The compact form a motorcycle has generally makes it easier to maneuver them and get them to where you want to go. Having such a small vehicle can be extremely convenient in a lot of ways.
Motorcyclists often wonder about certain places they can park and if the smallnes of their vehicle makes it an exception. You may have also noticed motorcycles parked in various places that may seem a bit out of place such as sidewalks.
Can a motorcycle park on the sidewalk? In most places, it is illegal for a motorcycle to park on the sidewalk unless it is privately owned and the owner has given the rider permission to park there. Motorcycles are generally required to follow the same traffic and parking laws as any other motor vehicle.
As a motorcyclist myself, I’ve often been curious about the rules about motorcycles and where they can and cannot park. I’ve been able to do some research and can explain the rules of parking on the sidewalk as well as some other helpful pointers.
Why Motorcycles Can’t Park On The Sidewalk
It is incredibly tempting as a motorcyclist to park on the sidewalk while you’re at the grocery store or some other business. Motorcycles are small and they don’t seem to be in the way too much, so what’s the problem?
I’ve heard many motorcyclists say they’ve been parking their motorcycle on the sidewalk for years and have never gotten a ticket or had any consequences. This may hold true for many, but just because you don’t get caught doesn’t mean it’s right.
Despite what everyone else says or does, it is illegal for motorcycles to park on any sidewalk whether it be the sidewalk leading up to the grocery store, on the sidewalk by the road, or a sidewalk in your neighborhood. It’s easy for a motorcyclist to get away with doing something like this but all it takes is one policeman who isn’t favorable and write a big fat ticket within two minutes.
Motorcycles are required to follow and abide by the same rules as any other motorized vehicle. Cars are not allowed to park on the sidewalk and you don’t ever really see them parked right up next to a business, so a motorcycle isn’t allowed to either.
There are a lot of frustrations when it comes to parking a motorcycle. We’re required to park in normal parking spots just like cars, yet drivers still get mad about it because a small vehicle is taking up “a whole space.” Sometimes it’s risky because other drivers are unaware and think the spot you’re parked in is empty and whip right in the parking spot without seeing your motorcycle.
But there are also risks involved with parking on the sidewalk as well. Aside from getting a hefty parking ticket, a motorcycle parked on a sidewalk can also block foot traffic including people using dollies to haul large items and workers trying to bring a long line of carts back in the store.
Not all of the foot traffic walking by your motorcycle is going to be respectful of your property. Some of them may be annoyed that you’re parked there or you may have some children who don’t know better that touch and possibly knock over your motorcycle.
Many people argue that some bigger businesses with large parking lots aren’t monitored by the city police so there’s no chance of them getting a ticket. While that may be true that the police holds no jurisdiction over said business, the manager still has a right to contact the police and have them write you a ticket.
Motorcycle Parking Etiquette
Aside from parking on sidewalks, motorcyclists have some other misconceptions about where they’re able to park their vehicle. Again, it’s so easy to park a motorcycle almost anywhere but that doesn’t mean that you should.
Since you can’t park on the sidewalk, especially at businesses, that means the whole parking lot is free game, right? Actually no. Many motorcyclists end up parking on striped lines in parking lots which is also illegal.
Most striped lines in parking lots are designated for handicap accessibility. Some people don’t understand that the striped lines are so big because some vehicles have large ramps that require a lot of space for a person with disabilities to get out of their vehicles safely. Parking a motorcycle in striped areas like this is not only illegal, it’s just straight up rude.
Some will argue that they’re not parked on the striped lines beside the handicap parking spot, rather they park on the striped lines in the isle between the shorter side of the parking spot. Again, that is still illegal and that is still obstructing a passage way for those with disabilities to get to the business without having to walk out in moving traffic.
Metered parking is also another big debate among motorcyclists. Some believe that they can park in between two cars parked in metered parking and/or that because a motorcycle isn’t as big as a car, they don’t have to pay for metered parking.
I personally have become very frustrated with this because in theory, a motorcycle is a smaller vehicle and shouldn’t have to pay as much as a normal car. Unfortunately, most cities don’t let you do that because anything with a motor that is parked on their property owes them money, no matter how big or small.
It is illegal in most places for motorcycles to park in between two parked cars in metered or paid parking spots. Not only are you going to get a ticket for not paying the fee, but you may get another ticket for obstructing the passage way for the other cars.
The cars parked there may not have enough space to move out of their spot and may accidentally hit your motorcycle. Click here to see more information about motorcycle parking etiquette.
How To Protect Your Parked Motorcycle
The main reason a lot of motorcyclists park on sidewalks or other forbidden places is because they want to protect their ride. Motorcycles are especially susceptible to damage because unless you ride one, most other people are unaware of motorcycles and may not know what to look for while driving.
One major concern I’ve heard and experienced myself is that someone will get mad that you took up a whole parking space and move your motorcycle somewhere else that warrants a ticket. Luckily there are a few things you can do to protect your motorcycle while it is legally parked.
First, make sure that you never pull in all the way in to a parking spot unless you are sharing it with another motorcycle. Park your motorcycle just far enough in to the spot that you are within the lines but still far enough out that other drivers will be able to quickly see you. It may be a good idea to put some sort of neon colored cloth on the end of your motorcycle so it’s more noticeable.
If you are parking in a public place, it’s always a good idea to use some sort of motorcycle lock. Motorcycle locks are pretty small and inexpensive. You can get one that locks through either the back or the front tire rim so the motorcycle can’t move. Some of them also have alarms that go off if it senses that it’s being tampered with. This will repel any jerk who attempts to move your motorcycle so they can park in your spot.
A Few Exceptions For Motorcycles
Now that we’ve covered a few things that motorcyclists can’t do, let’s go over a few things they can do and some of the exceptions given to motorcyclists.
Fortunately, the law has seen that though motorcycles are motor vehicles, they should be give some exceptions. A lot of businesses will have parking designated for just motorcycles. And they’re usually really close to the entrance. Don’t forget to take a few minutes to look for these spots before you resort to sidewalks or striped lines.
You are also allowed to share a normal parking spot with with another motorcycle. This is also very appreciated by other drivers because two motorcycles aren’t taking up two whole parking spots.
You’ll need to make sure that the motorcycles aren’t obstructing any passage ways of the surrounding cars and that your motorcycle isn’t interfering with the other motorcycle if you don’t know the driver. Click here for more information I’ve compiled about parking two motorcycles in a single parking spot.
Can motorcycles have handicap plates? It is possible for motorcycles to have handicap plates. A handicap plate doesn’t always mean the person has a walking or mobility issue, rather it can also be issued to those who have heart or lung diseases, a problem that would not impact the rider’s ability to navigate a motorcycle.
Can a motorcycle use a bike lane? In most places, 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 than the vehicles in the lanes of traffic next to them. Click here to see more information I’ve written about riding in a bike lane.