Parking a motorcycle is often a neglected part of riders’ training, despite being a very important part of owning and using a bike. After all, your bike will spend most of its time parked and doing it properly can save you a lot of grief.
How to park a motorcycle is a crucial skill every biker should master. At first glance, it does sound trivial, just pull up the stand and you are done. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. There are several things to consider in order to park a bike safely and without a risk of it being damaged. Falling over, getting knocked over or even being stolen are just some of the risks careless rider can encounter upon returning from a coffee break.
One of the most common mistakes is parking your bike in a spot that is difficult or even impossible to get out. Reading about it sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised to see how many riders, even experienced ones, make that error. Riders may be desperate for a parking spot or simply too tired to think ahead.
The terrain can also play a part, the spot can be on the incline or the ground may be too soft, creating a trap that is very hard to get out of. Since a bike can’t be put into reverse like a car, a backward motion is powered solely by rider’s leg muscles. That is why it is s important to choose a bike height that is perfect for you. Unless you can plant the soles of your boots firmly on the ground while sitting on the bike, these maneuvers can be very difficult, even dangerous. Tiptoeing on your bike while trying to push it is not a safe situation for many reasons.
There are several tips and tricks that can help you avoid these situations.
First is never to park your bike on a spot that has large oil deposits. Also, pay attention to rain gutters. They are usually located at the bottom of an incline, to allow for the draining of the water. If you make a mistake of parking on one, getting up that incline can be tricky, especially if the road is wet.
Not only you will look silly and feel embarrassed, but foot slip can lead to falling over your bike, risking serious injuries and damage to the bike. The best solution is swallowing your pride and asking for help. Two people will have a much easier time getting the bike back on the road. We have all witnessed these kinds of situations on motorcycle events, where parking is often on a nearby field. A quick summer shower can turn the seemingly firm ground into a muddy hell in no time.
Rocking your bike back and forth can get you out of a sticky situation, just make sure that you keep it in a straight line while doing it and exercise precise throttle control.
Kickstand pucks are very handy for parking on soft ground. Even if you think that the bike is standing firmly, in time kickstand can sink into the ground, tipping the bike over. Using a puck can prevent this.
Not everyone shares our enthusiasm for motorcycles and that should be taken into an account when choosing a parking lot. Make sure to study the local rules on where you can and cannot park your bike. Some private parking ban motorcycles all together from their property. Municipal laws also may contain some provisions on bike parking.
Leave your bike at the rear of the spot, allowing car drivers to see it before turning into the spot. Some may not brake in time. If parking allows two bikes on one spot (some don’t, in order to charge two tickets instead of one), leave enough room on both sides, so that neighboring cars’ doors can be open freely, without a risk of hitting your bikes and tipping them over.
If there are dedicated bike spots, be courteous and don’t take up more space than you need. Park as close to other bikes as possible, but leave enough room for owners to get on their bikes. Don’t be that guy who parks diagonally and takes up two spots.
If parking on a street, leave the bike at an angle which will allow you the easiest way to pull out in traffic. Finally, always leave your bike in gear, to prevent it from moving if someone bumps it.