TOTW: Proper parking placement protects paint

The riding tips on these pages are my personal opinion about matters related to motorcycle riding. They are not the official position of any organization, and are for your consideration only. They are not hard and fast rules, they should not necessarily be applied in all circumstances, and they should not be applied without thinking. Always use your judgement and take all current safety factors into account while riding. You are responsible for your riding, not anyone else (especially me). These tips were originally published by a motorcycle riding course, called “Tip of the Week” (the reason for the TOTW in the titles).

What’s the problem?

When you’re parking in a standard, multi-lane parking lot, have you thought about where you place your bike in the spot? A bike is smaller than a car, and you have some flexibility about where you leave it.

Parking a car has probably given you a habit of pulling all the way into a parking spot, but this is not a good practice for parking your bike. Pulling all the way into a parking spot will leave you positioned something like this:

What’s wrong with this? Consider what a person driving their car down the lane sees as they approach the spot you’re in:

If they’re in a hurry there is a good chance they will think the spot is empty and pull in. Hopefully they will realise their error and stop before they hit your bike, but it’s a risk you don’t need to take.

Park your bike at the outside of the spot, so you are aligned with the rears of the cars on the lane:

Now drivers will immediately see your spot is occupied.

This driver forgets that motorcycles are fully-licensed motor vehicles and are entitled to park. However, he sees the spot is occupied and isn’t going to pull in.

By the way, notice another change we recommended. Park your bike pointing outward, not inward, so you can drive out of the spot in good control and with good visibility. Pushing or duck-walking your bike, backward, into the traffic lane is another invitation for a collision you could easily avoid.


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