Equity in provision for parking of motorcycles is generally lacking.
Motorcycles can make a positive contribution to transport, yet do not rate a mention in State or Federal transport plans. Both small and large motorcycles have less impact on the environment than cars, especially those cars with only one occupant.
Optimising motorcycle use requires relatively inexpensive changes to the infrastructure compared with accommodating additional public transport and making provision for more car traffic.
Motorcycles use land more efficiently than any other motorised transport, occupying less road space and parking space in particular where 5 to 7 motorcycles can use a single car space.
Each local council area is responsible for the administration of parking and hence, different issues arise in different areas. Fawlty Legislation is the problem, motorcycles appear to be invisible to public policy and are systemically discriminated against.
We will describe the problems in the City of Sydney to illustrate the issues.
Recent change saw the Parking Inspectors transferred from the Police, to the Council. This brought a change in the way nooks and crannies were defined and administered and now motorcycles, which have occupied these spaces for many years are charged for parking illegally in these same spaces.
No alternative has been provided that adequately accommodates these now homeless motorcycles, leading to intense competitive pressure on the few remaining spaces and resulting in motorcycles parking in areas which are marginally legal as well as being subject to inconsistent administration.
With a 60% increase in motorcycle registration in the past five years, this pressure on parking spaces is becoming extreme.
The City Council does provide a limited number of motorcycle parking spaces, but most of these are away from the city center, at the Surry Hills and Ultimo Technical colleges, or in remote areas such as down by the wharves. The remote areas offer low security for persons returning to their motorcycles after dark and women in particular are extremely reluctant to utilize these spaces. Also, theft and damage is increasing from these remote, unobserved locations.
Most local councils have no provision for motorcycle parking and many parking stations have boom gates which will not be triggered by a motorcycle, denying them use.
Parking stations generally will charge a motorcycle the same rate as a car.
Ticket parking is an on-going nightmare for motorcyclists as they simply cannot comply with the Regulation, which requires them to display the paid ticket. A motorcycle cannot securely display a Ticket Parking ticket, hence are issued a parking infringement whether a ticket has been purchased or not. Tickets blow away, are destroyed by rain, or are stolen by car drivers for their own use. The issued parking infringement is often simply jammed into a gap on the motorcycle, resulting in scratching of the paintwork, or other damage, adding to the ire.
The Infringement Notice was correctly issued by the parking inspector in accordance with the Regulation Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) (Road Rules) Regulation 199 – Sect 66 (1)
A motorcycle cannot comply with 66 (1), (2) or (3) and can only comply with Sect 66 (4) and not overstay the maximum period indicated on the sign, which requires parking inspectors to mark the tyres and return at a later time.
If the motorcyclist has retained the parking ticket and this shows that at the time of issue of the Infringement Notice, they had a valid ticket, they are put to the inconvenience of having to write to the Infringement Processing Bureau and argue that they had actually paid.
The Infringement Processing Bureau will often cancel the Infringement Notice, but this appears to be done on the basis that the Council got their money, not on the basis that the ticket was incorrectly issued and raises a question as to the basis for the decision to cancel the Notice.
The parking inspector is simply following the Regulation. The Regulation fails to consider motorcycles.
Additionally, even if the motorcyclist has duly paid for his ticket to park, they are still paying the same rate as a car.
Motorcyclists are reluctant to use ticket parking areas because of the risk of damage from “bump parking” by careless drivers. A motorcycle can be tipped over from this practice, resulting in serious damage which can render the machine unuseable. Even a minor impact can break foot controls, which are not designed to absorb impacts of this type. Towbars can do serious and expensive damage to fairings and engine casings.
Timed parking bays are another area of grief. Several motorcycles can easily occupy the same “rented space”, yet the Regulations require that only one vehicle occupy that space. Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) (Road Rules) Regulation 199 – Sect 67 (a)
From the parking inspectors view, they may choose one motorcycle and issue Infringement Notices to the rest. This can be infuriating to those who have arrived later and “topped up” the meter in a co-operative sharing of the rented space. There is no way of determining who has or has not paid. This is wasteful of land space.
A motorcycle is classified as a vehicle for the purposes of charging for parking. So is a bicycle, yet we do not see bicycles being issued with a parking ticket for failing to meet these same Regulations. There appears to be an inconsistent application of the relevant laws, favouring bicycles and punishing motorcycles. A motorcycle carries a registration plate and it is therefore simple to pursue.