Is It Illegal To Park Your Bike On The Footpath?

Is It Illegal To Park Your Bike On The Footpath?

“Can I park my motorbike on a pedestrian footpath? I see other bikes parked outside my street all the time,” enquires Lifehacker reader Anonibiker. The answer depends on a number of factors, including where you live, the diligence of parking inspectors in your area and whether you’re brave enough to take a gamble…

Bike picture from Shutterstock

In most towns and cities, it is illegal to park your motorcycle on any footpath, nature strip or center strip. Parking rules are regulated and enforced by city councils through state legislation and local laws. You can also be issued a fine by the police for certain parking offenses. Fines can be in excess of $100 and may also result in license demerit points (for parking on a footpath within a school zone, for example).

One notable exception is the city of Melbourne, Victoria. Unless otherwise signed, you can legally park your motorcycle/scooter on the footpath anywhere in the CBD, as long as you do not obstruct pedestrians, doorways, delivery vehicles, public transport users or access to parked cars.

You must ensure your vehicle is at least one motorcycle length out from the building line and one wheel length out from the road, to allow free passage of pedestrians on either side. (This means you cannot park in places where the footpath is too narrow.) You must also avoid footpaths that are near disabled parking bays, post offices, rubbish bins and reserved areas, such as street cafes.

You can find out the rules in your particular suburb by contacting the local council (a quick Google search should bring up their email and/or inquiry line). However, in 90 per cent of cases outside Victoria, parking on the footpath will not be permitted.

That said, if you fancy yourself a bit of a bikie outlaw, you might be able to get away with it on a lazy suburban street — it largely depends on how isolated your street is and how active the council is in enforcing the rules.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that pedestrians have been known to take the law into their own hands. A friend of Gizmodo editor Luke Hopewell had his motorbike pushed over for partially blocking the footpath.

“If someone kicks your bike over, you’re looking at a bent or smashed wing mirror, scratches all over the farings, possibly an issue with the exhaust if it’s exposed and fell on it, the stand might be bent and your fuel overflow might be dumping petrol onto the footpath,” Luke explains. Maybe it’s better to stick to the gutters.

See also: Bikes On Footpaths — When Is It Lawful?

Have you ever been fined for parking your motorcycle on footpath, nature strip or center strip? Do you think it should be legal to do so? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


    • As a Melbourne local, I feel really bad for my interstate cousins who can’t park on footpaths. Parking pretty much anywhere you want, is one of the best parts of commuting on a bike. And I don’t own a Lambourghini or Limo, so stepping off my motorbike right outside a nightclub is the next best thing…

    • +1
      It is legal to park your bike/scooter on the footpath as long as its not obstructing foot traffic or a safety concern (ie blocking access to fire hydrant or likely to injure someone)

  • Around the brisbane cbd there are a couple of marked bike parking spots under bridges and on the side of a couple of streets. The marked parking fills up quick. There are a couple of unmarked places where many bikes regularly park on the foot path behind buildings, I’ve never got a ticket at those spots, and the police have left information notices on the bikes about theft so I assume its ok to park there. However I have parked on a small footpath and been ticketed (it was a hot day and it was the only shade), I’ve also been pinged for parking on the grass with my kickstand on the top of a drain guard. Out of town you can park where you like but in the city your very much at the mercy of the nasty parking inspectors and their quota. It would be awesome if we could park all over the shop like melbourne.

      • Disclaimer: Take this story as you will.

        I parked my bike on a footpath near where I lived once. It was between a very small street substation(?) and a low wall. Either way, it was definitely not obstructing foot traffic. Another bike was also parked in the same space, but that was about it – it really wasn’t a very big space. I left it there for about a week before getting a chance to move it. Fast forward a month, and I get a fine in the mail for parking on a footpath. Basically, the parking inspector fined me, didn’t/couldn’t leave the notice on my vehicle, tracked down my vehicle (presumably this was why it took a month), and sent me the fine.
        The day after, I received in the mail another fine for parking there the next day from a month ago.

  • Vehicles parked on a path have got to be one of the most annoying things for a pedestrian. It’s very tempting to walk on top of such cars. Not really surprising that a bike would get tipped either.

    • They are not that annoying. And pushing over a bike, that’s just juvenile. If they parked improperly and you can’t get through, just hope they’ll get ticketed and walk around or push it out of they way, ignoring the alarm. Disabled people already have so many obstacles they have to go around on city footpaths, it’d probably barely register (assuming it wasn’t blocking off all bypasses). Pedestrians have a lot more annoying things – motorists that target you, road works that either don’t signpost or don’t have ways around them, cyclists that forget that their are other footpath users – cars parked too far forward are pretty rare in comparison.

      /Rant over

      • They are that annoying.

        Around where I live there are cars parked in their driveway, directly in front of a garage, in which the car sticks out 2 to 3 feet into the pathway. And they’ve been parked in such locations for years, and given that we must be one of the very unfortunate suburbs to suffer from lazy councillors, i’m sure they’ll remain parked in those locations for several more years to come.

