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Motorcycle Parking

6.5 Motorcycle Parking Resources

It is good practice to maintain a complete map of all current public motorcycle parking locations.  This should be linked to local authority asset management data listing their dimensions, capacity, and security provisions within each authority. Identifying the number, location and nature of existing spaces is essential for planning and management and to inform motorcycle users (eg by way of a leaflet or web page).

Motorcycle parking capacity is determined by the size of bay and of machines that use it.  On-street motorcycle parking bays will often follow a similar lay-out to car parking bays, ranging in depth from 1800 to 2700 mm (length varying according to circumstances) but with the motorcycles parked at right angles to the kerb rather than parallel. Generally, motorcycle parking bays are not marked out for individual machines, allowing flexible and efficient use of limited space.  Motorcycles range in length from around 1900 mm for a moped to 2500 mm for a large cruiser.  In practice, the manner of parking means that even the largest machines should be capable of parking across a 2100 mm bay without encroaching onto the carriageway.

It is the effective width of a motorcycle and space to mount/dismount from the side which will determine the usable area. Most machines range from 700-1000mm wide (including handlebars, mirrors and fixed luggage) although in practice most machines are parked with handlebars turned to the locked position which reduces both width and length. With a nominal 600mm spaced needed to mount/dismount, this suggests that an average effective width of around 1400mm per machine is required. Where there is significant usage by smaller or larger machines this figure can be altered to suit.

These figures serve as a guide to the total area needed to meet motorcycle parking demand or as an indicator of capacity for existing or proposed facilities. However, where parking capacity is insufficient, riders will try to fit into the available space. In the most extreme cases riders will manoeuvre machines so that there is no space on either side. Such informal parking may make for the most efficient use of space but it may compromise riders’ safety. Such overcrowding, if experienced, is a clear sign that further parking provision is required.

Parking occupancy and duration can only be reliably assessed by manual surveys. Linking observations of time and machines present (including informal parking activity) to data on the dimensions of bays and motorcycles allows an objective assessment of supply and demand at different times and locations. Other information can be collected at the same time. For example, to what extent are machines secure?  Are fixed anchor points required?

Motorcycle parking surveys have three important functions:

  • To create or update a motorcycle parking inventory. Essential data will include location, dimensions (including capacity) and the presence of security features.
  • To audit the quality of a facility including surfaces, signage and road markings, anchor points, CCTV, lighting, potential hazards and obstructions.
  • To analyse motorcycle usage and parking duration, by reference to day-of-week, time of year, weather conditions, extent and type security being used, the characteristics of riders (by interview) and/or their machines (by observation or interview).

Wider consultation with users and interested parties is likely to produce better solutions through identifying unresolved issues and stimulating dialogue to resolve them. Some local authorities benefit from a regular motorcycle forum or at least approach motorcycle representatives through general transport consultation channels.

6.5.1 Practical Design Ideas

Refer to Chapter 3 for a thorough review of design considerations, but some practical design issues surrounding theft-reduction and personal safety deserve further discussion.

6.5.1.1 Security

Physical security need not be difficult or expensive to provide. Fixed and robust features such as rails, hoops or posts which provide a simple locking-point to secure a motorcycle by chain or similar device should be an early consideration for any parking scheme. In the past, introducing CCTV systems may not have been affordable or appropriate but connection costs of broadband and ‘3G’ have dropped significantly and therefore selecting locations within monitored areas may well now be feasible.

A range of suitable designs exist for security anchors of varying degrees of sophistication. Where motorcycles are parked with one wheel against the kerb, a simple continuous steel rail satisfies most situations. This has the advantage of being easily and inexpensively sourced and installed with similar costs to equivalent cycle parking.

The continuous rail can accommodate machines of varying style and size, is well understood by users and is compatible with most types of shackling devices. The rail should be set at around 600mm above the surface to accommodate the range of wheel sizes. Securing the rail to a wall or installing a waist-height upper rail minimises the risk of tripping.

Other designs, such as posts with captive chains (with or without a captive lock), accommodate riders who do not have chains or locking devices.

Flush-mounted locking rings set into the floor or carriageway may seem less obtrusive but can be difficult or unattractive to users; they allow the mounting surface to be used as a levering point to break locks, are subject to debris and rain water and suffer wear and tear. They may also present a tripping hazard, particularly to visually-impaired pedestrians.

Generally speaking, sophisticated designs with moving parts and locking mechanisms are more expensive to provide and maintain. Offsetting these costs through parking charges is difficult to implement successfully. Ticket-based pay and display methods are inappropriate for motorcycles as there is nowhere to display and secure the ticket. Meter-based systems also alert thieves to the likely length of time the motorcycle will be left unattended. However, a number of highway authorities (particularly in London) have included motorcycles in their automated mobile phone parking schemes at a reduced cost than cars and often based on a defined area, rather than individual bay.

6.5.1.2 Safety

Safety considerations should include the actual process of manoeuvring a motorcycle whilst parking and personal safety at or around the location.

