Motorcyclists in California must comply with several laws, including regulations on licensing and insurance, protective gear, and the right of way. Parking laws are particularly important, but many motorcycle owners are unsure where and how they can legally park their bikes. In most cases, motorcycles can park anywhere that a car can—with some exceptions. It is very important to follow these parking laws; failure to do so can lead to fines, impoundment, and liability issues in the event of an accident.
According to the California Vehicle Code, motorcyclists can park their bikes legally in any parking spot designated for cars. In addition, motorcyclists must comply with the same parking laws as motor vehicles—this includes laws for parking on red curbs or fire lanes, blocking the flow of traffic, and paying meter fees.
When parking on a street, motorcyclists must park their vehicles so that one wheel is touching the right-hand curb. If the motorcyclist is parking on a one-way street, one wheel must touch either the left-hand or right-hand curb.
It is illegal to park a motorcycle on the sidewalk except in emergency situations or to comply with police orders. Any lights, mirrors, or other devices on the motorcycle cannot extend more than 10 inches over the sidewalk.
If you are caught violating California’s parking laws, you can face penalties such as fines, impoundment, and assessment fees. These penalties vary based on the type of parking violation and the number of subsequent offenses.
For example, if you park your motorcycle on the sidewalk, you can be charged with an infraction and receive a $65 fine. If you park in a fire lane, you will receive an $80 fine. If you illegally park in a disabled space, you could face a $421 fine for a first offense, a $625 fine for a second offense, and an $825 fine for third and subsequent violations.
In collisions with motorcycles, drivers often state that they did not see the motorcyclist. This is especially common in accidents that occur on the roadside. As a result, it is very important for California motorcyclists to be safe, cautious, and visible while parking on the side of the road.
According to California traffic law, you should park your motorcycle at an angle of 45 to 90 degrees to the curb. Make sure that the wheel or fender of your motorcycle is touching the curb. By parking in this way, you can increase your visibility to passing vehicles and protect yourself from preventable collisions.
Metered parking spots are common throughout California, especially in San Francisco. These slots are built to accommodate a motor vehicle and, as a result, are very spacious for the average motorcycle. Many motorcyclists share metered parking spots with another motorcycle or car in order to save money and space.
Generally, you should never assume that you can share a metered parking space, even if you can fit. You should also avoid parking in the space between two vehicles that are parked in metered spots.
While California traffic law does not have a specific statute that prohibits this practice, local jurisdictions are responsible for enforcing parking meter violations. A city may have strict laws against sharing metered spots that come with hefty penalties.
In San Francisco, motorcyclists are allowed to park in any legal space for cars, including full-sized metered spots. Motorcyclists must pay the meter if they are occupying a parking spot. If a motorcyclist parks in a space without paying, he or she may face a ticket. These penalties may arise whether the motorcyclist is sharing the space with another vehicle or is completely alone.
California motorcyclists have the same responsibilities as a motor vehicle and, as a result should abide by the same parking laws. Additionally, motorcyclists should follow certain etiquette rules to avoid disrupting other motorcyclists, drivers, and pedestrians on the road.
Aside from the fact that it is illegal to park on the sidewalk in California, this practice can be dangerous for pedestrians. If a motorcycle is blocking the sidewalk, pedestrians can bump into your bike and knock it over.
In some cases, a pedestrian may become annoyed by the motorcycle and intentionally damage it. To avoid significant vehicle damage or potential injury, avoid parking on the sidewalk.
It can be tempting to squeeze into a parking spot between two cars, especially if the area is congested and parking is scarce. However, parking in this space can make it impossible for a vehicle to safely maneuver out of the area. Your bike could become crushed or damaged if you leave it in this spot.
For best results, do not park between vehicles. Always ensure that you are giving the vehicles around you enough space to leave the area.
Not only is parking in striped areas illegal in California, but it also highly inconsiderate. These areas are meant to provide people with disabilities enough space to get out of their vehicles. If a motorcyclist is parked in this location, the person would be unable to lower a ramp or maneuver his or her wheelchair. To avoid this situation, never parked in a striped area.
Violating a motorcycle parking law will not only result in fines—you may also face difficulties recovering compensation after an accident. California is a fault accident state that requires negligent drivers to pay for their victims’ damages in the event of a collision. To recover this compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit, you will need to prove that the other driver’s actions caused your accident. Specifically, you will need to prove three key elements.
If the court or insurance company discovers that you also breached your duty of care by violating a parking law, several issues can arise. The insurance company may use this information to justify denying your claim. In a lawsuit, California’s comparative negligence laws may apply, and the court will reduce your award by the amount of liability you share. For example, if the court assigns you 20 percent of the fault for parking illegally, you will only receive $8,000 out of an original $10,000 award.
In these situations, you need a San Francisco motorcycle accident attorney on your side. Your lawyer can defend you against these accusations of fault and advocate aggressively for your maximum compensation. As soon as possible after your accident, contact an attorney to discuss your legal options.