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I am sure many of us have come across ‘women only‘ parking spaces when driving through multi-storey car parks and in this regard the town of Triberg in the German Black Forest is no exception. In the town’s main parking building there are 12 parking spaces specially reserved for ladies which are wider than the average parking space, well-lit and close to the stairs. Clearly there is nothing unusual about this and the idea makes a lot of sense.
The 58-year-old Mayor of the town (Bürgermeister Gallus Strobel) has become something of a local celebrity because he his recently introduced an innovative dimension to reserving parking spaces based on gender. In the town’s new three storey car park, in addition to women’s reserved parking spaces, the town of Triberg has introduced men’s reserved parking spaces.
Clearly most of us are familiar with the logic behind women’s reserved parking. Issues such as security and ease of access with heavy loads or small children spring to mind. So what is the reason behind the men’s reserved spaces? It would appear according to the press quotations from the Bürgermeister that these are spaces that are slightly skewed or at an angle. Parking in these spaces requires extra care in order to avoid scraping against the stone boundary markers. These maneuvers are challenge to the most experienced and capable drivers but the mayor feels that generally speaking men are better able to cope with them than women.
Understandably this development in what the mayor describes as ‘sexual equality‘ (reserved spaces for both genders) has sparked something of a debate in the German Press. The usual clichés such as ‘women are better at multitasking’ and ‘men are better at parking’ are getting a good hearing.
If nothing else the incident has placed Triberg firmly on the map and almost certainly many accomplished drivers are likely to make a point of visiting the town to try out first hand the ‘men only‘ parking spaces. They are marked with the standard male sign of a black circle with an arrow coming out of it against an orange background. I wonder what the position of the insurance company would be if a lady puts in a claim that she had accidentally scrapped the car while parking in a men-only parking space?
Here is the location of Triberg for those interested in trying out their parking skills:
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