to wait for quite a bit.

After the truck arrived, I was on their necks to see that they handled it carefully. They are indeed quite rough. After this, to put it in short, had a long session of arguing, fuming, etc., etc with the cops. But I was adamant. My stand was that it was not at all my fault since the white marking was almost not visible... and its not my duty to maintain the pain on the road. The cops told me its not their duty to maintain it either, and that responsibility falls with the Corporation... and I should go and fight with them. I was very adamant and wanted to speak to the officer in charge of the police station. I was told he had gone for a meeting and can be expected in half an hour or so, but they cannot say for sure. I decided to wait. After much waiting, there was no sign of the officer. In short, I finally got fed up and had another round of arguing. Seeing that I was very adamant, they decided to let me off on a smaller fine.

As I had already wasted a LOT of time, had to cancel my other work and also miss a meeting, and had to go somewhere that I could not cancel, I finally decided to pay up the reduced fine and ran from there.

As a bonus, the rouges also caused several scratches to my new bike and also damaged one of the rear view mirrors slightly. And to think I do everything so meticulously to avoid scratches!!

After this incident, the other day, a friend of mine got his scoot carried off for no fault of his... similar incident! He ended up paying the full fine.

Now the question is what can harassed citizens like me do when we are harassed by the traffic police like this? The only thing they can do is pass the buck to the town Corporation and wash their hands off any wrong-doing. But it is they who pick up the vehicles in the 1st place and harass citizens in the 1st place! One still justify this for those who have wrongly parked their vehicles... but what about these cases where the dept. wrongly picks up the vehicles?

Also, I cannot fathom who has made this dastardly law of allowing these rouges to pick up vehicles at random. I was told they are empowered to do this thru a court order. I wonder what $#@$@%! Judge passed this kind of moronic law - a lot of vehicles are damaged/scratched by them on a regular basis. Who is responsible for this damage? Who will pay for the huge amount of time wasted and loss suffered due to inability to perform other productive work?

After such experiences, one can't help thinking that the traffic dept. itself is one of the biggest rouges set loose on our roads.
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Last edited by Technocrat : 30th March 2009 at 16:41. Reason: only two smilies please
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Old 30th March 2009, 15:54   #2
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What white line? Don't tell me that it is that layer of dust on which that bikes stand is on!!!
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Old 30th March 2009, 16:03   #3
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I can see a faint yellow line which is perpendicular to the bikes and a possible white line between the stand and the wheel of the parked bike
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Old 30th March 2009, 16:03   #4
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Well frankly you cant do much man. You parked in a no parking area and they took it away.

About the rogues handling your bike, well that scum thinks they are the police themselves. Not much we can do though. Unless you have some connections.

Be thankful other then the scratches you didnt lose anything else. My friend in Bangalore had his battery, rear view mirrors the heat protecting shield from the silencer on his CBZ removed while still being chained in a heavy rusted chain at the back of the commercial road police station.
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Old 30th March 2009, 16:06   #5
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This is a menace as you say.

The normal course of action to curb haphazard parking and illegal parking is to ensure that parking slots are clearly demarcated with reflective paint so it is visible in faint lighting too.

Second, have enough signages in local lingo and English for the benefit of those who cant follow local languages. Most of the time, these signboards are rusted and any markings on them are either beyond readbility or stuck with posters and adverts.

This is an organised crime of sorts and even the staff that the cops employ to pick up the bikes are not authorised or trained in any manner. I have seen bikers scoot for their lives when the police van approaches. Even in a bomb blast one would turn around and assess the danger and damage before fleeing.

Best solution to all this (which of course will never materialise as everyone involved is out to make a quick buck) is to have multi storeyed parking lots.

On saturday afternoon, I was at FC road and wanted to park my M800. Parked at 2 places, got off, strained my eyes to see the lines on the road, walked a bit in both directions hunting for signboards of sorts, restarted the car and hunted for a "safer" slot to eventually find an empty slot.

My suggestion is to report this incident to Pune Mirror. They would publish it IMO.

Last edited by n_aditya : 30th March 2009 at 16:08.
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Old 30th March 2009, 16:25   #6
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@Raccoon, a lot has been said about this (mal)practice in the press and the harrassment meted out by the police to unsuspecting people who park their two / four wheelers in places where no parking zones are not clearly visible.

Also, the way these Van's handle two wheelers is nothing short of viewing horror movie for not only to the vehicle owners but also to the public at large.

I am not sure what can be done of this menace, except that I take following precautions when I park my car or two wheeler on the road - 1. I always park wherever an option for paid parking is available. I have to par Rs 5, but that offers me a lot of peace in mind. 2. Whenever I have a two wheeler, I either park the same again in a paid parking zone or the parking space provided by the shop or in a by lane that does not have any NO parking sign on either side of the road.

I have been lucky, that with help of above steps, I am yet to face such an issue with the police.

take care and drive safely
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Old 30th March 2009, 16:41   #7
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@Racoon: As you have told about a white line. A faint white line is visible near the rear tyre of the motorcycle (splendor). Well going by this traffic police is correct the vehicle is parked out side the parking area. But they had mishandeled the vehicle and scratched. hardluck.

