How to Park a Motorcycle – Parking Etiquettes to Know!
Like other motorized vehicles, some restrictions require riders to park motorcycles in a certain way. Parking can be daunting, but it is an essential skill for any motor vehicle owner.
In this guide, I outlined a complete procedure on how to park a motorcycle safely and securely. You will also learn some important motorcycle parking etiquette to help you get along with other drivers.
I’m an experienced motorcycle enthusiast and have been riding my bike for over ten years. I know the ins and outs of riding situations and can help you learn how to park your motorcycle correctly.
Table of Contents
How to Park a Motorcycle
To park a motorcycle, make a wide turn as you enter the slot to get enough wiggle room for adjustments. It is advisable to position the bike at a 45 to 90-degree angle to the curb, with the handlebars facing the street. This will increase your bike’s visibility to passing vehicles. Also, as you park, ensure the wheel or fender of your motorcycle is touching the curb.
Parking a motorcycle is similar to parking a car, but there are key differences to remember. Here is a step-by-step procedure on how to park a motorcycle safely.
- Identify the space where you want to park your motorcycle, ensuring it is well-lit and visible. It would help if you did not park in areas prone to flooding or other hazards. Also, before pulling into the parking spot, take a moment to check for any traffic or pedestrians.
- Slow down and use your turn signal to indicate to other road users that you plan to park on that spot. Go ahead and park the motorcycle, ensuring the angle of the back of the bike is facing toward the parking space or partially parallel to the curb. The wheels should point in the direction you want the motorcycle to go if it falls over. If parking on a slope, make sure you point the bike uphill.
- After getting as close as possible to the slot, turn off the engine and engage the steering lock. Then place the side stand down to secure the bike and dismount. You should now be able to walk your bike freely to the available parking space.
- Before walking the bike, pull the clutch in and make sure your fingers are covering the brake levers. You can use the clutch as a brake if the parking bay has a slope.
- Hold the back of the bike with your hand, keep the bike upright and slide the side stand away from the ground. Now, turn your body so that your feet are pointing in the direction where you will park the bike. Use your legs to drive the bike backward with your eyes fixated on the parking space. You can gently correct the steering, so the bike goes inside the space nicely.
- Once you get the angle right, disengage the clutch and put the motorcycle in first gear. Then, place the side stand down. However, ensure you put your bike in neutral before kick-starting it when leaving the parking area.
It’s important to note that you must maintain proper spacing with the other motorcycles parked beside your bike. If you park too close to others, you and the other motorcycle owners could find it challenging to move the bikes afterward.
Parking too close also puts the motorcycle in danger of being knocked down, damaged, or scratched.
Remember that you can also park the bike while sitting on the saddle. But you should first practice getting comfortable handling the bike at walking speeds. It will make parking much easier.
What Are the Parking Rules for Parking a Motorcycle?
In general, motorcycle riders are required to abide by the same parking rules as other motorized vehicles. This is why a motorcycle owner should know some simple motorcycle parking etiquette. Some important ones include:
1. Parking on the Sidewalk
Parking on sidewalks is illegal in many places and may attract huge fines and tickets. Motorcyclists tend to do it because some “get away with it.”
It is common to see motorcycles parked on sidewalks, mostly outside malls and grocery stores. We tend to feel it is easier to park right where you want to go, especially because bikes are relatively small. While this might be tempting, you should not do it.
Remembering that motorcyclists should follow the same parking rules as other motor vehicle users is key. This includes not parking on sidewalks. Parking on sidewalks may inconvenience and block pedestrian paths.
This is bad road etiquette, as you should consider all road users. Not only that, but pedestrians can get aggressive with you!
Additionally, pedestrians or sidewalk vendors may accidentally bump into your bike and cause damage. The damage may cost you a lot more for repairs.
2. Motorcycle Meter Parking
There are many misconceptions about motorcycle parking in spaces controlled by parking meters, and usually, the contentions are about whether motorcyclists should pack there or not.
Bikers always tend to squeeze between cars parked at a metered spot. Though authorities may not notice, and many motorcyclists get away with it, it is illegal. Double-parking in a metered space may attract a hefty fine or a ticket.
Parking between cars can obstruct other vehicles, and your bike can also be bumped into by a driver moving out of the parking area.
Like other motor vehicles, motorcycles must follow the standard parking rules. Parking your bike in a space regulated by a parking meter will attract the same parking fees. It is vital to park in the right place so you don’t get into trouble with authorities. Also, give your bike adequate space, making it easier to pull out of the parking area.
3. Designated Motorcycle Parking Spaces
A responsible biker should stick to parking in designated motorcycle parking spots. The structures usually vary depending on where you are. They may include normal parking spots, motorcycle stalls, parking garages, and other parking spaces.
In states like Virginia, motorcycles are not allowed to park on public sidewalks, areas that block building access, or in green places. Also, in many universities, campuses, and residential areas, you will have to obtain a campus parking permit to park your bike on the premises. The permit holders are often the only ones who can park in the designated motorcycle parking spaces.