Motorcycle parking areas should have limited gradients in order to facilitate manoeuvrability and to ensure the motorcycle is unlikely to topple over. Surfaces should offer good grip for feet and tyres.  Poor drainage and debris may also cause a manoeuvring rider to lose their footing.

European law requires all motorcycles to have at least one device which maintains the machine in a vertical, or near vertical, parking position when unattended. There are two main types of these devices:

  • The ‘prop stand’. This provides a triangulating point of contact, along with the front and rear tyres, such that the vehicle leans to the left. Riders will generally use the “prop stand” for convenience or where parking on a camber.
  • The “centre stand”. This provides two centrally positioned triangulating points such that the machine rests vertically, often with one wheel lifted from the floor. This usually requires more effort from the rider and is often less stable unless the parking area is level.

In each case the motorcycle will generally be parked with its steering locked in a fixed position usually with the front wheel turned to the left.

Based on EU regulations for motorcycle stand performance, surface slope angles should be less than 5 degrees (EC 1993). Figures 1a and 1b demonstrate the extremes of motorcycle stand performance against a transverse tilt, while Figure 2 shows the effect of longitudinal tilt (both upstream and downstream).

6.5.1.2-figure-1

Figure 1a

6.5.1.2-figure-1b

Figure 1b

Figure 2

Figure 2

As motorcycles are not fitted with a parking brake, the rider must be able to position their machine so that it cannot roll forward under its own weight and fall over. Therefore, where the ground is not level, riders will try to park so that the weight of the machine is working with the direction of the stand, usually with one wheel touching the kerb. This requires sufficient space and visibility to manoeuvre the machine in and out of position safely.

Parking areas must have a firm surface capable of supporting the weight of a motorcycle through its stand. The footprint of the stand might typically measure 10cm2 and carry a load of 10kg per cm2. The surface of the parking area must be capable of withstanding penetration by the stand. Care should be taken to ensure bitumen-based surfaces remain solid during hot weather.

Sufficient space and visibility for riders is required to allow manoeuvring without undue risk of collision with other road users. On-street parking should not be positioned so that riders are tempted to use footways to access it.  Local authorities should also ensure safe and legitimate means of access to off-street parking even where access is from the road onto private land.

6.5.2 Parking Standards and Dimensions

6.5.2.1 Parking Standards

PPG13: Transport does not set specific standards for motorcycle parking but many local authorities have published their own local motorcycle parking standards and guidance. These are typically based on a proportion of car capacity (up to 5%) with a minimum provision (one or two spaces). The Motorcycle Industry Association has called for 5% of all public parking spaces to be set aside for motorcycle use (MCI 2001).

The British Motorcyclists’ Federation (BMF) proposes the following set of minimum motorcycle parking standards for different developments:

Description of Land Use Minimum Motorcycle Parking Standard
Camping Site 1/4 staff, 1/10 pitches
Marinas 1/4 moorings
Car parks 1/10 parking spaces
Park and ride sites 1/10 parking spaces
Rail stations 10/Morning Peak Service
Bus stations 4/1 bus bay
Key bus stops 4/Stop
Hospitals
1/4 staff, 1/20 beds

Source: BMF

 

TAL 2/02 Motorcycle Parking links journey purposes to length of stay:

Length of Stay Typical Uses
<30 minutes Shopping
Dropping passengers off
Delivery
30 minutes – 1 hour Shopping
LeisurePersonal business
1-3 hours Shopping
Employment Leisure
4 or more hours Shopping
Employment
Rail or bus use
Education

Source: DfT TAL 2/02

In addition to use, other factors affect length of stay. Broadly speaking, close proximity to destination will probably be the primary consideration for short visits, although secure facilities are still desirable by the rider.  For visits longer than 30 minutes, while proximity remains influential, security features such as rails to which to secure vehicles, and opportunities for maximum monitoring and minimum theft by van will become more important. Extent of weather protection and passing traffic increases in desirability for longer term parking.

6.5.2.2 Motorcycles: Indicative Dimensions

Length (mm) Effective Width (mm) Weight (kg)
Moped 1600 650 85
Middle-weight motorcycle/scooter 1900 800 230
Large motorcycle 2300 900 350
95%ile (estimated) 2000 800 260

Source: MCIA

 

Motorcycle length and width dimensions are generally reduced when parked because the front wheel turns to a locked position. It is this effective length and width that is relevant.

Further information about dimensions, layouts and signage is collated in “A Guide to the Design and Provision of Secure Parking for Motorcycles”.

A further consideration is that of disabled riders. The range of difficulties faced by disabled riders will be similar to those using other modes and the British Parking Association (BPA) suggests provision for disabled riders should also be provided by way of specifically marked-out bays of increased size. Any rider experiencing reduced mobility and strength will benefit from extra room to position themselves to the side of the bike when manoeuvring or mounting. An ageing population may well make this a more common issue in the future.

If such provision does not meet demand then disabled riders should, on display of a ‘blue badge’, be allowed to park exempt from penalties in the same way as car drivers.