Motorcycle Parking: UK Laws and Regulations
Motorcycle parking in the UK can be confusing at times. While there are laws and regulations in place, these can, and often do, vary from one city to the next.
In this article, we’re going to delve into motorbike parking rules, frequently asked questions, and hopefully clear up a few misconceptions.
Where Can I Park My Motorcycle?
Generally speaking, you have four options when it comes to motorcycle parking:
Designated motorcycle bays are scattered across the UK’s high streets. Motorcycle bays typically have M/C or Solo M/C marked on the tarmac, making them easily identifiable.
Most areas offer free parking in solo motorcycle bays, except for Westminster, which charges £1 per day. This does not apply to electric motorcycles, however, as they’re free to park in dedicated bays at any time.
One of the perks of switching to electric, I suppose!
Car parks offer many benefits: protection from the elements, keeping your pride and joy out of sight, and so on. Many car parks are also equipped with CCTV these days, which is bound to deter the vast majority of thieves.
Most car parks offer free motorcycle parking and dedicated motorcycle bays. It’s still worth checking the signs as you enter, just to be sure!
Bonus Tip: Some car parks allow motorcycles to park in the hatched areas between bays. It’s probably best to speak to an attendant first to avoid any hassle, though.
On the Road
Parking on the road between other vehicles is free and perfectly legal, but it does come with a few drawbacks. Namely, putting your motorcycle at risk of being knocked over by other road users.
Despite the ONS keeping no records of such data, the number of motorcycles stolen each year in the UK is estimated to be around 40,000.
Parking your motorcycle on the street increases the risk of theft, so we highly recommend having as many deterrents as possible. These include:
- Cover (especially if you’re riding an expensive machine)
- Disc locks
- Heavy-duty chain (we’ve had great success with this chain from Oxford)
- Alarm system
- Tracking device (BikeTrac, Datatool, etc.)
On the Pavement
Some cities allow motorcyclists to park on the pavement free of charge, assuming you follow a few basic rules.
You mustn’t ‘obstruct the highway’, so make sure to account for wheelchairs, pushchairs, and so on, as well as pedestrians!. Also, you’re only legally allowed to ride a maximum of 15 yards on the pavement to a parking space.
We recommend finding a safe place to pull over, choosing a suitable parking spot, then switching your machine off and pushing it into place. You’re far less likely to aggravate pedestrians this way.
Much like bus lanes, the rules around parking on the pavement differ from one city to the next. For instance, parking on the pavement anywhere in Cambridge is strictly forbidden.
Motorcycle Parking in Cities
We’ve explored the four most common places to park a motorcycle, but what’s our recommendation for parking in the city?
If you can find a car park close enough to your destination that allows motorcycles, don’t think twice! Car parks keep your machine sheltered from the elements and away from the prying eyes of thieves. Some modern car parks are also fitted with CCTV, significantly reducing the chance of hit-and-run incidents.
Second to car parks, finding a dedicated street bay with other motorcycles parked close by is a good call. There truly is safety in numbers, and the presence of other vehicles lessens the possibility of theft or vandalism.
Do Motorbikes Have To Pay For Parking in the UK?
Outside of Westminster, which charges £1 per day, motorcyclists are not required to pay for parking across the UK.
Is It Illegal To Park a Motorcycle On The Pavement in the UK?
It is not illegal to park a motorcycle on the pavement in the UK, provided you’re not obstructing pedestrians.
Note: This does not apply to Cambridge, where pavement parking is prohibited.
Can I Park My Motorbike Anywhere?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
Some cities allow motorcyclists to park on the street, pavement, and car parks, whereas others only allow parking in designated M/C bays.
Before visiting a new city, we highly recommend checking the local council’s website for detailed parking information.
Is It Free to Park a Motorbike?
Parking on the street is free for motorcyclists outside of Westminster, London. Some car parks may require payment for motorbike parking, but designated street bays are free to use.
As if you didn’t already have enough to contend with as a motorcyclist, parking simply isn’t that straightforward in the UK.
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the rules around motorcycle parking, what you can and can’t do, and provided you with some valuable insights.
So, did you learn a thing or two? Consider heading over to our blog for other helpful guides!