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Vespa scooter parking

How to Park a Motorcycle

When possible be sure to park beside fellow bikes as they are more likely to be considerate as by nature we lookout for one another.

Now for the details: I always recommend backing in or pulling through a spot when possible. Taking the extra time when parking makes for a safer departure, as your focus will be on the environment around you rather than the awkward maneuver of reversing your bike like a drunken penguin.  Also, if the opposite sex happens to be around it’s that much more cool too.  As a rule of thumb if your seat is hot to the touch the pavement/asphalt is likely to be softer. Soft ground is of course a parking hazard as a bike can easily sink and fall under it’s own weight, plus it is inconsiderate to the township or property owner of whoever’s driveway you’ve gone and marked up.

Parking pucks are a simple and cost-effective solution as they are cheap and often given away for free from shops and events. If you’ve never seen a puck it’s a think hard-plastic (usually round) simple object designed for the single purpose of placing under your kickstand. It also conveniently is lightweight and easy to stuff into any jacket pocket, storage cubby or backpack. If you’re like me and want to be more inventive you can create your own out of almost anything. I prefer the metal top of a frozen concentrate juice tube because it is light and strong enough to last a riding season before it becomes to bent out of shape. Now if you have a center stand that is even better (but do check to see if the contact pads of your center stand sinks info hot pavement to be sure).

Vespa scooter parking

Image courtesy of Toronto photographer and motorcyclist Mondo Lulu.

When resting your bike on its side stand be sure to firmly place both feet on the ground and guide it down as you monitor how securely the bike is planted. Sand, gravel and debris all can cause your bike to slide a little further and uneven pavement can cause it lean more or less than normal. On the topic of uneven pavement be sure to lean your bike towards the decline if the gradient is minimal as this will simply transfer more weight to the side stand rather than up righting the bike as the situation would be if parked the other way.  If  parking up or down hill ensure the bike is resting securely as normal, but kick it into gear so that the rear wheel cannot roll.

When parking against a curb I’d recommend angling your bike towards the flow of traffic to reduce how far it sticks out towards road-going vehicles. Also it’s a more flattering stance and gives cagers a chance to gawk at your mount as they pass by in their stuffy automobile. If other bikes are already along the curb then match their angle and please be sure to leave enough rough for someone to walk all the way around their bike with ease. You never know if they plan on checking their fuel tank, side bags, tire pressure or anything of the sort, and it’s better to leave to much room than to have your bike dinged – or even dropped.

Wheel positioning?
Off the record: take photos of the license plate and VIN (found at the bottom of the windshield) of any vehicles that encroach your parking space. I’ve done this a few times and it gives me piece of mind incase I return to find my bike dinged. In one situation at a gas station I parked my bike as normal and some ignorant minivan-driving man and his family parked with the front right corner of their vehicle in my spot. I was frustrated because there were so many open spaces all around and I purposely parked away from other cars. While snapping a photo of the VIN a man came running up to me asking what I was doing. I explain my purpose, which seemed to make him angrier with an added dose of embarrassment.

Nothing else happened and he drove off, but I hope that moving forward he think twice before doing it again. Just remember, we are ambassadors of our two-wheeled passion so it is as much our duty to inform others how to treat us as it is our duty to treat others with equal respect.

About Happy Gilmore

Happy Gilmore is a resident guest blogger at YouMotorcycle. He brings years of motorcycle industry experience and a dry sense of humour. Yes, humour, with a "u". Though sometimes known for his eccentricities, he's actually technically sound and knows his away around a motorcycle, inside and out.


  1. Interesting that all of the photographs in this article were lightweight scooters. My experience is that it takes a great deal more care and effort to reverse park my 800lb BMW with its bulbous side boxes. Would have liked to see a more realistic article.

  2. I’ll add that if you have low exhaust pipes like most Harley touring models, don’t back the bike in so far that the pipes are left leaning on the curb, leading to scarred chrome or a broken exhaust support bracket. Stop short and leave the bike in gear when you shut it down, so it can’t slide back into the curb.

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