Motorcycle Parking Laws & Etiquette

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Riding a motorcycle definitely provides you with the ability to get where you want to faster and more freedom than driving a car, but does that flexibility extend to parking your bike too?

This page will cover everything you need to know about motorcycle parking laws and etiquette.

If you’re a new rider, you’ll want to know the basics so that you can avoid getting a parking ticket, having your bike towed, or drawing unwanted attention from a passerby who’s angry with your park job.

We’ll answer where you can park, where you can’t park, and some tips on how to park correctly.

Parking a motorcycle is not rocket science, but a little common sense and practice goes a long way.

Motorcycle Parking Laws: Can Motorcycles Park Anywhere?

With their small size and maneuverability, you’d think motorcycles can park anywhere they can fit, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

The same parking laws that apply to cars also apply to motorcycles, such as:

  • Don’t park where signs prohibit it.
  • Don’t park at red curbs or on striped parking spots.
  • Don’t park in handicap spaces if you don’t have a handicap placard.
  • Don’t park on the sidewalk.
  • Don’t park between parking spaces.

While the enforcement of motorcycle parking will vary from city to city, parking illegal can still result in fines and penalties.

Though you will need to still obey all the parking laws for cars, one of the major benefits of riding (and parking) a motorcycle is that you’ll often be able to find a wider selection of free parking or low-cost permit parking than you would in a car or truck.

Motorcycle Parking Spaces

Vehicle codes in every state typically include language that allows motorcycle to park in any parking space that is designated for automobiles.

The benefit of riding a motorcycle is that you’ll also be allowed to park in spots designated for motorcycles and scooters specifically.

These motorcycle stalls are typically placed in areas where additional spaces for cars would be impractical. You’ll see parking spaces denoted by narrower lines and signs that indicate motorcycle parking.

Depending on how busy the area where you’re parking is, this can give you more options than if you were driving a car.

Motorcycle Street Parking

Parking along the side of the street with your motorcycle is easier than parallel parking a car, but again, you’ll still need to follow the parking laws.

In most areas when parking along the side of the road, you should back into the space at an angle of 45 to 90 degrees with your rear wheel near or touching the curb.

This will typically give you the best visibility and space when parking and pulling back into traffic. It can also ensure other vehicles don’t crowd your bike too much.

Motorcycle Meter Parking

If you park your motorcycle in a space controlled by a parking meter, you’ll also still need to follow the normal parking laws.

Just like cars, motorcycle will need to pay the parking meter for as long as they are parked in the space.

Additionally, even though multiple bikes could easily fit in a single metered space, double parking at a parking meter is illegal in most places.

Motorcycle Permit Parking (Campus Parking, Permitted Neighborhoods, etc)

If you plan to ride your motorcycle to school, work, or park in an area that requires vehicles to purchase and display a parking permit you’ll need to follow those rules too.

The benefit is that many universities have designated motorcycle parking areas and allow you to purchase a motorcycle parking permit for a much lower price than that for a car.

Be sure to display any necessary parking permits or stickers in a visible spot on your bike to avoid getting a ticket.

Penalties for Illegally Parking a Motorcycle

While it may be easy to park your motorcycle wherever you want to, the risks are typically not worth it.

First, you’ll risk receiving a parking ticket. Depending on where you are, parking tickets can get pretty expensive.

You may also risk having your motorcycle impounded, which will generally lead to not only parking fines, but impound fees and the potential for other damage to your bike while it’s in transit.

Finally, you run the risk of angering any “sidewalk” vigilantes.

You never know what is going to set someone off. If someone walks by your motorcycle that’s parked where it’s not supposed to be, there is the risk that they’ll try to damage of knock over your ride. Definitely not ideal.

Motorcycle Parking Etiquette

While parking a motorcycle is not rocket science, a little common sense goes a long way. Here are some key tips:

  • Park in a legal space – not the sidewalk – to avoid being ticketed, having your bike towed, or attracting unwanted attention or angry from someone having a bad day.
  • Park in a visible spot to prevent your motorcycle from being stolen while you’re gone.
  • Signal your intentions to other drivers when you park.
  • Double check for traffic before your pull back into the roadway as other drivers may have trouble seeing you.

To simplify motorcycle parking etiquette, try to remember this general advice: park in legal spaces where you won’t piss anyone off.

If you’re in a parking lot or parking garage, feel free to park in an automobile parking space or a motorcycle parking spot as allowed by posted signs and permit rules.

Parking a Motorcycle on the Sidewalk

While it may be tempting to park on the sidewalk and pull right up to the where you’re headed, you really shouldn’t.

Doing so is highly illegal in most places. Depending on where you are riding, in addition to a parking ticket you may also receive a serious moving violation and points on your driver’s license.

You also run the risk of harming pedestrians, blocking the right of way, or inciting a confrontation with an angry pedestrian.

Parking Between Cars

Since motorcycle are small and maneuverable, you’ll have more options of where you can park. However, you should still give some thought to where you park your bike when parking it near other cars.

When parking along the side of the road, there may be places between two cars where you could technically squeeze your bike, but it may not be worth the risk.

Parking your motorcycle in a spot that’s too small will reduce your visibility and increase the likelihood of someone hitting your bike.

As a generally rule of thumb, you’re always going to want to give yourself and the bike an adequate space cushion wherever you park.

The same applies when parking in parking lots near other vehicles too. Even if you could fit, you should never park your motorcycle between two parking spaces.

This will make it difficult for the other cars to enter/exit their vehicles and make it difficult for them to back out.

Motorcycles Sharing a Parking Space

While there are exceptions, such as parking in a free spot, motorcycles should typically not share a parking space.

This is definitely true for any parking areas controlled by parking meters or permits.

As a general rule, one space should be used for one vehicle unless specifically allowed by the local jurisdiction where your bike is parked.

If multiple bikes are parked in a space where only one vehicle is allowed, you can expect both motorcycles to get a ticket.

However, when you’re parking along the side of the road or in areas where there are not designated spaces, you’ll certainly be able to fit a larger number of bikes closer together.

How to Park a Motorcycle at an Angle

When you park in areas other than designated parking spot, you’ll generally need to learn how to park at an angle.

When parking on the street, you should typically:

  • Park the bike at a 45 degree angle from the curb.
  • Have the front of the bike facing the street.
  • Set the kickstand on a hard surface.

To properly angle park your motorcycle, you’ll need to:

  • Pull over towards and slightly ahead of the spot where you’ll park.
  • Put the bike in neutral and turn the bars so you head back towards the curb at an angle.
  • Turn your front wheel, set the kickstand.

This method makes it easier to park along with side of the road with other motorcycles, and it’ll make getting back on your bike and on the road again much easier (and safer) as well.

How to Park a Motorcycle on a Hill

Parking your bike properly on a hill or slope is important. Failing to do so can cause it to fall over or make it difficult for your to control.

To park your motorcycle on a hill:

  • Angle it from the curb with the back wheel against the curb.
  • Make sure the bike is facing uphill.
  • Leave it in gear.
  • Set the kickstand on a solid surface.

When mounting dismounting your bike on a slope, make sure you’ve got your footing and grip right to avoid falling over or tipping the bike.