Centre-of-the-road parking should be turned over to motorcycles as it is less dangerous than for cars and would increase the number of parking spots, according to the Motorcycle Riders Association (MRA) in Victoria.
The suggestion is one of many being put forward by riders and their representatives after Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp released a new motor vehicle discussion paper last month which includes dot points about reducing the access of motor vehicles to the CBD for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
It briefly recommends: “Remove motorbikes and scooters from footpaths, instead giving them allocated parking.”
Melbourne has long been lauded for its motorcycle-friendly council and its free footpath parking for motorcycles, but that now seems to be under threat from the paper.
Footpath ban rejected
The MRA Victoria (formerly the Independent Riders Group and before that the MRA) has rejected the Herald Sun’s subsequent call for a ban on motorcycles and scooters from footpaths in Melbourne’s CBD.
“We reject that idea and will fight moves to introduce further bans unless it can be demonstrated that they are necessary in a specific area,” says spokesman Damien Codognotto.
However, the MRA will support the City of Melbourne’s aim to reduce “clutter” on our footpaths in by increasing the amount of centre-of-the-road motorcycle and scooter parking and increasing the amount of off-street parking.
More centre parking
Not many places have centre-parking bays. Uralla in NSW has a dedicated, sheltered centre-road parking area and towns near the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally temporarily turn over the centre of the road to motorcycle parking.
Damien says centre-of-the-road parking is safe for bikes but dangerous for cars.
“Bad behaviour by car drivers has increased the crash risk around centre-road parking areas,” Damien says.
“Drivers do very odd things when trying to get in and out of the awkward bays. Reversing out of a CR parking bay is a no-no, but they do it. Lanes are a problem too. Distracted drivers confronted with the back of an SUV sideways in their lane go boom.
“Motorcycles and scooters have none of the CR problems of cars SUVs and vans.
However, only about 10% of Melbourne’s road-centre parking is assigned to two-wheelers.
Increase off-street parking
If footpath parking is reduced, the MRA also recommends increasing the amount of off-street secure motorcycle and scooter parking similar to the bike parking under the City Square lost to the rail project.
“Off-street parking facilities must offer secure, lit motorcycle and scooter parking covered by cameras,” the MRA says.
“Lockers must be provided both at Melbourne destinations and at outer suburban park and ride facilities. Governments say they want riders to wear protective clothing. So do we. Make it possible with lockers for motorcycle and scooter gear.
“Security concerns about lockers being used by terrorists are not credible.”
The MRA says parking costs for motorcycles and scooters on the footpath and on-street should remain free and be minimal (gold coin) for off-street parking.
Another suggestion is providing motorcycle spaces among the allocated and underused bicycle hoops on footpaths.