Make motorcycle footpath parking legal

Brisbane free motorcycle parking

While 100 free motorcycle footpath parking spots have been added in Brisbane, you still can’t legally park your motorcycle on the footpath outside your home in most Australian towns and cities.

Most municipalities ban parking your motorcycle, scooter or any vehicle on the footpath, nature strip or centre strip and hard-headed and hard-hearted council parking inspectors have been known to issue fines. If it is a major obstruction or in a school or hospital zone, you could also cop a fine from the police and receive licence demerit points. Meanwhile, Victoria has had free motorcycle footpath parking for decades and has only received one complaint from a pedestrian in all that time, according to the Australian Motorcycle Council.

On Friday, Brisbane City Council Deputy Mayor and Infrastructure chairman Adrian Schrinner said it had increased the number of motorcycle and scooter parks to 850 with the addition of 100 sites in South Brisbane. It’s a drop in the ocean as all those spots fill up early every morning. Cr Schrinner admitted there are more than 33,000 bikes registered just in the council region.

Brisbane free motorcycle footpath parking
Brisbane free motorcycle footpath parking

Rather than following Victoria’s free motorcycle footpath parking system, Brisbane has designated and delineated parking bays on roads and some footpaths for bikes. Cr Schrinner claims many Brisbane footpaths are too narrow to allow parking. He says they are still looking for places on footpaths where they can park bikes and hope to have 1000 parks by 2015. Council can’t be searching very hard. Surely there are thousands of spots all over Brisbane where parking could and should be allowed right now, rather than waiting another year while officers search the city.

Instead of allocating more parking bays with white paint lines which would make our footpaths look like it they been hit by a plague of hopscotch-ers, the easiest solution is the combination of the current marked parking bays plus the Victorian motorcycle footpath parking model.

Contrary to popular belief, Victorian riders don’t have free rein to park on any footpath. Guidelines state that riders must dismount and walk their bike on the footpath, and they must park one bike length from a building, a wheel length from the kerb and parallel to the road so they don’t impede pedestrian passage. There are also some areas where footpath parking is not allowed. Some are signed such as narrow footpaths like Brisbane is claiming, others are where there are footpath cafes, opposite disabled bays, near taxi ranks and bus/tram stops, on private property or beside service points such as post boxes, bins and manhole covers.

While the AMC claims there has only been one official complaint against motorcycle footpath parking, there are reports of angered pedestrians deliberately damaging or pushing over bikes that are not properly parked. People enraged about footpath bike parking are either jealous or don’t see that it is actually freeing up spaces for cars. It’s a similar situation with lane-splitting which makes drivers envious, yet it is actually an advantage for car drivers because it makes commuter traffic flow freer.

If you would like to email Cr Schrinner with suggested motorcycle footpath parking areas or a plea for Victorian-style parking regulations, his address is chandler.ward@ecn.net.au. Riders in other jurisdictions may also like to email their state minister or local councillor responsible for parking matters.

Cr Schrinner says they provide dedicated motorcycle spaces on footpaths only where it was safe. “Council works to ensure the safety of all road users and pedestrians, meaning that a number of factors need to be considered before creating motorcycle parks on footpaths. These factors include ensuring motorcycle riders can safely access footpath parking spaces without impacting pedestrians and that the parking spaces are not on land with a gradient steep enough to potentially cause the bikes to fall over.”

Meanwhile, to see a full list of Brisbane’s free motorcycle parks, click here.

8 Comments

  1. I wrote to Cr Schrinner on this issue back in March when Mark first published this article. I received a phone call telling pretty much what Mark was told above. I think the next step in any campaign has to be for us to get out there and identify spots where parking would be suitable, but is not currently allowed and take this back to council.

      1. Gee you have put me on the spot now :).

        Realistically any effort would require drawing up a set of criteria that makes a footpath suitable for parking, identify an area we wish to survey (say from the river to St Pauls to the North and maybe Petrie Tce and Gipps St to the west and east) and then go out survey each footpath in that area.

        The issue is finding a suitable criteria to survey against.

        I have a few thoughts here.

        1/ Get a hold of council’s current criteria to identify these locations, maybe this would be difficult, but maybe a member of the press would be able to get this.

        2/ Assess current sites where it is allowed and use those to develop a suitable criteria.

        3/ There would an Australian that is applicable to pedestrian traffic design possibly getting a hold of this would be a solution.

        Obviously there more factors than just overall width to be considered, things like expected traffic volume and proximity to building entrances, crosswalks etc would come into play.

  2. In Sydney we lost the 100 space Clarence St parking area under the freeway because a rogue motorcyclist spoiled it for everyone by chasing a pedestrian down the footpath.

    If you are going to get involved and write to Councillors then be respectful. Many riders are working long and hard to build relationships with local councils and when a flood of abusive emails land in their mailboxes, all that goodwill goes out the window.

  3. I must confess to being mildly amused when people comeback with the same old “but our footpaths are too narrow” nonsense. Surprisingly (to Councils anyway) motorcyclists are actually responsible and don’t generally park so as to inconvenience others.

    Where they have, council officers will often just leave a note and/or a copy of the guidelines on the bike and people don’t usually do it more than once.

    Back in 2006 we did a count of motorcycles and bicycles parked on footpaths in the Melbourne CBD.

    The final numbers were 1037 motorcycles and 620 bicycles. Another count six months later confirmed the same proportions of bicycles and motorcycles. You do need to bear in mind that many bicycles perhaps the majority, are parked off street. We’re actually overdue for another count and it will be interesting to see whether the proportions have changed.

  4. This is an eminently good idea. Another is the use of shared spaces, in Cities like Vancouver, BC if two (or more) vehicles can fit into the one metered space they can share a single meter, so long the meter has time on it all vehicles in the space are covered.

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