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SAY What?

Two parts cultural commentary, one part personal ranting. Serve with a side of political debate. May contain sarcasm.

Did Zaragoza Really Just Fine a 4 Year Old?
03 October 2014 @ 13:38

It sounds like the headline on one of those satire websites. You know the ones like The Onion which posts fake news because that's their idea of funny. But knowing the way Zaragoza works, it wouldn't surprise me if it were true.

Last week Zaragoza changed their highway code overnight. Cyclists used to be welcome on pavements that are more than 4 metres wide. Now they are banned from every pavement in the city. They're also banned from pedestrianised areas in the city centre and from bike lanes which are drawn onto the pavement. Now all cyclists must travel on the roads with the cars and buses and if any cyclist is seen on the pavement they're being fined.

The police are handing fines out left, right and centre. There are no signs in the streets about the changes and the police are just lurking around corners waiting for unknowing cyclists to ride past so that they can stop and charge them 50 euros. The general consensus, regardless of how you feel about cyclists, is that the main motivation of the rapid changes, the lack of publicity and new signs, is to fine as many people as possible to make a quick profit for the Ayuntamiento. 

Yesterday a story came out that a four year old on a tricycle was fined, or at least his parents were, because he was cycling along on the pavement instead of the road.

I'm not 100% sure if this is a true story, a rumour, or propaganda for the pro-bike anti-ayuntamiento movement.

No local or national newspaper has covered the story, only several blogs and independent websites. The child in question is not named and neither are his parents. There’s no photo. I'm sure if this were true, the parents would be outraged and would be giving interviews.

All the stories and tweets lead back to this one website; El Ventano ( which is a blogspot blog run by someone who doesn't give their real name, only a pseudonym; Qaesar. This is definitely not a satire website, but to what extent it can be trusted as a reliable news source is debatable.

The only thing that gives the story some credibility is that one of the major political parties in Spain, Podemos, have tweeted about it. Of course, they're notoriously left-wing and anti-big-government, but I’d like to think that the third biggest political party in Spain would do their research before propagating false stories. But this is Spain. Anything can happen.

I’m on the fence about whether or not this actually happened. I've seen an eleven year old stopped and fined because his tram pass had expired. Maybe they would fine a 4 year old. Only time will tell. If the main news channels and papers pick up the story and if the parents come forward then we’ll know for sure. Until then I leave you with my conclusion:

1. If it is true, this just goes to show how bad the situation has got in Zaragoza. That the city council is so twisted and evil and (probably) bankrupt that they’re willing to fine a four year old child.

2. If it’s not true, this just goes to show how bad the situation has got online. That random people, with no credibility are producing lies and spreading them rapidly for their own personal gain. That people are so gullible that they’ll take an anonymous blogger’s word for something. That they’ll then repost it and well… this:


I don’t know which conclusion I fear the most.


Post Update 4/10/14

I've just verified the story as true. Except it wasn't a four year old, but a THREE YEAR OLD. His mother is a friend of a friend and was fined 150 euros for letting him use a tricycle on the pavement. 

In this case conclusion 1) is correct 
as well, I'm going to add conclusion 3) Zaragoza has some really slow news reporters, and/or the local newspapers are in the ayuntamiento's pockets and are refusing to publish a story like this.

Where's the Daily Mail when you need it!

Like 0


jess869 said:
03 October 2014 @ 21:14

It's true. I've verified the story. Except it wasn't a four year old, but a THREE YEAR OLD. His mother was fined 150 euros for letting him use a tricycle on the pavement. Turns out the mother is a friend of a friend.

In this case conclusion 1) is correct
as well, I'm going to add conclusion 3) Zaragoza has some really slow and really crappy news reporters

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