These trucks & pickup guys are picked on daily wages by the police officer. There is huge racket behind this. Mumbai mirror reports that many of this pick up vehicles 407 where owned by policeman themselves.

But from next time i will take much care while parking.
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Old 30th March 2009, 16:45   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfire
Well frankly you cant do much man. You parked in a no parking area and they took it away.
I agree, as owners we need to be extra careful. My bike has been towed exactly like in your case but then fault was mine I should have been more careful in parking.

As about the way they handle so far none of my bikes(Pulsar & RTR both got towed once) had any scratches besides when they have so many bikes to tow I dont expect(although I would want) them to be gentle.
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Old 30th March 2009, 17:32   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
I can see a faint yellow line which is perpendicular to the bikes and a possible white line between the stand and the wheel of the parked bike
Your observation in perfect! The line you see between the "stand and the wheel" is what demarcates the end of the parking area. But as I mentioned, the white strip is even less visible in real. You are seeing more of it as my ph cam exaggerates whites. In the evening esp. its totally invisible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shabahmad View Post
@Racoon: As you have told about a white line. A faint white line is visible near the rear tyre of the motorcycle (splendor). Well going by this traffic police is correct the vehicle is parked out side the parking area. But they had mishandeled the vehicle and scratched. hardluck.

These trucks & pickup guys are picked on daily wages by the police officer. There is huge racket behind this. Mumbai mirror reports that many of this pick up vehicles 407 where owned by policeman themselves.

But from next time i will take much care while parking.
Well, what they did was totally wrong! Agreed it was parked outside the area, but the goddamn area has to be remotely visible!! Also my eyesight is v sharp... and even I missed it! Imagine what happens with older people/people with poor eyesight? They are held to ransom for no fault of theirs!! My dad for eg. would find that strip totally invisible.
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Old 30th March 2009, 19:27   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raccoon View Post
Your observation in perfect! The line you see between the "stand and the wheel" is what demarcates the end of the parking area. But as I mentioned, the white strip is even less visible in real. You are seeing more of it as my ph cam exaggerates whites. In the evening esp. its totally invisible.
As far as I can make out from the picture, the line will not accommodate a Two-wheeler unless parked at 90 degrees to the current position.

I have seen in Pune that the cops are always hunting for the two wheelers and they way they handle them is really pathetic. Hot spots being: E-Square, JM & FC Roads.

It's always better to find a better parking place rather than facing these situations! After all, we are the ones who care for our bikes & cars!
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Old 30th March 2009, 19:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raccoon View Post
Now the question is what can harassed citizens like me do when we are harassed by the traffic police like this? The only thing they can do is pass the buck to the town Corporation and wash their hands off any wrong-doing.
You can raise an RTI with town Corporation and question:

1. Why was line not properly maintained?
2. When was line drawn last time?

If you have filmed the way tow truck handled your bike:

Ask for "action taken report" against private agency for damaging vehicles.
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Old 30th March 2009, 19:54   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
As far as I can make out from the picture, the line will not accommodate a Two-wheeler unless parked at 90 degrees to the current position.

I have seen in Pune that the cops are always hunting for the two wheelers and they way they handle them is really pathetic. Hot spots being: E-Square, JM & FC Roads.

It's always better to find a better parking place rather than facing these situations! After all, we are the ones who care for our bikes & cars!
Ninety deg. parking isn't possible when all other 2 wheelers are parked straight. Anyway, thats not the issue...

Finding "better" place is easier said than done! Finding ANY legal place take a lot of luck to begin with, considering congestion on the roads!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
You can raise an RTI with town Corporation and question:

1. Why was line not properly maintained?
2. When was line drawn last time?

If you have filmed the way tow truck handled your bike:

Ask for "action taken report" against private agency for damaging vehicles.
Intresting. But now I'd have to learn how to use the RTI act and spend time on it. Any leads?
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Old 30th March 2009, 20:02   #13
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RTI India - Complete Online Community Portal for Right to Information should help you to get started.

Application is usually quite straightforward. Just call your bank for 10 Rupees draft, frame your application using "Least possible words". And then follow up after 30 days.

EVERY govt organization that has a site would have a section dedicated to RTI.
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Old 30th March 2009, 20:49   #14
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Thanks! Will check it out once I can find some time...
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Old 30th March 2009, 23:50   #15
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You are not the only one to face this. I have too experienced this. I have seen the traffic cops in the truck getting beaten in front of my eyes.
What has happened to you is sad. If it were developed countries, we can ask for compensation for the damage done to vehicles. The way the vehicles are handled makes me feel that I should simply blast them off and raise hell. Its like tyrant ruling this country. I did bash up one such bike collector when he was going back home.

And regarding those while/yellow lines, forget they being faint. In broad daylight, one cannot even see this. And dont think of spending your own resources for putting up RTI. They will goof up the things. Best is to avoid being in these situations. If we are in one, we are almost but helpless.
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