Therefore, you shouldn’t push luck by parking your motorcycle in a place not designed or intended for motorcycle parking. Guards may move your motorcycle, which could make you panic while looking for it. Your bike can also get easily stolen in non-parking areas.
Before parking, you can check for signage, look on your map or inquire about a bike parking space if they have one.
4. Parking By The Curb
Bikers may sometimes have nowhere to park except on the curb. Fortunately, it is legal to park a bike on the curb as long as there is no sign indicating “No Parking,” the curb is busy, or the curb is not marked.
However, you need to park your motorcycle well, especially on a curb connected to a busy street. It may be legal to park on the curb, though some drivers may be ignorant or less aware of motorbikes, which may be very dangerous to your bike.
There is a preferred way to park in these situations to ensure your bike’s safety. The best way is to park partially parallel to the curb. Never park parallel to the curb!
To park by the curb, reverse your bike till the back tire touches the curb. You should then place the bike at a 45 degrees angle. This way, your bike will not be sticking out. Parking this way presents a good organization and may be good if you park as a group.
5. Sharing a Parking Space with other Motorcycles
There are several questions concerning sharing parking spaces with other motorcycles. But this depends on the circumstance or situation and the place where you are parking. Parking multiple bikes together ensure there is more room for other bikes. Incoming riders can fit their motorcycles and easily secure a parking spot among other bikes.
If you are parking in a free parking space or on the roadside, many motorcyclists are usually okay with others parking beside them as long as you do not block access to their bikes.
However, for paid parking spaces, sharing a spot will get both motorcyclists a ticket. Paid parking spots do not allow sharing of spaces because the city councils and private premises look to maximize their income. The more parking spaces filled, the more revenue they incur.
Therefore, before sharing a parking spot, get to know if the spot is free or charged to avoid getting into trouble.
6. Parking In Striped Areas
You will often come across parking spot areas with striped lines. These spots are reserved for disabled people and those who might be chauffeuring them.
The striped parking spots may be empty many times. However, it is illegal to park in them unless you fall under the category. Parking in these areas puts you at risk of getting a ticket. Not only that, but it is very inconsiderate to park in the spots. Striped parking spaces are designed to make getting in and out of vehicles easier for disabled individuals.
Therefore, ensure you give more room when parking close to these areas. The wheelchair ramps can be on either side of their vehicle, and they might need to use either.
In case you come across other striped areas not close to handicapped parking spots, remember the strips mean to serve a purpose. Striped line parking areas often indicate a warning to other users not to park in the spots.
7. Parking In Normal Parking Spots
It is a big concern to bikers whether motorcycles can park in normal parking spots. Like any other motor vehicle, it is legal, and motorcyclists are encouraged to park in normal parking spots.
Sometimes bikers avoid parking in these spots as they are afraid of annoying drivers by taking up much space for a small vehicle. But that is entirely up to the drivers since parking motorcycles on the spots is perfectly legal. Another primary concern is the fear of drivers not seeing the bike and pulling into the spot, which may damage the bike. Though this is a valid concern, there is a better way to park your bike.
Parking your bike at a 45-degree angle and not pulling in all the way into the spot will make it visible. Also, ensure the back tire is out enough for other cars to see that the spot is occupied. Although it should not be so out that the tire is missing the spot as it may cause an accident.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do Motorcycles Park Perpendicularly?
Parking a motorcycle perpendicular to the curb makes the motorcycle easily visible to other riders and motor vehicle users. It also makes the bike more stable, especially on uneven and windy surfaces. Not only that, but parking perpendicularly maximizes the number of motorcycles that can pack close by.
Should I Park My Motorcycle in Gear or Neutral?
Always ensure you park your motorcycle in first gear, even if you’re on level ground; this keeps your bike safe and prevents it from sliding away. It also means you won’t have to shift into the correct gear when you resume riding later. Always ensure you confirm if your bike is neutral before kick-starting it because if it’s in gear, it’s a bad experience!
Which Way Do You Turn Your Wheels When Parking a Motorcycle?
Always park your motorcycle with the handlebars turned, depending on which direction you are facing. The wheels should face the direction you want your bike to go in case it falls over. This prevents the bike from rolling too far in case of an accident.
Now you know the proper way to park your motorcycles. Generally, motorcyclists must observe the same parking restrictions as other vehicles when parking. These include, but are not limited to, parking in striped areas, meter parking, parking on the sidewalk, and parking by the curb.
Knowing the right motorcycle parking etiquette is more than making riding a pleasant experience. But it is also about saving yourself from parking fines or tickets. As riders, always try to remember and practice them wherever you can.
Pro Tip: Do not forget to plan your exit when parking a motorcycle. Avoid parking on a downslope since the slightest gradient can make rolling out difficult. Also, It is best not to park facing the wall, as you will need to roll the bike in reverse when leaving.