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Even with 'license-plate immunity' parking tickets aren't easy to avoid

Sept. 10, 2003

By Marion Hixon, columnist

Even if you don't know me, there is a strong possibility that you have seen my car on campus. It is the Jeep Grand Cherokee that usually has multiple parking tickets under the windshield wipers at once. Sound familiar?

For some insane reason, during my freshman year, I believed that I had 'license-plate immunity.' This was basically a false power that I was able to convince my friends I had been gifted with. I figured since there were more cars at Baylor than parking spots, the administration should have figured that some violations were bound to occur.

Therefore, they picked out random student license plates at the beginning of the school year and granted them immunity to the system. I concluded that I had this immunity after I realized I could park in the 15-minute spots for more than 24 hours or leave my hazard lights on in the visitor spots, all without being ticketed.

If I really did possess this power, it quickly wore off when sophomore year rolled around. This is when the multiple tickets appeared. To this day I have received a ticket and fine for just about every parking violation possible.

When I would climb into my car and see this proud ticket stuck to my windshield, I was simply confused. Had the parking attendant's ticket machine gone haywire and printed two copies? And who were these officers anyway, who seemed to appear and disappear during the 15 minutes that I was illegally parked?

For obvious reasons, during the time that I was receiving these double violations, I began using my newly purchased bicycle from Toys 'R' Us.

The fact that the store specializes in toys should have been my first clue not to buy my bicycle there. Still, I bought it, partially persuaded by its colors that matched those of the Denver Broncos, and I quickly learned that my car wasn't the only object with wheels that was out of my control.

In the short history of owning my Pacific Blue bicycle, the tire has fallen flat off the rim several times and I have lost my left pedal twice.

These do not seem like such scarring or traumatic events until you realize that they happened in the middle of campus as my fellow students filed out of class.

Although these experiences took me to new limits of humiliation than I would have expected, I mastered the art of carrying my bike to the nearest lamppost, locking it up and sprinting to class.

Needless to say, I once again rely on my car as my mode of transportation, but use it as seldom as possible. I also am very thankful for the new Dutton Avenue Parking Garage and the legal parking that it has provided me.

I am determined to start this year off on the right foot, literally, by walking everywhere.