Riding a motorcycle provides a lot of freedoms to the rider such as being out on the open road instead of being confined inside like you would most other vehicles. Unfortunately, motorcycles can’t provide all the freedoms we’d like when it comes to parking.
A lot of motorcyclists assume that because their vehicle is smaller, they have the liberty of parking wherever they want as long as it fits and it’s not in anyone’s way. You may be wondering if whether or not a motorcycle is capable of getting a parking ticket in such circumstances.
Can a motorcycle get a parking ticket? It is completely possible for a motorcycle to get a parking ticket. Motorcycles are considered to be motorized vehicles and therefore are required to follow the same laws and rules as any other vehicles which includes how you park it. Motorcycles must park in designated areas and also pay for metered/paid parking.
When I first started riding a motorcycle in college, I learned very quickly about the do’s and don’ts to motorcycle parking because campus police are especially on top of any violations. It’s a good idea to understand where you’re going to park your motorcycle when you take it out for a spin so you don’t have any tickets to pay for later.
How A Motorcycle Can Get A Parking Ticket
The truth is, you can’t just park your motorcycle anywhere aside from a designated parking place and assume you won’t get a ticket for it. You may have been able to get away with parking in irregular places before without getting a ticket, but all it takes is an ornery authority having a bad day to smack a fat ticket on your seat.
If you ride a motorcycle, it’s best to stick with this one simple rule: only park where a car can park unless there is a sign that specifically says motorcycles are permitted to park there. Motorcycles are considered motor vehicles and are therefore expected to follow the same rules as everyone else.
There’s a lot of debate about whether or not a motorcycle can park on the striped lines of a parking lot. The answer is no, you cannot park your motorcycle on the striped lines and could very well get a ticket for doing so. See my article here for more information about parking in areas like this.
Motorcycles are also not permitted to park in handicap areas unless there is a handicap sticker on the license plate. You also cannot park on the sidewalk. Both of these scenarios will also warrant a parking ticket.
Perhaps the biggest question among motorcyclists is parking in metered and/or paid parking lots. These often raise a lot of questions because some cities are different with their rules on these types of parking lots.
Some cities do allow motorcycles to park in between who cars in metered parking without needing to pay. Some cities also allow more than one motorcycle to park in one paid parking spot. But these cities are few and far between and I wouldn’t recommend assuming you can do this with no repercussions.
Again, when it comes to metered and paid parking, assume you still need to follow the rules as any other vehicle and park accordingly. Do not park in between two cars parked in metered parking spots. Not only is this illegal in most places, but it’s also incredibly rude to the car drivers who may now have a difficult time getting out of their spot because your bike is in the way.
Motorcycles can park in metered parking, you’ll just need to park in the actual parking space and pay for the spot. Motorcycles can also park in paid parking lots but, again, will need to park in one whole spot without sharing and pay for that spot. Car drivers may be annoyed that you took up a whole parking spot for your small vehicle, but it’s better to have someone annoyed at you than having to pay for a parking ticket.
There’s been an issue among motorcyclists about pay and display parking lots. This means you pay for the parking ticket and display your receipt in the windshield. This is often difficult for a motorcycle because some of them don’t have windshields in the first place and they’re susceptible to getting stolen from other people who put it in their car.
If possible, avoid pay and display parking lots altogether if you’re riding a motorcycle. If you have to park there but still get a ticket because your receipt blew away or someone stole it, you can fight the ticket. That will be explained later in this article.
Technology is getting better every day anyway and pay and display parking lots are becoming a lot more rare. Most parking lots will simply let you pay over the phone or through a kiosk where you state your license plate number.
Correctly Parking In A Parking Spot
A lot of motorcyclists are a little wary of parking in normal parking spots because not only do other motorists get annoyed that they’re parked there, but cars may not see them in that spot until it’s too late. This is a legitimate concern and there are ways to make your motorcycle more noticeable while still parking legally.
If you are parking in a parking lot stall, make sure to not pull all the way in to the spot, meaning don’t pull up to the top of the stall. Don’t stick out of the stall either because that could get you a ticket. Rather, park far enough in that you are between the lines but far enough out that other motorists will be able to see the back of your motorcycle before they run into it.
It also helps to have some sort of neon color on the back of your motorcycle. This can either be a sticker, flag, or piece of clothing that will quickly catch the attention of a potential parker.
If you are parking on the curb, especially in metered parking, there’s a correct way for motorcycles to park. It’s best to not park completely parallel to the curb. Instead, back your motorcycle into the curb so the tire is touching it and your motorcycle sits at a 45 degree angle to the curb. This ensures you’re not completely hidden but you’re not sticking all the way out either.
Places A Motorcycle Can Park That Other Cars Can’t
There are a handful of places that a motorcycle can park that other vehicles aren’t allowed to do. City laws do recognize that motorcycles are smaller vehicles so there is some leeway granted for them.
There are a lot of parking lots out there that have an area designated specifically for motorcycles. There will usually be a sign that says it’s meant for motorcycles to park. The stalls are usually a lot smaller, just the size for a motorcycle to fit into. Don’t forget to look around a little if you’re parking in a big parking lot, there may be a spot just for your motorcycle.
Motorcycles can also double park in a normal single parking space in an un-paid parking lot. This means that if there’s already a motorcycle in the stall and there’s enough room for you, you’re okay to pull in next to them and park without fear of getting a ticket if you’re not blocking anyone’s way. This does not mean you can share a parking spot with a car. See my article here for more information about double parking.
How To Fight A Parking Ticket
It can be incredibly frustrating as a motorcyclist to get a parking ticket. Especially if you’ve been parking in the same spot or in the same way and suddenly get a ticket for doing it.
If you end up getting a ticket, assess how and where you parked. Did you make any violations such as parked on striped lines or between two metered cars? If you know you are in the wrong, you’ll likely have to pay the ticket.
But some motorcyclists do find themselves in predicaments because they truly were not in the wrong but still got a ticket. Whether it was because someone stole your parking receipt or you simply have no idea why you got the ticket in the first place, it’s possible to fight the ticket and not have to pay it.
Examine your ticket carefully. There should be instructions that’ll tell you where to go at what time to contest the ticket. Also examine the ticket for any mistakes on it. Is there a wrong letter on the license plate or a type-o on the address? If so, this may warrant a dismissal of the ticket when you go in to contest it.
Be prepared to provide evidence that you were in the right. This may include something like a bank statement showing the date, time, and amount you paid to the metered or paid parking. Take pictures of how your motorcycle was parked as well as any vague or faded signs that could have easily been missed that caused you to get a ticket.
Be apologetic and courteous when you show up to contest your parking ticket. Being respectful during this situation should at least get your ticket amount reduced if anything else.
Can a motorcycle use a bike lane? It is illegal for a motorcycle to use a bike lane. Bike lanes are specifically designated for bicyclists who are non-motorized and therefore much slower. A motorcycle using a bike lane can be dangerous for both motorcyclists and bicyclists. Click here to see my article for more information.
What happens if someone knocks over your motorcycle while it’s parked? Not a whole lot of damage should have happened to your motorcycle when it was knocked over, mostly cosmetic. If there was significant damage done, you may be able to put a claim on your insurance though you will still need to pay your deductible.