Riding a motorcycle gives a sense of freedom while you’re out on the road and there’s not quite like it. Motorcycles have made transportation easy for users and are lighter on emissions.
People assume that the freedom they feel applies to the way they park their motorcycle. There often seems to be confusion among motorcyclists about what is the right and wrong way to park their bike.
So, what is the proper motorcycle parking etiquette? In general, motorcyclists are required to abide by the same parking rules as any other motorized vehicle. This includes no parking on sidewalks or striped areas and payment is required in any paid parking lots or metered lots unless otherwise posted or instructed by a land or business owner.
As a motorcycle enthusiast myself, I took the liberty in researching the right motorcycle parking etiquette that will hopefully save someone out there from getting a parking ticket.
Parking On Sidewalks
It’s not uncommon to see motorcycles parked on sidewalks, especially at large businesses such as grocery stores or malls. If you’re a motorcycle owner, you’ve probably done it yourself as well.
Most motorcyclists continue to do this because they “get away with it” and “haven’t gotten a ticket yet.” While this may be true, parking a motorcycle on any type of sidewalk is illegal.
Motorcyclists assume that because their vehicle is smaller, it doesn’t bother many people while it’s on the sidewalk and they’d annoy other drivers by taking up a whole parking spot anyway. The truth is, no matter where you park your motorcycle, people are going to be mad about it so you might as well do it legally and not risk getting a ticket.
Though a lot of motorcyclists do “get away with” parking their bike on sidewalks, they risk getting a hefty ticket by parking there (unless the business owner has consented to them parking there).
You also risk annoying pedestrians that have close access to your motorcycle. If you cross the wrong person, they may just “accidentally” bump it with their shopping cart. Kids will have no restrain walking around it which could knock over your bike as well as injure someone.
Parking By The Curb
Often times motorcyclists are left nowhere to park but beside the curb. Luckily, it is perfectly legal to park a motorcycle here as long as signs don’t indicate “No Parking” or the curb isn’t marked.
Be wary when parking a motorcycle on the curb that’s connected with busy streets. While it still may be legal to park a motorcycle there, some drivers may be less aware of motorcycles which could be hazardous to your bike.
When parking next to the curb, it’s best to not park your motorcycle completely parallel to it. There’s a tried and true way to park in places like this that provide the best results safety wise for your bike.
Back your motorcycle up to the curb so the back tire is touching it. Park at about a 45 degree angle so you’re not parallel to the curb, but you’re not sticking straight out either. This provides nice organization if you’re riding in a group and park together and is also much more noticeable to other drivers passing by.
Metered parking is often a hot debate among motorcycle riders. There are a lot of misconceptions about what you can and cannot do with a motorcycle in this type of parking situation.
Often times motorcyclists will park in between two cars that are parked in metered parking. Again, motorcyclists will often say they get away with this, but there are a lot of risks when parked this way.
It is illegal to park in between two cars parked in metered parking. Authorities may not notice the motorcycle parked there which is why a lot of riders get away with doing that. However, if one of the cars move, you’re considered to be parked in that spot in which you didn’t pay for which will easily get you a ticket.
The drivers you parked between may also get annoyed with the motorcycle. Metered parking is already crammed as it is because cities try to fit as many as possible for more revenue. Parking between two cars in metered parking gives both cars less space to get out of their parking spot. Your bike may get bumped or knocked over.
Motorcyclists are required to pay when parking in metered parking unless it is otherwise posted. If you are parking in metered parking that is curb side, abide by the parking procedure previously stated about parking by a curb.
Parking In Striped Areas
You’ll also often see motorcycles parked in striped areas of parking lots. As a motorcycle owner, you may have done so yourself. It may seem harmless by doing so because motorcycles don’t really seem to be in the way of anyone.
Parking in striped areas with a motorcycle is also illegal and you will run the risk of getting a ticket. Again, a lot of motorcyclists claim to park in places like this many times without getting a ticket. Not only do you risk getting a ticket, but it’s also extremely inconsiderate.
Most striped parking areas are for handicap access. All striped areas around a handicap parking spot is designated to give handicap individuals the space they need to get in and out of their vehicle safely.
Many patrons who use those parking spots are in wheelchairs and may be chauffeured by another driver. When wheelchairs are involved, that often requires a lot of space for the ramp to come out to let the individual out safely. Wheelchair ramps can be located on either side of the vehicle as well as the back.
Other striped areas of parking lots that are not surrounding handicap parking are still striped for a reason. That often indicates a warning for other drivers to not drive on those lines or cut corners, but most of the time other drivers don’t abide by that. Parking your motorcycle there will risk the chance of a car running right in to your motorcycle. Click here for more information I wrote about parking a motorcycle on striped areas.
Parking In Normal Parking Spots
I’ve heard a lot of people ask if motorcycles are able to simply park in normal parking spots. It is perfectly legal and is actually encouraged that motorcycles park in normal parking spots just as any other motorized vehicle should.
Motorcyclists have expressed their fear of parking in normal parking spots because they’re afraid of making those who are driving a car angry for taking up so much space for such a small vehicle. Car drivers really need a reality check because a motorcycle parked in a parking space is perfectly legal.
The second thing motorcyclists fear about parking in normal parking spots is the risk of a car not seeing it and pulling in to the spot. While this is a legitimate concern, there are ways to park your motorcycle that will get it noticed quickly by other drivers.
Parking your motorcycle at an angle and don’t pull all the way in to the parking spot. Leave the back tire out just far enough for other car drivers to see that the parking spot is taken, but not to the point where the tire is outside of the stall. For extra assurance, try putting a neon colored flag on the back of your motorcycle.
Sharing Parking With Another Motorcycle
There are a lot of questions about about sharing a parking spot with another motorcycle. A lot of this depends on the situation and where you are parking.
If you are parking in a normal, free parking space, it is permissible to share a parking spot with another motorcycle. In fact, most of the public appreciates it because that means one less parking spot that taken up by a motorcycle.
If you see another motorcycle parked in a free parking spot but don’t know the owner, most motorcyclists agree that it’s okay to park your bike next to theirs as long as you don’t park in a way that’s obstructing access to their motorcycle.
When it comes to paid parking, you cannot share a parking spot with another motorcycle. If two motorcycles are parked in one paid parking spot, both will probably be ticketed. This is because the city wants to make as much revenue as possible and two vehicles in one spot is lost money. See my article here for more information about multiple motorcycles parking in the same spot.
Can more than two motorcycles park in a free parking spot? There is no set law about more than two motorcycles parking in the same free parking spot, but it is not advised to do so. Anything more than two motorcycles in a single parking spot makes it hard to access the motorcycles and will cause concerns for safety.
What should I do if my motorcycle is stolen? If your motorcycle is stolen, you should report it missing to the police and get a copy of the report, report it missing to your insurance company, look for it yourself, check online listings to see if someone is trying to sell it, and post pictures of it on social media. Click here to see my article for more info.