The Guidelines

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Motorcycle Parking

6.3 Assessing Demand

Motorcycle use is characterised by its flexibility and seasonality.  Demand for parking and how to meet it can therefore be difficult to assess.

As noted in TAL 2/02 few authorities base motorcycle parking decisions on specific data for motorcycle movements. Although this may be available from classified traffic counts or origin and destination surveys there is unlikely to be a large body of data to work from. Traffic accumulation surveys based on existing traffic counts depend on the ability of automatic traffic counters to identify motorcycles, whilst the results from occasional manual counts may be vulnerable to random variations due to the relatively low volumes of motorcycles in many areas.

Unsolicited user requests and opportunistic inclusion in other traffic schemes or development works seem to be the most common trigger for provision.  Some authorities and other organisations have taken a more pro-active approach by seeking users’ suggestions, often through a motorcycle forum (see Chapter 2). As with the provision of parking for bicycles, understanding the nature of motorcycle use within a geographical area is essential for effective and efficient use of parking resources.

The following data indicates a need for serious consideration of parking demands:

  • 3% of households have at least one motorcycle (DfT 2009);
  • There are approximately 4 million licence holders in Great Britain, with over 400,000 new and used motorcycles changing hands each year (MCI 2012);
  • Motorcycling is highly seasonal, with roughly twice as much usage in summer months (DfT 2010); and
  • 2.9 billion vehicle miles were travelled by PTWs in Great Britain in 2010 (MCI 2012).

Parking provision for both bicycles and motorcycles will be in demand around educational establishments, workplaces, shopping and leisure destinations, transport interchanges and residential areas lacking in private parking opportunities. Similar to growth in leisure use across all modes, leisure use by motorcyclists often involves attending evening or weekend events and is often motorcycle ‘themed’. Some locations will therefore experience high demand for parking at weekends. Other locations will experience demand during general business hours, but may see far lower demand for evening leisure and shift work.

Look out for the following clear signals of under-supply:

  • illegal or inappropriate parking;
  • machines secured to street furniture;
  • unauthorised use of cycle parking;
  • overflow at motorcycle parking bays;
  • obstruction to traffic; and
  • complaints from residents, businesses or riders.

It is important to survey a wide range of locations at a variety of times to get a meaningful picture.