We receive a lot of emails and telephone calls from our clients and readers regarding motorcycle parking laws in California. Below is a summary of the relevant statutes, along with a few pointers.
Street Parking for Motorcycles
California Vehicle Code section 22503 governs parallel parking for cars and motorcycles. The portions of the statute dealing with motorcycle parking are quoted below. In short, the law states that a motorcycle must be parked with one wheel touching the right-hand curb, or, on a one-way street, one wheel must be touching either curb.
CVC § 22502
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, . . . a motorcycle shall be parked with at least one wheel or fender touching the right-hand curb . . .
(e) (1) Upon a one-way roadway, . . . a motorcycle, if parked on the left-hand side, shall have either one wheel or one fender touching the curb . . .
(2) This subdivision does not apply upon a roadway of a divided highway.
Can I park a motorcycle on the sidewalk?
The short answer is no. Under the California Vehicle Code section 22500, no motor vehicle may be parked on the sidewalk, including motorcycles. However, some jurisdictions do not enforce this rule. (San Francisco, for example, used to be very lax about this. They still are, we believe, but to a lesser degree than they were ten years ago. In other words, park on the sidewalk at your own risk!) Here's the relevant law:
CVC § 22500
No person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle whether attended or unattended, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device, in any of the following places:
. . .
(f) On any portion of a sidewalk, or with the body of the vehicle extending over any portion of a sidewalk . . . . Lights, mirrors, or devices that are required to be mounted upon a vehicle under this code may extend from the body of the vehicle over the sidewalk to a distance of not more than 10 inches.
Is it legal to share a metered parking spot in California?
Jurisdictions vary significantly in their enforcement of this rule, which is often subject to local ordinance. In some California towns, it is unheard of to receive a violation for parking between metered spaces. In many others, however, cops and parking enforcement officers will quickly cite you for doing this.
Help! The parking garage at [work, home, the store] won't let me park my motorcycle in a car space!! This is such BS!! What can I do??
We get emails and phone calls about this one ALL THE TIME. For reasons we can't begin to understand, many private parking garages or parking lots refuse to let motortcycles park in car spaces. It makes zero sense — particularly when these parking lots/garages offer little to no motorcycle parking spaces, or put these spaces far away from entrances/exits. We wish we had good news for you, but unfortunately, private property owners can set their own parking rules when it comes to motorcycles. As with many other forms of biker discrimination, there are very few laws protecting biker's rights.
So what can you do? The best option is to discuss the issue with the building manager. Explain the situation to them (e.g., there are no other spots to park, the motorcycle spot is too far away and it is difficult for you to walk with your bad knee, crippling back injury, etc.,) In many cases, we have found that people will make an exception to parking rules if you explain your issue. The key thing is to be NICE. Appealing to people's reason and sympathy is often more effective than yelling and screaming — particularly when you don't have a legal leg to stand on. If you have any questions or just want to complain about how some idiot won't let you park where you want to, give us a call or send us an email. We are happy to listen and help if we can!