        Every minute they’re parked there, they’re parked there illegally. Yet they get away with it. Why? Simple really, cos it’s not that annoying, and because she’ll be alright.

        Personally I would never, under any circumstances push over a bike, or damage a car parked in such a place, but I wouldn’t dob anyone in that did do that.

        People get frustrated by these petty infringements when they occur so often and when they’re addressed by the authorities on such limited occasions.

        We deserve better, but we’ll never get it.

        Oh, and your “Disabled people already have so many obstacles” argument is so laughably weak that it’s barely worth addressing.

  • While pushing over and damaging a motor bike is wrong, their placement on footpaths around Victoria can be very irritating to pedestrians, especially in central Melbourne where every inch of footpath space is needed at peak times. In fact I would question why this type of motor vehicle, which is more space-efficient than cars, but much less space-efficient than pedestrians, is permitted on most footpaths, and whether it’s sustainable in the long term in a central business district that is growing busier by the day.

    Doubly-irritating, and depressingly common in the suburbs is car owners who park partly in their own driveway, blocking (sometimes fully) the footpath. This shows no consideration whatsoever for those who might be in a wheelchair or pushing a pram. There have been cases of these people being fined by councils, but it’s all too uncommon unfortunately. The footpath is not your property. It might lead to your driveway, but it’s not part of your driveway. Find somewhere else to park.

    • “blocking (sometimes fully) the footpath” is not just limited to annoying or endangering those in wheelchairs or prams.

      Whilst we’re at it, why do so many people get away with parking completely on the pavement, and (to a lesser degree) get away with parking in apartment block driveways or on apartment block front gardens.

      There’s just a selfishness prevalent in Australian society and the lack of action to discourage such behavior, and the lack of sentiment calling for such action just allows these rogue elements to persist and further diminish everyone’s quality of life.

      I wish there was a movement encouraging groups of people to protest about these petty infringements so that everyone understands that we need to do the right thing.

      It won’t happen though. Things will carry on going down the shitter. Cos, you know, she’ll be alright.

      • Where I’ve spotted repeat offenders, I’ve taken to leaving a polite but clear note on the windscreen, along the lines of “Please don’t block the footpath”. It’s worked (but it probably helps that it’s been newcomers to my street, so they haven’t had time to get stuck in their ways).

        If it hadn’t worked, I’d be approaching the council. I’m sure they could do with the revenue (and in some areas, they do have the backbone to issue fines – see – note how clueless the people in the article, and some of those in the comments are.

        • I can no longer contact the council. They drive me insane. It’s no good for me, or for them. I am at the mercy of the common sense of other local residents, or in other words, i”m effed.

  • Lovely scoot there… 🙂

    Here in Adelaide you’ll get fined pretty quick in teh city, though that said I have escaped a fine on a few occasions and seen others do same, but our sticker lickers are sharp so dont count on it.

    Adelaide has really improved it’s motorbike parking however, and there’s motorbike parking all over the city center.

  • It’s even worse over here in Perth. A motorcycle must be parked in a designated motorcycle bay or it will get ticketed. Of course there are not enough motorcycle bays and parking a motorcycle in a marked car bay will also get you ticketed.

    I’ve even been ticketed when a group of us have been into town and parked 4 motorbikes in a car bay. All four motorbikes got ticketed however the car parked on top of the three motorcycle bays next to us didn’t.

    • Don’t know what council fined you but if there is no motorbike bays available you are legally allowed to park In a parking bay. Why you adhered the fine is because you had 4 bikes in the bay. If you had parked each bike in individual bays you wouldn’t have been fined.

  • In the 1980s there were plans to stop us parking on footpaths. Damien of the MRA organised a rather wonderful event. Every bike we could organise went and took up one car parking spot. It was an easy win once it was put in a way that car drivers understood.

  • There’s an APP for that… a free one!
    seriously – just search motorcycle parking on iPhone or Android and you’ll find it.

    The whole debacle with parking comes from the 3 levels of government. The federal road rules say you can’t park on footpaths – but that was over-ridden at State level by Victoria only. I’m often asked why other states don’t have footpath parking and the most basic reason is that Melbourne has 5m wide footpaths and Sydney has 3m.
    Also the Disability Council is a very strong lobby group for unimpeded pedestrian access.

    Then just to complicate matters, Local Councils can make up their own rules.
    There are 44 different councils in the Sydney metro area all with differing regulations.
    City of Sydney allows bikes to park in car bays without feeding the meter as long as the time limit is adhered to.
    North Sydney Council does not.
    Botanic Gardens Trust – which governs 2 roads within the Sydney LGA – does not allow bikes to park in car bays without payment.
    WA does not allow bikes to park in car bays at all.

    Council rangers are usually fairly lenient about the “one vehicle per bay” rule but every now and then you’ll get some pedant who’ll book all bikes regardless of who was there first.

    Councils are usually pretty responsive to applications of motorcycle parking if the riders do the work – eg, photograph and map the proposed spot and submit it to the council engineers. They are much more likely to give over a spot to bikes if it is a “dead” space, rather than take away a spot from a car.

    And don’t get me started on motorcycle parking at commuter train stations…

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