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Ask the MSF: Parking Tips

September 13, 2013

Q: Is there any advice on parking my bike, as well as on hills, or with respect to setting myself up for an easier “ride away” when it comes time to leave?

A: In general, avoid parking on a hill, especially if you have to move your motorcycle backward up an incline to get into or out of a space.

In regular lots, find a space visible to the attendants or the public, for security. Scan the surface for debris and oil spots so you won’t slip. Unless you have a wide, fully dressed bike, park toward one side of the space to leave room for another bike, unless it’s metered parking that prohibits multiple motorcycles.

For on-street parking, generally you want to park at an angle with your rear wheel toward the curb. Be sure the bike leans over firmly against the side stand so that it isn’t likely to topple over the other way should someone bump it. This can be difficult if the road slopes down toward the curb. In hot weather, place something solid and thin under the side stand (you can buy a “side stand puck” at your dealership) to prevent the stand from sinking into the asphalt. 

When parking on a hill, point the front end uphill, even if you have to roll backward into the parking spot. If you have to park with the front end pointed downhill, leave the transmission in first gear to prevent the bike from rolling off the side stand. Whenever possible, situate your bike so gravity will help you if you need to back up.

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The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (www.msf-usa.org) is internationally recognized for its comprehensive, research-based rider education and training programs. It offers a wide range of programs, from hands-on training to online opportunities. The group's Basic eCourse (http://online2.msf-usa.org/msf/ecourse.aspx) is an interactive computer-based program that provides riders of all knowledge and skill levels with the basics of motorcyclist safety, while recognizing the best first ride is in the hands-on MSF Basic RiderCourse.
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