Will I get ticketed for parking my motorcycle on the sidewalk?
April 27, 2008 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Can I park my motorcycle on a sidewalk (not obstructing pedestrian passage) in Oakland, California?

I bought a small motorcycle and a very thick chain. But even Kryptonite's 6'6" chain is too short to allow me to lock my bike to poles/trees on my block, even when the bike or tire is snugly against the curb! In order to lock it to a pole as other motorcyclists do, it would need to be on the sidewalk. I realize another work-through is buying a second lock, but I've already spent 20% of the purchase price of the motorcycle itself on this lock, so I'd rather not shell out more $$$.

Other motorcyclists in my neighborhood park on the sidewalks- the only one I know who does this only speaks Mandarin, so asking her if she knows if it is illegal is out.

Anyone know? I know that it is illegal to completely block the sidewalk, but haven't been able to discern any more specifics.

Also related and possibly the dumbest question I've ever asked: I will get ticketed, yes? If my motorcycle is parked illegally somewhere? I had the mechanic who checked out my bike tell me that "motorcycles don't get parking tickets" which seems pretty insane.

posted by arnicae to Law & Government (22 answers total)
They can give you a ticket if they want to, but probably won't unless someone complains or the meter maid is in a bad mood. I had a little Honda 70 that I always parked on the sidewalk and never got a ticket. I lent it to a friend for a day, and she immediately got a ticket for parking on the sidewalk. I also have a big BMW that I parked on the sidewalk in front of my home in Rockridge, and was never bothered. I guess it depends on the neighborhood and how conspicuous the bike is.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 8:30 PM on April 27, 2008

You would get a ticket in San Francisco, not always but it will happen eventually.

I see regular parking tickets on motocycles all the time as well (as well as them getting towed away from red zones)

Also, sidewalks are for pedestrians, not for motor vehicles. Don't do it. It's rude even if it wasn't illegal. Why should people have to step in your oil or get squeezed into an even smaller pedestrian zone since people don't think ahead about how to store their possessions safely and legally?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 8:30 PM on April 27, 2008

C'mon, bottlebrushtree, I am trying to think ahead about how to store my possessions safely and legally- that the point of the question! If it is illegal, I obviously will not do it. And if it is legal, my bike will be far safer chained up on the sidewalk then unchained on the street.
posted by arnicae at 8:37 PM on April 27, 2008

I know in Texas it's legal (even advised) to park on the sidewalk. That said, I know someone whose bike was impounded for "illegally" parking on the sidewalk here--so expect people, even the people who issue parking tickets, not to know. If your bike gets impounded, you still have to waste a day going to get it and wrangling out of a wrongfully-given ticket.
posted by soviet sleepover at 8:45 PM on April 27, 2008

A day or more, this is true! Contesting a "failure to stop" ticket a few years ago when I was new to California and naive enough to think it would be easy took three trips to the court house to resolve.
posted by arnicae at 8:49 PM on April 27, 2008

Maybe I should try to flag down one of the meter maids and ask them.
posted by arnicae at 8:49 PM on April 27, 2008

Have you checked with the DMV? They ought to know.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:26 PM on April 27, 2008

This says it's illegal everywhere in CA, but isn't exactly a pointer to the relevant part of the CVC. I don't have personal experience with Oakland, but I've been ticketed in SF for sidewalk parking (because my neighbor moved my bike onto the sidewalk so he could have more space for his moving van. Grr! Good thing he was moving out.) It's an expensive ticket here in the city ($300, if I recall correctly).

Are you worried about your bike getting lifted into the back of a pickup? If not, you could just run the cable lock through the rear wheel and around the seat. That way nobody's going to just break the ignition lock and ride off. I have a disc lock that I very occasionally use, on that same theory.
posted by aneel at 10:07 PM on April 27, 2008

Here is a list of municipal parking violations and fines, from the City of Oakland's website. Although I haven't chased down every section of municipal code referenced, I don't see anything that says "no moto parking on sidewalk". I have no idea if there is a state law that's not listed, though.
posted by harkin banks at 10:17 PM on April 27, 2008

aneel, I can't even get the chain around the back wheel- the signs are set too far back from the road. It's about 6 inches from being able to lock. I suppose I could just lift the back wheel up onto the sidewalk . . .
posted by arnicae at 10:31 PM on April 27, 2008

I don't mean a chain around the back wheel and a sign post. I mean through the back wheel and around or through the frame of the bike. The objective is to stop the back wheel from rotating (much), like you would with a brake disc lock. It would be better lock to a stationary object, but locking the bike to itself so it can't be rolled (much less ridden) and must instead be lifted makes it much harder to steal.
posted by aneel at 11:14 PM on April 27, 2008

