It happens every time that I go grocery shopping; at least one - but usually it's like three or four - vehicle(s) will be parked in the fire lane that's clearly marked and signed in front of the store.  Sometimes there will be a person sitting in the parked vehicle behind the steering wheel but often there isn't. I've even seen cars parked in those cross-hatched areas that are so close to the "no parking" sign that it's almost knocked over.

I wonder what goes through these peoples minds.  What form of reckless disregard for the law - not to mention common courtesy - do they embody?

Listen - I get that sometimes you're picking up somebody that's been in the store. Still, find a parking spot in one of the legally-marked areas; Hell - double-park at the beginning of the marked lines while you pick up or drop off someone; just stay out of the blatantly-marked fire lane.

I might even look the other way if you were assisting an elderly person or a legally-handicapped person into the store.  But I usually don't see this as the case.  Too often  the people that I see using the fire lane as a parking spot have no physical needs whatsoever.

I've even seen people park their car in the fire lane just to go inside the store to the service desk to buy cigarettes, lottery tickets, and newspapers.  I have no problem with people who smoke cigarettes, play the lottery, and read the newspaper - each of those activities is completely legal;   Parking in the fire lane isn't.

Fire lanes were established in order to maintain enough room for fire trucks, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles to access the building that the store is in.  At this same store that I grocery shop at every week - the one where I always (and I mean always) see people parked in the fire lane - I have witnessed an ambulance arrive, lights flashing, only to have to dodge the parked vehicles in the lane and double-park in the actual driving lane.  This should not have to be the case.

So what can be done about fire lane parkers?  Well, the authorities could be called so that citations could be written to the offenders.  But this takes law enforcement off of more-vital duties.  No one should have to tell someone to practice common sense.