Motorcycle Parking Etiquette – Beginner’s Guide

Troy
| Last Updated: May 19, 2021

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There are guidelines and rules for when you’re riding your motorcycle, and there are rules for parking it as well.

Knowing where and how you can park is part of riding etiquette.

Parking should be done in such a way that it’s convenient for you and, at the same time, not a nuisance to others.

How to Properly Park a Motorcycle

Knowing how to park properly is in your, the public, and the bike’s best interest. Here are a few factors to consider.

What is the Best Method for Parking?

Parking on a flat, firm surface is the easiest method of parking, whether you choose to use the side or center stand. Make sure you have enough room to maneuver into your parking space and out again when you leave. 

Even though that’s the ideal parking situation, more often than not, it’ll be more complicated than that. Curb parking will almost always involve parking on a slope. Never park parallel to the curb, but at an angle of around 45 to 60 degrees to it. This prevents your bike from protruding too far into the roadway and also makes parking and leaving easier. 

Parking on a Slope

Consider the camber of the roadside. If it’s too steep, it may be difficult to lean the bike on its stand and lift it again later, particularly for heavier bikes. 

Your best approach to parking on any sort of slope is to reverse the bike into the spot, which is physically a lot easier than attempting to reverse it out again. 

Photo credit: cycleworld.com

Parking on Wet Surfaces or Uneven Ground

Consider the surface you would like to park on. If it’s slippery or wet, your feet will slip, and this could lead to an embarrassing and possibly dangerous and injury-causing fall. 

Ensure that the surface you’ll be parking on is firm. Your stand will be bearing most of the bike’s weight while you’re away, and if the stand penetrates the surface, it could become embedded, or even worse, your bike could fall.

Parking Around Other Vehicles

If you’re parking between other motorcycles or vehicles, leave enough space so that you can access your bike and maneuver without disrupting the drivers on either side. If you have difficulty maneuvering your bike, you’re too close.

Before leaving your ride after parking, check that it’s secure and isn’t in danger of falling. Consider if there are high winds present that could affect it while parked.

How to Park Motorcycles When in a Group

Parking motorcycles in a group should always be done with care and consideration. Park with enough distance so as not to impose on the bikes around you, and try to avoid a domino-effect situation should your bike or another near it fall over while parked.

Common courtesy is always the cardinal rule when parking. Try to park in a position where you’re not impeding other traffic or pedestrians. By doing so, you can avoid collecting a few scratches, or worse, by the time you return.

Dos and Don’ts When Parking a Motorcycle

There are some things you should and shouldn’t do when parking your motorcycle. While many of them may appear obvious, you’d be surprised how many people aren’t aware of them.

Common Guidelines

Do observe signs and laws regarding where you may and may not park. Different countries, states, and cities have different regulations, but quite a few are standard worldwide. In most cases, the same rules that apply to cars apply to motorcycles too.

Do park in normal parking spots. This is perfectly legal. Do park far enough back so that the rear of the bike is visible between other cars.

You may share a free parking space with another motorcycle, provided that you allow free access to the other rider. Don’t, however, park in a paid parking spot occupied by another rider.

Obey the local laws that forbid you to park within prescribed distances from pedestrian crossings, intersections, fire hydrants, and other utilities.

Photo credit: proride.ca

Observe parking times. Some areas may allow parking during specific periods. An example is a curbside that allows parking during off-peak periods but becomes an active traffic lane at peak hours.

Don’t park on the sidewalk! This is forbidden just about anywhere in the world. Sidewalks are designated pedestrian areas and should be respected as such. Apart from being illegal, you also run the risk of damage while parked there.

Demarcated Zones

Disabled parking bays and the demarcated surrounding areas are no-go zones, don’t park there. This is heavily penalized in some countries, and so it should be. Most disabled zones have wide parking spots to permit wheelchair access. Don’t be tempted to park in those spots!

Don’t park in striped areas! These are demarcated for a reason and could be anything from drop-off zones to emergency areas. You may find a ticket awaiting you on return or that your pride and joy has been impounded.

Consideration for Others

Don’t park between cars! Apart from being inconsiderate, you’re leaving the cars with less space for getting out of their spots, and you’ll probably be invisible to the drivers you parked behind, leaving your bike at risk of being run into.

Motorcycle Parking Laws

As we mentioned previously, different laws may apply to different regions. It’s always a wise idea to make yourself familiar with your local laws and those that apply to any area you may be visiting. Some areas may be more or less lenient with their regulations than others, so never assume that you can do something in a new town that you can do at home.

Generally, sidewalk parking isn’t permitted anywhere. There may be exceptions in instances such as roadside cafes, etc., where an allocated area is reserved for this purpose.

California law compels the rider to have one wheel touching the curb while parked at a roadside.

Seattle simplifies it further, stating that a motorcycle may not park in any place where a car cannot park!.

Parking close to utilities or emergency points is usually prohibited. That includes crossings, intersections, fire hydrants, evacuation zones, loading bays, ally entrances, among others.

Look at the lines on the side of the road. Some lines denote no parking, emergency parking only, etc. 

Photo credit: sfcitizen.com

Conclusion

While motorcycles do allow us more freedom than cars, we have seen through this article that they’re still governed by very similar laws and regulations. Parking your bike should be done in a considerate and sensible manner. Obey the signs, and always ensure your ride is parked safely and unobtrusively.

People Also Ask

Here are some popular questions about motorcycle parking. We hope you’ll find the answers beneficial.

Why Do Bikers Park Backwards?

When parking at the roadside, you’ll probably encounter a cambered curb. Reversing your bike at an angle will allow you to use the power to pull you out of the spot when you leave, as opposed to having to push your way out backward, which can be awkward.

Can More Than Two Motorcycles Park in a Free Parking Spot?

Yes, provided you leave enough space so as not to be in the way of the other rider(s). If you feel too close, chances are they’ll feel the same way. Use your judgment on this, but it’s perfectly legal.

Can You Park Your Motorcycle on the Sidewalk?

In short, No! It’s illegal virtually everywhere to park on the sidewalk. It’s also inconsiderate, as these areas are for pedestrian use.

Can Motorcycles Park Between Cars?

It’s legal in some states to park between cars. However, we don’t recommend it. You’ll be reducing the space available for the cars to move, and your bike may be invisible to the car you parked behind.

Troy

Hi, my name’s Troy. I started riding motorcycles with Clay mid-2020 and soaking up his vast knowledge of bikes. I have been writing for a few years and decided it was a good time to start writing about what I’m passionate about - motorcycles. No matter how bad your day is, a bike will always make you feel better, that’s my motto.