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.
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.