One of the benefits of going two-wheeled is easier parking.
But like many things motorcycle-related, there is some confusion around parking laws.
This is compounded in cities, where pavements, pay-and-display zones, and a lack of standard, nationwide regulations further muddy the waters.
We thought we’d do our best to clear things up.
Motorcycle Parking In Cities
The best bet in any city is to find a dedicated motorcycle parking bay. They’re free and a map of their locations should be available on the local council’s website.
We’ve added links to some of the bigger cities below:
- London – see below
Unfortunately, outside of these bays, parking regulations in cities become open to interpretation.
Outside of London, parking on the pavement is generally allowed, as long as you don’t “obstruct the highway”. Common sense will generally keep you out of trouble here. Most people won’t park their bike anywhere deemed a problem out of fear of it being knocked over or scratched up. Use discretion and find somewhere with a few other bikes locked up.
We know telling you something is “generally allowed” isn’t very satisfying. The problem is, it’s up to each city to decide, and sometimes in the hands of individual parking attendants. The best we can offer is when exploring a new city, stick to dedicated bays, look for other parked bikes, or ask a fellow rider.
The UK technically allows for riding on the pavement for up to 15 yards for parking purposes. But there’s an argument to be made that pushing on the pavement will keep the Karens and Darrens of this world from tut-tutting and finger-wagging – anything for a peaceful life.
Is London Different?
Oh heavens, yes. London is its own animal. The capital has idiosyncrasies on account of the different councils (the same situation with the bus lane laws). There are 32 boroughs in London and they can all have their own rules with regard to parking.
In most areas, designated motorcycle bays are free. But in Westminster, riders are charged a nominal 1GBP per day for a dedicated motorcycle bay (paid through an app). The sheer number of boroughs and the lack of really clear boundaries means making a list isn’t practical. But you can click on this link to go directly to the motorcycle parking rules of each council.
Parking In Towns And Villages
Most towns and villages have a car park, often with dedicated motorcycle bays. Roadside parking spaces also tend to be spaced further apart, leaving space for a motorcycle.
When it comes to pavement parking, it’s up to the individual council to decide. Most leave you alone if you park sensibly. Others will ticket you for parking out of everyone’s way and as conscientiously as possible.
Places To Park a Motorbike
Motorcycles only account for about 3-4% of road traffic, so we probably aren’t in a great position to complain about the lack of parking spaces. Thankfully, most car parks dedicate more than 4% of their floorspace to dedicated motorcycle bays. These spaces are your best option.
Dedicated spaces in car parks tend to fill up quickly. Many car parks allow bikes to park in the hatched area between car bays if they don’t create an obstruction. Best to talk to an attendant to make sure if you’re going with this option.
On The Road Between Cars
If there’s enough space for everyone, this is generally accepted by police, the public, and parking officials.
On The Pavement
The specific bit of law related to this (quite reasonably) suggests that motorcycles aren’t parked on the pavement in any way that could obstruct the visually impaired, those in wheelchairs, or parents with children in a pram. Other than this stipulation, it’s generally allowed.
Bicycle stanchions are also usually OK as long as you don’t block cyclists from using them. Some riders choose to lock up near a set of bicycle locking stanchions or bollards as they are usually in an out-of-the-way place.
Do Motorcycles Pay For Parking In The UK?
No. With the exception of those in Westminster, London, all parking bays labeled “Solo Motorcycle Only” are free to park in. If you need to pay for your bike in a pay and display zone, it will say so clearly on the sign. Motorcyclists are often not expected to buy a ticket as there’s no windshield to place the ticket behind.
Can Motorcycles park For Free In London?
Everywhere except Westminster, yes – if in a solo motorcycle bay. Pavement parking depends on the borough and your execution.
Is It Illegal To Park a Motorcycle On The Pavement In The UK?
No, it is not illegal to park a motorcycle on the pavement in the UK. It’s only a problem if you’re causing an obstruction.