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Parking a Motorcycle: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

Source: Marc Calleja/Shutterstock.com

Every rider knows the internal thoughts that come to mind when parking a motorcycle. In a world built for cars and trucks, there aren’t a lot of spaces and lots dedicated to motorcycles, leaving you with two options. Your bike will either take up an entire parking space or sit in an undesignated parking space, which could block traffic and pedestrian footpaths. Learning how to park will improve your motorcycle etiquette. It’s all about making space for others and making the best of what can be an awkward situation.

Avoid these motorcycle parking mistakes to keep your bike visible and out of the way.

Mistake #1: Not Reading the Parking Rules

Parking laws vary by state, city, county and locality. Some areas are more welcoming than others. Check the rules for parking a motorcycle and look for signs in the area before leaving your bike behind to avoid getting a ticket. For example, if you’re in a dense urban area like New York City, you can’t park your motorcycle on the sidewalk

Mistake #2: Not Parking at an Angle in Spaces Designed for Cars

When parking solo or in a group in a lot designed for cars, it’s best to leave your bike at a 45-degree angle. 

Parking at an angle will take up more room if you’re alone so another driver won’t be tempted to wedge their car next to your bike. This also keeps the bike more visible, so others don’t back in accidentally thinking the space is empty. 

If you’re in a group, parking this way helps you pack as many motorcycles into as few spaces as possible. The first rider to back in will set the tone and angle for the rest of the group. When pulling in, leave at least a foot between the back tire and the gutter, turning right at the end so your bike is 30 degrees from the curb. Push back without wading into traffic, and your front tire touching the yellow line. Do a hard left as you walk the bike back into the space. The next bike should be parallel to the first bike. The second rider should back in until the front tire of the first bike is in line with the middle of the second bike. 

biker using motorcycle helmet communication

Source

Use motorcycle helmet communication to coordinate hands-free with your crew as you look for several spots in a row and back into the space. Do your best to take up as few spaces as possible. If every motorcyclist takes up an entire spot, there won’t be enough space for the cars. Consider parking in an emptier lot further away to leave room for others. 

Mistake #3: Not Leaving Enough Space Between Bikes

If you park the row of bikes too closely together, they could fall into each other like a line of dominos. You also won’t have enough room to plant your feet when taking off. Leave at least two to three feet between each bike to give everyone room to get their footing without hitting the motorcycle next to them. 

Mistake #4: Backing Up to the Curb

Backing your motorcycle too far into the spot can damage low-lying exhausts and pipes, scuffing up your beautiful ride. Leave space between your bike and the sidewalk or grate to make a clean exit. Keeping your back tire level with the car next to you will signal to others that this spot is full. 

Mistake #5: Blocking Traffic 

If you can’t find a space or don’t want to take up a slot to yourself, you might be tempted to chain up your bike to the nearest pole, but parking in undesignated spaces can block passageways and traffic, making it harder for everyone to get around. Stay away from doors, ramps and curbs where people tend to walk or get in and out of vehicles. When in doubt, move your bike away from busy areas where it won’t be in the way.

Mistake #6: Poor Visibility

Avoid leaving your bike in dark, lonely spots where it could get stolen or damaged. Stick to well-lit areas and those with security cameras or guards keeping watch. There’s safety in numbers. Parking in a group or near other motorcyclists can give you peace of mind. 

Black vintage custom motorcycle parked

Source: Aliaksei Kaponia/Shutterstock.com

Keep these mistakes in mind before you park your motorcycle. For an added layer of protection, use this guide to learn how to lock your motorcycle to reduce the risk of theft and keep your gear safe.