I think that bottlebrushtree's point is that you're thinking only of the effect on yourself, and not on the others who use the sidewalk -- like people in wheelchairs, pushing strollers, with limited mobility, with sight impairments, etc. I agree that you shouldn't use what is supposed to be a thoroughfare for people as a parking lot. When vehicles encroach on pedestrian areas, it makes it harder for pedestrians ... and it's already so difficult to walk anywhere. A little consideration goes a long way towards making our cities more livable.
posted by Capri at 12:32 AM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

A couple years ago, I actually had to help an old dude in a wheelchair. I had to help him down off the sidewalk, and then I had to help drag his heavy ass back up on the sidewalk.

Just because some shithead had decided to park his Ninja across 80% of the sidewalk.

Don't park your motorcycle, bicycle, or "small car" on the damn sidewalk, regardless of legality.
posted by Netzapper at 7:01 AM on April 28, 2008

(By the way, both the wheelchaired guy and I both spat on the handlebars. Keep that in mind.)
posted by Netzapper at 7:02 AM on April 28, 2008

Here in Louisville we're having a Pedestrian Summit in a couple weeks with the hopes of increasing walking and walkability in our city. Pre-summit there have been a couple community workshops where people gathered and discussed problems and barriers to walking. One of the main issues that kept being repeated was sidewalks being blocked. Cars, motorcycles, trash bins after trash day, etc. really do impede pedestrian traffic and exponentially more so as Capri mentioned for those with limited mobility or sight impairments.

So even if it may technically be legal in your area it really is rude to block the sidewalk by parking on it. So I'd respectfully suggest that you please not park your motorcycle on the sidewalk. Think about the people who actually use the sidewalk for walking.
posted by mjones at 7:06 AM on April 28, 2008

An alternative is to sink a large bolt into the concrete/asphalt near where you park and chain the bike to that. It's probably illegal, but who will really care? Just do it in an inconspicuous corner where car tires won't roll over it, and you'll be fine.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:19 AM on April 28, 2008

Don't. Please don't. I'm a wheelchair user, and stuff like this makes it hard for me to get through on the sidewalk - even if there's room for someone to walk, there may not be enough room for my chair.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:30 AM on April 28, 2008

On preview, what other people have said. I didn't read at first because I thought it was an important thing to say and didn't want to get sidetracked.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:32 AM on April 28, 2008

Sidewalk Obstruction - VC 22500 - Sections 22500(f)
CVC Prohibited Stopping, Standing, or Parking

f) On a sidewalk, except electric carts when authorized by local ordinance, as specified in Section 21114.5

posted by Nerro at 12:12 PM on April 28, 2008

I looked for this once before in the Oakland city codes, and couldn't find anything. But that's probably because state law prohibits it, so the City of Oakland doesn't have to specify anything. You'll get ticketed if they feel like it- Oakland vehicle ticketing is notoriously inconsistent, except for street cleaning violations. I parked my car on a (12' wide) sidewalk in West Oakland for months, and then one day they started ticketing. It also has nothing to do with whether or not people can get by, because two wheelchairs abreast could pass my car easily.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:05 PM on April 28, 2008

Guys, the reason I asked for Oakland residents is that they would know the city. I appreciate the advice from people in Louisiana and the like, but like oneirodynia I live in an area with absurdly wide sidewalks. My sidewalk is, I just measured it, 13'4" wide.

Also, I live on a pretty steep grade and there are several gaping holes in the sidewalk, such that the two wheelchair users I know in the neighborhood don't use it anyway- the holes are large enough to be difficult to navigate around and deep enough to get a chair stuck in. If you lived in Oakland or knew the area, you might be aware of the absurd condition of our roads and sidewalks.

I'm a decent person. I wouldn't park my bike on the sidewalk of it obstructed pedestrian traffic of any sort. But it is a thirteen foot wide sidewalk- also, I didn't ask for your opinion as to whether I should do it, I asked if it is legal. Then I clarified that I wouldn't do it if it were illegal or unsafe for myself or others (and to me, obstructing the thoroughfare is unsafe to others).
posted by arnicae at 5:59 PM on April 28, 2008

"but I've already spent 20% of the purchase price of the motorcycle itself on this lock, so I'd rather not shell out more $$$"

FYI 3/8ths Grade 70 transport chain is only a couple bucks a foot. You need either hydraulic bolt cutters or an abrasive saw to cut it. If you always park in the same spot you could just leave a loop of it around the post and then secure the Kryptonite lock cable to the chain when you park. Use a hammer on repair link to make the chain continuous without a padlock.
posted by Mitheral at 9:18 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

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