Q I received an electronic ticket while traveling in France last month for exceeding the speed limit in a rental vehicle. I have no doubt that I did because I saw the flash of the camera and realized that the speed limit changed from 110 kph to 90 kph relatively quickly. No excuses, just didn't see the change.
The problem is that I received the ticket via mail and it is all in French. Since I cannot read French, I have no idea what is required. Short of tracking down an interpreter, what are my obligations?
I feel I should pay the fine since I committed the offense, but the only amount I can find on the ticket indicates two amounts in euros and I don't know which to pay. If I don't pay the fine, will I be forever in the records of Interpol and arrested as a fugitive should I ever set foot in France?
A Find someone who can read French and pay the fine. I have heard from a number of Americans in your situation who got hit with hefty fines and penalties when they went back overseas.
Q So our state gasoline tax is now 3.5 cents more a gallon as of Monday, making it almost 72 cents that we now pay in federal and state taxes, which is the highest in the country. To me it's no big deal. We need to pay even more to wean ourselves from our gas-powered cars, minivans and SUVs.
A But ...
Q The higher tax stinks. Some of us can't afford hybrids and are still feeling the impact of lost jobs, higher medical insurance costs and now more expensive fuel. I don't see others rushing to raise their taxes on gas.
A Actually, Wyoming just raised its state gas tax a dime, sending it from 14 to 24 cents a gallon for state taxes and 42 cents overall. Connecticut and Maryland also have hiked their state gas tax, by 4 and 3.5 cents a gallon respectively.
Q Would you please be so kind as to remind people commuting to work who normally ride BART to be aware of motorcycles? As a BART rider who has to commute from Bay Point to downtown Oakland, BART was the best solution until the strike shut down service. Fortunately, my husband (retired) and I own a motorcycle and he is willing to get me to and from work on it.
Unfortunately, some drivers don't realize that stop-and-go traffic necessitates us splitting lanes. We don't like to and we do try to do it as safely as possible, as we can't afford to have the motorcycle overheat and cause even more problems on the highway.
We always acknowledge those drivers who do move over to let us by and we are grateful that they do.
A Watch out for this motorcycling, lane-splitting team on highways 4, 24 and 242.
Q What can be done about parking at the Tamien Caltrain station? Overflow parking is in a pothole-filled dirt lot on the north end. It's despicable.
A I'm afraid there are no plans to improve parking here.
Q I want to let you know what happened to me the other day on the way home on southbound Highway 87. I was in the middle lane in stop-and-go traffic when my car died. I couldn't get it started and put my flashers on. Then a man drove ahead of me to the shoulder, got out, ran back to me and told me to put my car in neutral. He then pushed me safely to the side of the road. There are some really good people put there.
A Yes, there are, but as always, I advise drivers to not leave their cars, either while in a lane of traffic or on the shoulder. A freeway is a dangerous location.