London Motorbike Parking - Demystifying the rules in London and the UK
There is a jumble of free two wheeler parking spaces all over London but finding them isn't always easy. On top of this, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in more people wanting to commute by motorcycle, which will put more pressure on a limited number of spaces. So if you have decided to get back into commuting and chosen a motorcycle as your trusty steed, you will want to get clued up on where you can and can not park. This will not only reduce your own stress level, but also on your wallet from those unwanted parking fines!
So if you want to know where you can park for free and understand how parking permissions for motorcycles work across London, read on. This can be a confusing topic so our aim here is give you a simple overview and point you to some useful resources you can use to find parking while out on the road.
Generally, all motorcycle bays that are marked "Solo Motorcycle Only" are free to park in, all over London and indeed most of the UK. There is no time limit on these bays for motorcycles.
The exception to this is the Borough of Westminster where you must use the Ringo Pay By Phone app to pay for your parking, even in motorcycle only bays. Parking costs £1 per day, £3.50 per week or £100 per year, but is free in the evenings and on Sunday.
You can find a map of motorcycle bays at MotorbikeParking.London. The website is fully functional on mobile (Android and iPhone) so works just like an app once you have bookmarked it on your phone. It can use your GPS to find where you are and you will see the bays nearest to you. Or you can just type in the place name to search for motorcycle parking spots near where you're going. Bikers can also update the information for each spot on the map. This means the information is constantly being corrected and updated and you may find additional information for each bay such as what security is available (e.g. railings) and how big the bay is.
While some car parks charge fees for motorcycle parking, there are many across London that are free for bikers.
One of the best known of all of these is Q-Park, a chain of car parks across the UK. Not all Q-Parks are free to park in but there are 10 in Central London that are completely free. These cover a lot of the main areas of central zone 1 London including Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Knightsbridge, the West End, Westminster and St John's Wood. You can find a list of these car parks on the Q-Park website. You can also find all Q-Park locations that are free for motorcycles on the Motorbike Parking London website. They are marked by a ^P symbol on the map as pictured below.
Parking on the Street
Parking on the street is a trickier one. First of all, parking on the pavement is not allowed in all of Central London and you can be sure of getting a fine. Many bikers learn this lesson the hard way.
On the road, most single yellow lines mean that you can park there outside of the restricted zone timings. The timings are shown on a sign nearby. Usually single yellow lines mean that parking is free on all evenings and Sundays. This applies to both cars and motorbikes. In some cases, there is no charge to park on Saturdays either - you will need to confirm by checking the local signage.
Borough specific rules
In most of London, motorcycles are not permitted to park in pay & display bays or resident bays for free. In these cases, they have to have a permit or pay the same rate as a car.
However, there are some exceptions. As you may know, London is broken down into several boroughs each governed by a local authority council. Some councils such as Croydon, Hammersmith & Fulham, Greenwich and Wandsworth allow motorcycles to park in pay and display bays, and in some cases resident bays too. The best website for rules for each borough is Parking for Bikes - it explains what kind of bays motorcycles can park in in every borough in London.
The Hackney exception
The Borough of Hackney too allows motorcycles to park in resident bays, but not pay and display only bays. However, they have recently further complicated matters by removing all free motorcycle parking in a small section of the borough. You can see this on the following map.
The small green and blue areas at the southern-most point of the map are Zone B. In this Zone there is no free motorcycle parking, other than in marked motorcycle bays. Parking on the road here is only possible outside of Zone B's operational hours which are between midnight and 8.30am and on Sundays. At these times, on street parking is free for both cars and bikes.
There have been many changes in motorcycle parking in London and the UK recently. Many councils are considering restricting motorcycle parking and introducing further charges so you should keep up to date with these changes to avoid any nasty surprises in the form of parking tickets.
Motorbike Parking London is a new initiative by a group of bikers & web developers who want to make it free, quick, and easy for all motorcyclists in the capital and the rest of the country to find parking. The project started in 2020. The Motorbike Parking London map is constantly being developed to help bikers find where they can park. The website will soon use colour coding for borough parking rules and add new car parks and parking bays. The service is completely free for bikers to use.
You can bookmark their mobile responsive parking map for easy use while out on the road, or learn more about the project and get in touch. They are looking for motorcycling businesses who want to sponsor the project and feedback from the biker community to improve the map.