Sunday 28 September 2008

the Wing Mirrors of Montpelier

This little Peugeot, KC51YBX, is showing that it has paid the price for not parking far enough up on the pavement of Fairlawn Road, Montpelier

Because it has paid the "wingmirror tax". Fortunately, being a French car, loss-of-wingmirror is something they assume happens a lot, so it will clip back on easily, or be replaced at at a low price.

It is German cars that tend to have a higher wingmirror tax. Their engineering team is given the goal of wingmirrors "fur autos ohnen geschwindigkeitgrenzen": for cars without speed limits. With a need to be stable at 220 km/h, they stay on when bolted on, and cost a lot when they come off. Take your merc or BWM round to the show room to get a new mirror and they will sit you down in a luxurious waiting room, serve you coffee, let you check your stock and bank balances with your macbook on their free WiFi, before breaking the news to you that the new wingmirror costs about the same as a new engine for a Fiesta, and that all your few remaining shares in non-nationalised banks will be required before you get your car keys back.

This may explain why we had an interesting encounter with a blue Mercedes estate driver while cycling back from work with a friend this week, on this very street. There I was, cycling far enough out to not hit parked cars or get squeezed by oncoming cars, when the oncoming car decided to come through anyway. I tried the "Stop the bike but not move in gambit", which normally causes the car to a halt, then we can negotiate the problem safely. But no, this car speeded up, got through safely, and then came to a halt, jumped out and started screaming at me about not getting over enough. That's the kind of incident where you are glad you know the back streets and the bike-only bits better, as there are lots of escape routes. Some drivers out there have anger management issues. Remember, if you are trying to drive round the back streets of Montpelier at speed, do it in cars with affordable wing-mirrors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't ypou brits get it? The Mercedes comes with the 'Eigebautesvorfahrtrecht': Built in right of way. That's what the driver was probably so upset about. You violated his basic rights.

Increasingly I've noticed that cars like Mercedes and BMW's have natty attachments on their mirrors so they fold in and upwards out of the way when parking. It's very kinf of them to think of pedestrians in this way and avoid blocking the whole pavement